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Jaan Sokk

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To Think In Actual Space, With Actual Materials: An Interview with Siiri Vallner of Kavakava Architects

Estonian contemporary architecture is diverse in nature. Here, one can find the spark and freshness of Danish- and Dutch-influenced architecture as well as the tradition-carrying conservatism of Nordic Modernism. A third trend that can be highlighted in contemporary Estonian architecture is a context-sensitive approach to built environment, in which particular emphasis is placed upon the historical, social, as well as spatial contexts. Siiri Vallner’s works may be classified into the latter of these three groups. The buildings she has designed do not number many, but by way of their spatial ideas and solutions they have strongly influenced and enriched Estonia’s architectural culture.

Siiri Vallner is currently sharing her office Kavakava with Indrek Peil, another relatively young Estonian architect. Vallner has received several awards over the last few years. In 2013, together with Indrek Peil, Katrin Koov, and interior architect Hannes Praks, she was awarded the National Culture Award for their architectural solution for the University of Tartu’s Narva College in Narva, Estonia. She was likewise one of three female architects to be given special international recognition at the “arcVision Prize – Women in Architecture” competition in Italy (2013). I spoke with Vallner about both her work and her projects.

Kindergarten Lotte (2008). Image © Aivo KallasThe Pier (2011). Image © Margit ArgusTartu Health Care College (2011). Image © Jaan SokkVilla Lokaator (2007). Image © Paul Riddle+ 7

Tartu Nature House / KARISMA Architects

© Jaan Sokk© Jaan Sokk© Taevakaamera OÜ© Jaan Sokk+ 20

Tartu Health Care College / Kavakava Architects

© Jaan Sokk
© Jaan Sokk
Tartu, Estonia

© Martin Siplane© Martin Siplane© Martin Siplane© Martin Siplane+ 28

Tartu Rebase Street / Atelier Thomas Pucher + Bramberger [architects]

© Lukas Schaller © Lukas Schaller © Lukas Schaller © Lukas Schaller + 35