• Location: Kuninga 29, Pärnu, Estonia
  • Size: 1502m2
  • Status: completed 2005
  • Client: Pärnu Town Government
  • Photos: Martin Siplane, Kaire Nõmm

This gymnasium is located in the courtyard of an existing school, in a park near the town centre of Pärnu. The structure accommodates a hall large enough for two basketball courts, service spaces and changing rooms, providing gymnasium facilities for three local schools.

The building has a strong visual relationship with the adjacent nineteenth-century schoolhouse, looking onto it through an almost entirely glazed north-facing facade over the geometric landscaping of the space between them. Although the gym and schoolhouse are comparable in size, the gym has a polygonal plan with rounded corners, while the schoolhouse’s plan reflects classical rectilinearity.

A curving wall of hand-made red brick on the outside – referencing the brick of the school building – and unfurnished concrete blockwork on the inside wraps the sides of the gym. A total of 365 gaps in the blockwork create a diagonal grid of small, glazed opening, allowing some daylight into the interior from every side, and at night resulting in a textile-like pattern of illuminated windows visible from the outside.