Today, 16 sculptures across Estonia received a blue, black and white striped hat or scarf. The idea was produced by Marceau Couve and KAOS Architects.

The project, which originally placed second in the competition for an international installation to mark the 100th anniversary of the Estonian State, was now materialised in Estonia. On the occasion of the centenary of the Republic, the Estonian Tricolour (blue, black and white) has landed all over the country like pollen. Existing sculptures belonging to Estonia’s heritage, like ‘Hämarik’ in the heart of Tallinn or the Lion in the city of Narva, have been reactivated in this manner.

The statues to be pollinated with hats or scarves were selected somewhat randomly in a good sense, and the semantic field has been left open, as the idea of Estonia is extensive. The pollination has been dignified, though, with the touch of the authors of the project, the knitters and those who placed the hats and scarves.

The scarves and hats were made by knitters of Põlva Handicrafts Club, Hiiumaa Handicrafts Society, MTÜ Omaabi, and Uljas & Daughters.

KAOS Architects won the 1st prize in the architectural contest for a new aquatic centre building in downtown Viljandi, southern Estonia.

The aquatic centre will be accessible from Kaalu, Vaksali and Tallinna streets and form one complex together with the existing sports facility and tennis hall. The new building will be set back from the street to accommodate a green square with evening sunlight in front of the main entrance at Kaalu street. This area will be a source of space for the architecture as well as for people, the vegetation and benches.

The building will have a simple form and be low by its nature since the rooms will be on a single level mostly. As it is not reasonable to place swimming pools above one another, we have designed the building as a solid slab with the upper and lower surfaces each varying in height as if to create a landscape. The northern end of the aquatic centre will be elevated above the ground level while inside that part of the building, jacuzzis and deck chairs will be enjoying the evening sun.

The simple volume will be organised by axes of movement, including an interior street that will allow entry from different sides of the building. The interior street will be crossed by two other axes interconnecting the lobby, water facilities, saunas, locker rooms and swimming pool. The stairs of the interior street will feature built-in seats to provide a space for hanging around, e.g. for children or youth.

The winning entry, authored by Laura Ojala, Katrin Vilba and Margit Aule, was submitted in cooperation with Projekt O2.

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Viljandi veekeskuse sisevaade

An architectural design contest was held by the city of Tartu in southern Estonia for a better connection between Pirogov park and the observatory square (Tähetorni plats) on Toomemägi hill, all in the very centre of the city. Pirogov park and the nearby town hall square (Raekoja plats) are both popular as hangouts. For that reason, KAOS Architects’ design was based on an idea to create, instead of just narrow stairs, a wider connecting area with a staired square that could be used for sitting, staying and hanging out. In terms of city space, the notional axis from the town hall square to the old observatory is not a straight line but rather winding, and so was the set of stairs proposed by KAOS Architects.

The results of the design contest were announced on 11 November 2016. KAOS Architects were awarded the 3rd prize.

Pirogovi pargi trepid (KAOS Arhitektide kavand)

KAOS Architects have been invited to Open House London 2016, which will be held during this year’s London Design Festival. On 17 and 18 September, the Estonian Embassy in London will open its doors to everyone. Margit Argus from KAOS Architects will speak about the design and construction of the embassy building.

The Estonian Embassy in London is located in Kensington, in a neoclassical house which was built in 1857 and used originally for residential purposes. Many of the original elements are still preserved, including the cornices, decor, fireplaces and doors.

We enhanced the historical interior with views of Estonia’s primeval nature, to convey a message of quietude and tranquillity. The static images of our homeland’s foggy bogscapes make the mind wander far away to a dreamy northern serenity, telling a story about mysterious Estonia and its pristine nature.

Photo by Terje Ugandi.

Estonian Embassy in London

KAOS Architects have won the design competition for the reception area and extension of the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, at Rue Guimard 11/13. The new section will be situated in the inner courtyard and accommodate conference and reception areas.

The existing courtyard is blocked by walls. As a result of the new solution, anyone in the courtyard will be fully surrounded by the newly designed aesthetic environment: the view from the barbecue house will include the conference section and the view from the conference section will include the new handsome barbecue house.

The new architectural solution is combined into a whole by its graduality: there will be an emergency exit path from the roof of the extension into the courtyard, and the steps can also be used for sitting.

The architectural and interior architectural solutions were authored by Margit Argus, Margit Aule, Katrin Vilba and Siim Karro.

 

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On 14 October 2015, the new building of the Estonian Embassy in London was opened at 44 Queen’s Gate Terrace. The neoclassical house was built in 1857 and used originally for residential purposes. The new interior architectural design for the embassy building was created by KAOS Architects.

This time, we used a poetic approach, inspired by our land’s beautiful wilderness. Estonia is a country of wetlands, lakes and forests. Pristine nature is apparently the purest force that connects us and ties our origins together.

