Design TeamKoit Ojaliiv, Juhan Rohtla, Joel Kopli
Text description provided by the architects. The building is fitted into the urban tissue of a mostly residential historic area. The plot is big enough to leave a gap between the other buildings. With a 300 m2 footprint, the house is also a bit smaller than the adjacent buildings. This gave us the chance to preserve most of the trees and create a large back-yard with a playground, parking, and a communal terrace shared by the residents. In the front, the building creates a recess in the building line for the main entrance.
The first floor level is not much higher than the pavement, which provides a voyeuristic perspective into the apartments and, we believe, contributes to the street by fading the border between private and public space.
The building’s shape is inspired by the roofscapes of the neighbouring houses. The attics in the area all have a romantic sense to them, having historically been occupied by low-rent tenants and now being treated as more exclusive living spaces. We wanted to maximize the space on the top floor, and give it a strong spatial character with slanted ceilings and spaces up to 4 meters high. The owners of the third floor apartments were encouraged to build a mezzanine level, which some of them successfully did.
The building is viewable from all four sides and all facades are treated equally. We aimed to create a monolithic form wrapped in a skin of wooden strips. The wood strip skin is a historical element characteristic to 1930-s wooden Tallinn-type buildings dominating the area. The skin creates a decorative quality to the facade and also constitutes a barrier for balconies.
The detail level in the buildings architecture has been kept to a minimum to create a ’background for life’ and considering that a lot of artefacts will appear in the course of daily life.