Tatari Apartment Building
Positioning a new structure into a historical settlement is a creative challenge for an architect. Should a pastiche be preferred, or should contemporary architecture be created based on the environment? The Tatari district is a suburban idyll in the heart of the city. The tone is set by century-old wooden houses interspersed with modern apartment buildings.
This luxurious apartment building (the average apartment size is more than 90 m2) is in a dialogue with the one of the most iconic buildings of Estonian architectural history – Karl Burman’s Art Nouveau residence at Tatari 21b, which is located across the street. Respecting the architectural pearl, the new building steps back from the street, thus creating a front yard that provides entry into the underground parking garage and access to the Soviet-era garages located in the backyard.
The dwelling is divided into smaller volumes in order to better accommodate it to the surroundings – two apartment blocks that are displaced in relation to each other, connected by a fully glazed and unheated stairwell-gallery. According to the architect, his goal was not to make references to the past, but to try and interpret the old milieu in a contemporary way – to approach the location contextually. Giving testimony to this is the choice of natural materials for the façade cladding, which alludes to the surrounding history with its “well-worn” appearance. The veneered façade tiles, which look like wooden shingles, are color-matched to the Cor-ten steel sheets on the end walls; the jalousies comprising of oiled wooden battens and concrete treated with iron sulphate that has been sandblasted to create a texture. Most of the apartments have balconies. The ground-floor apartments have access to the terrace garden built on top of the garage. Ultimate privacy is provided by the roof terraces of the apartments on the top floor.