The Embassy is a small piece of Estonia in the centre of London, and the primeval landscapes of its interior are like a letter from home. The peat bogs on the walls, chairs and carpets, the thicket, and birches hidden in the chandeliers are Estonia’s language, which needs no translation.

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Today, the results of the architectural design competition for the Ministries Building at Suur-Ameerika 1, Tallinn, Estonia, were publicised. A consolation prize was awarded to the entry ‘Duaal’, submitted by KAOS Architects and ASUM Architects (Margit Argus, Margit Aule, Katrin Vilba).

KAOS Architects’ entry was characterised by the jury as ‘visually modern, emanating a certain freshness. A literal comparison with a heap of papers would not be an exaggeration.’

As the authors of ‘Duaal’ elaborate their vision, ‘In terms of urban planning, the new Ministerial Building would be located on an important axis and be well observable. The positions had been fixed already by earlier designs and detailed plans; the new face that we propose would be light and structured in a friendly manner. The multiple cornices would serve a practical purpose, providing for shades against the sunlight. By their appearance, the towers would convey a message of a green, sustainable and friendly city. The sparkle of the airy general impression would be further refined by the green glass and greenery on terraces. Elegance would be provided by the dark grey window frames and use of the partially dark grey exterior materials.’

‘Duaal’

The Estonian Association of Interior Architects has announced the nominees for its annual awards of 2014–2015. Three works by KAOS Architects have been considered worthy of nomination by the jury.

The remodelled Energy Discovery Centre has been nominated in the category of historical interiors.

Energy Discovery Centre

The remodelling design for the Energy Discovery Centre was authored by Margit Aule, Margit Argus, Pelle-Sten Viiburg and Sander Aas. The graphic design was produced by Polaar Studio, including Kadri-Maria Mitt, Robi Jõeleht and Kaarel Nõmmik.

The Estonian Maritime Museum’s seasonal exhibition ‘Sea in the Wardrobe’ (in the Seaplane Harbour from September 2014 to January 2015) is a candidate in the exhibitions category.

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The spatial design for ‘Sea in the Wardrobe’ was authored by Margit Aule, Margit Argus and Kaur Käärma. The graphic design was produced by Velvet Creative Alliance, including Kristian Kirsfeldt and Magnus Haravee.

The nature centre of Lahemaa National Park has been nominated in the category of exhibitions, too.

Nature Centre of Lahemaa National Park

The nature centre was designed by Margit Aule and Margit Argus. The graphic design was produced by Polaar Studio, including Kadri-Maria Mitt and Robi Jõeleht.

The award winners will be announced on 4 December 2015 in the Arhitektuurikatel architecture and design hub at the joint gala event for architectural prizes issued by the Estonian Association of Interior Architects, the Union of Estonian Architects, the Estonian Landscape Architects’ Union and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

KAOS Architects (Margit Aule, Katrin Vilba and Margit Argus) won the invited architectural competition for designing the apartment house at Raua 28, Tallinn, Estonia. We offered a solid, tranquil solution for the dignified neighbourhood in the city centre. The jalousies of the balconies facing Raua Street will add privacy to the residential apartments while the tonality of the materials meshes with the surrounding buildings. We are planning to complete the design of the house, which will have 1500 square metres of net floor area, in 2015–2016.

Apartment house at Raua 28

The design contest for remodelling the ancient bishop’s castle in the town of Haapsalu (in western Estonia) was won by KAOS Architects with their entry entitled ‘Secret Garden’, created by Margit Argus, Margit Aule, Mart Kadarik and Siim Karro.

The jury’s decision was unanimous. ‘The winning design caught the eye with a bold and inventive solution, taking the visitors to dizzy heights in the north-west corner of the main castle and allowing them to enter areas that were formerly restricted. The solution seems difficult to implement at first glance but may turn out an exciting journey, opening unseen views of the castle yard as well as the town and the sea from the observation balconies, which will be placed in existing window apertures,’ noted the jury.

According to one of the authors, Margit Aule, the distinctive architectural substance of the main castle is best experienced by moving around in this space both horizontally and vertically. ‘A modern museum has to offer not just images and texts but an impression for all the senses.’

Margit Argus elaborates, ‘The new entrance pavilion, modestly nested within the volume of the castle, almost appears to be peeking out curiously from behind the wall. A spatial solution of such kind will add the missing link, functionally integrating the space: it will connect the levels, ensuring access to the basement, level one and the roof. It will be the beginning and the end of the journey.’

The design contest was aimed at concluding a remodelling design contract for Haapsalu Episcopal Castle with the winner of the contest on the basis of the winning design.

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After decades of idleness, the former sorting and loading station of Kohtla mining complex, now a museum, has undergone thorough renovation. In addition to the fascinating exhibition, the building has a new function: it is now the start and end point of all visits to Kohtla mining park.

