Pärnu City Centre Sports Hall


Katrin Koov
Siiri Vallner
Heidi Urb
Kaire Nõmm
Kavakava Architects


Kuninga 29, Pärnu, Estonia




Completed in 2005


Pärnu Town Government


Martin Siplane, Kaire Nõmm


Hospitality, Public Projects


Pärnu, Sports

This gymnasium is located in the courtyard of an old middle school, in a park near the town centre of Pärnu. The structure accommodates a hall large enough for two basketball courts, service areas and changing rooms, providing gymnasium facilities for three local schools. In addition to basketball the hall is used for volleyball, gymnastics etc. After school hours the hall is in public use.

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. The new addition does not overpower the old nor does it feel inferior. 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. The plan is extremely compact and rational.

A curving wall of hand-made red brick on the outside – referencing the brick build of the schoolhouse – and unfurnished concrete blockwork on the inside wrap the sides of the gym. A total of 365 gaps in the blockwork create a diagonal grid of small, glazed openings that allow some daylight into the interior from all sides and at night contrastingly result in a textile-like pattern of illuminated windows visible from the outside. The spartan interior is made more lively by the numerous wooden details and large infographics.