• Interior Design: Kaire Kemp-Tišler, Ea Andla
  • Location: Valguse 17, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Size: 410m2
  • Status: completed 2010
  • Client: private
  • Constructor: Nordecon Betoon OÜ
  • Photos: Tiit Veermäe, Kaido Haagen

The Black House, which is the White House’s twin, is located at the intersection of two streets, thereby creating the need for two street-side façades. The L-shaped floor plan that wraps around the terrace in the yard is a logical extension of the situation. While white concrete shines on the geometrically more severe street-side façade, freely folded surfaces with black façade tiles and black louvers characterise the main yard-side façade. The dialogue between white and black also continues inside the house, where the entire lower floor is covered with black oak parquet flooring. The materials (concrete imprinted with traces of the formwork, glass, wood, white cobblestone paving near the entrance) and the language of form is similar to the White House, but the building as a whole seems more compact and even more carefully considered.

In a structural sense, this is an extremely complicated house. The careful attention to detail is demonstrated, for instance, by the black metal fence that required great accuracy in execution from the builder. The dedication of all involved parties – the client, architect and builder – is evident all over the house.

The division of interior space is quite conventional, with each room fulfilling a definite function (living and dining room, studies, bedrooms and children’s rooms).

While life in the White House is conducted primarily on one level, there are actually three levels in the Black House – lofts housing children’s bedrooms are located on the top level. The parent’s bedroom, which is located in the street-side “corner tower”, is made private by a skilfully positioned strip window. The house is heated and cooled by a geothermal heat pump, which is located in the basement with the other utility systems.

Both the White and Black Houses are “intelligent” homes, and the architect hoped to prove with them that modern glass houses are also appropriate for Estonia’s climate.