The interior architecture and exhibition were designed by KAOS Architects (Margit Argus and Margit Aule).

‘Working out the concept was easy for us. The old factory department enthused us as soon as we saw it and as avid admirers of industrial heritage, we were left with a spatial impression that became our primary source of inspiration,’ said Margit Aule.

‘Our design provides for the preservation of the existing plant and room structure to a maximum extent. A spectacular effect is created already by the view from the entrance, extending through the open space to the old rusty gapes, which were used to route oil shale from the bin to the railway wagon. We also integrated the exhibits into the existing machinery in order to give dominance to the room rather than to the added elements,’ commented Margit Argus.

The exhibition extends through five levels, and besides the history of the mining park, the visitor will learn about oil shale and power engineering in general.

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Our work ‘Jõemaastik’ (‘Riverscape’) earned a consolation prize in the architectural design competition for the central square of the town of Tõrva, southern Estonia. According to the jury, the entry caught attention by introducing a river valley through Noorus park up to the lake of Veskijärv. ‘Jõemaastik’ was authored by Toomas Adrikorn, Margit Aule and Liisa Valdmann.

The competition was aimed at converting Tõrva’s central square, Noorus park and its immediate surroundings into a multifunctional, attractive public space, uniting different neighbourhoods of Tõrva.

We based our vision on the point that Tõrva’s landscape has been moulded by flowing water. A beautiful riverscape traverses Tõrva as a dominant spatial element, giving the town its characteristic appearance together with the lakes. In a wider sense, even the public space and green areas flow through the town like a river. We emphasised this association in our entry.

We modelled a new space by means of a landscape that looks as if it has been created by flowing water, opening access to water from the central square. The water that has shaped the landscape and valley need not be visible, as it has already done its work. Now there is just the landscape and a memory of water. We added some air in our entry by redefining the central square, planning a spatial incision in the Noorus park area and thereby connecting the square and the lake, both visually and physically.

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The remodelled Energy Discovery Centre, designed by KAOS Architects and realised by AS Restor, has been honoured by the Estonian Museums Board with the 2014 special award for restoring a museum as a cultural monument, announced the Ministry of Culture on 30 January 2015.

The award, given for the first time, was decided in cooperation with the Heritage Conservation Committee of the Museums Board. The jury pointed out that the team restoring the Energy Discovery Centre, which is accommodated in a former power station, ‘aimed at and succeeded in preserving the historical turbines, the raised platform and other installations that mark the one-time production environment and enrich the industrial interior’.

Main Hall of the Energy Discovery Centre

KAOS Architects authored the winning entry of the design contest for new interior architecture of TTK University of Applied Sciences (Tallinna Tehnikakõrgkool). The design has been created by Margit Argus and Margit Aule, assisted by Kaur Käärma, and the graphic design was produced by Janar Siniloo.

The design contest was aimed at finding a modern and open solution for the interior of the university building, originally constructed in 1953 as an example of Socialist Classicism, or Stalinism, in architecture.

The winning design was characterised by the jury as novel, functional and lightful, organically uniting the indoor and outdoor spaces of the main building and meeting the university’s image goals of openness and youthfulness. The introduction of integrated areas in common use was rated highly by the jury: a new ‘traffic junction’ has been envisaged for the heart of the school by a bold rearrangement of common rooms.

Today, the building leaves a stern and gloomy impression. The conceptual design proposed by KAOS Architects maintains the grandiosity of the space but intervenes in order to open it, improve it in terms of functionality and bring in freshness with the colourful additions to the interior.

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On 12 June 2014, the Energy Discovery Centre in Tallinn will be opened in its remodelled form, which has been designed by KAOS Architects (as the main contractor) after we won the open design contest, held in 2010.

‘We were inspired by historical photos from the 1920s displaying the turbine hall in its full black-and-white beauty,’ explains Margit Argus, one of the authors. ‘So we aimed at restoring the old glory and, since it is an industrial building, the interactive scientific exhibits fit into this environment in an excellent manner,’ added Margit Aule. The black-and-white turbine hall features various exhibits concentrated onto a platform in the middle of the room; together with the old turbines, they seemingly form one big black machine. That machine, in turn, keeps a respectful distance from the splendid white walls.

The Energy Discovery Centre will have seven permanent exhibitions on energy, classical physics, acoustics, optics and other topics, totalling in over 100 interactive exhibits. The flagship feature is unique in Europe: a Tesla coil in a Faraday cage, allowing to create lightnings of up to 3 metres in length.

The architecture and interior design have been created by Margit Argus, Margit Aule, Sander Aas and Pelle-Sten Viiburg.

The building has an area of 3800 square metres and the construction was carried out by AS Restor. The remodelling of the science centre, financed by Enterprise Estonia and Eesti Energia, cost €3.7 million.

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