Open-Air Exhibition Grounds of the Estonian Road Museum

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Architects

Karli Luik
Maarja Kask
Pelle-Sten Viiburg
Ralf Lõoke
Salto Architects

Open competition 2004

2nd prize

Location

Varbuse, Põlva County, Estonia

Site area

13 000m2

Status

completed 2010 (1st phase)

Client

Estonian Road Museum

Photos

Karli Luik, Pelle-Sten Viiburg, Nathan Willock

Typology

Public Projects, Landscape and Urban Planning

Tags

Competition, Educational

Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia 2010.

Concrete Building of the Year in Estonia: Special Prize 2010.

Estonian Union of Landscape Architects: Deed of the Year 2010.

The open-air exhibition grounds of the Estonian Road Museum is a mixture of many layers. Not only does it operate on an informative level, it also incorporates opportunities for leisure activities and for experiencing artificial and natural landscape in a compelling dialogue. The concept of the exhibition grounds is based on a road – while passing by, your route will be surrounded by different landscapes.

The solution forms a long 8-shaped path, where functions with different character and scale are placed in succession like a comic strip. All space necessary for the museum is scooped into the hilly South-Estonian landscape, leaving rest of the environment as natural as possible: natural and artificial landscape is clearly separated, yet treated equally. A hollow ranging from 10 cm to 4 m deep forms more than 13 000 square meters of open-air exhibition space which is barely visible from the remote surrounding areas.

The structure is built of reinforced concrete, with wood-paneled ‘nests’ (ticket and souvenir booth, lavatory), authentic historical objects (roadside pub, gas station, bridge, segment of a railroad etc) and graphic concrete softening the architecture of the conveniently infrastructure-like edifice.