05. May 2023
Hannes Praks appointed as new Chairman of the Estonian Centre for Architecture
From last week, Hannes Praks, an interior architect, materials designer, former head and professor of the Department of Interior Architecture at the Estonian Academy of Arts, is the new chairman of the Estonian Centre for Architecture.
In his new position, Praks’ vision is to transform the Centre into a competence hub for sustainable space. The aim is to seek the future identity of Estonian architecture through building materials and technologies with a lower environmental impact.
“I have a background in interior architecture and I’m used to thinking from the inside out. This is why I believe that one way to make architecture and the construction industry more sustainable is to start with materials,” said Praks. “It’s important to ask where materials are produced and how they are produced. It’s equally important how we assemble them on the construction site and disassemble them later if necessary.”
Praks looks forward to seeing how the formal language of architecture will gradually change with the advent of new materials and concepts.
“Western and Northern Europe are taking the lead in the world in developing circular materials and low carbon building solutions. Estonia, thanks to its compactness and good technological base, has the opportunity to contribute as well. To do this, we need to bring science, government and the private sector together. If we are successful here, we can also offer our expertise across borders. If we are too slow or too lazy, all we can do is copy the best, with a smaller margin, of course,” said Praks.
The chairman’s position was handed over by the former long-term head of the Estonian Centre for Architecture, architect Raul Järg.
Hannes Praks graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2000 with a degree in interior architecture. Prior to that, he studied information technology and economics.
As a practicing interior architect, Praks has focused primarily on public spaces. He has been repeatedly awarded the annual prizes of the Estonian Association of Interior Architects and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia for his professional work. From 2014 to 2019, Praks worked as the head of the Department of Interior Architecture and professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts, significantly updating the curriculum, paying attention to sustainable design, and developing the skills of conceptual thinking. The innovations introduced by Praks are still used in the curriculum for young interior designers.
In addition to the EAA, Praks has also worked as a lecturer in Palestine, running a studio that focused on the role of architect engaging with vulnerable communities in a refugee camp. Praks has also led a popular summer school on timber construction in Soomaa, attended by students and lecturers from top architecture schools around the world.
In his latest venture, Praks, together with former EAA colleagues and students, founded kuidas.works, a materials design and research studio focusing on the reprocessing of mineral waste. During its two years of activity, the studio has participated in several architecture exhibitions locally and across the border, and has been awarded several professional prizes.
Praks has also previously been involved in the activities of the Estonian Centre for Architecture, curating flash lectures, participating in architecture export programmes and exhibitions.