The Rotermann quarter is a significant site for new Estonian architecture and urban design. The treasured 19th century industrial architecture is skillfully fused with new high-quality architecture. The compact pedestrian quarter hosts shops, restaurants, offices, accommodation facilities and apartments.
The reconstruction of the historic carpenter’s workshop is one of the boldest architectural undertakings in the modernizing Rotermann quarter. The building faces the central square of the quarter and is one of its most spectacular sights – the three techno-futurist towers make reference to 20th century industrial architecture and are also visible from outside the quarter.
The two lower floors of the old carpenter’s workshop, the limestone volume of the building, house commercial and service facilities. The three new vertical volumes accommodate compact office spaces. The ‘towers’ were designed in order to avoid harming the historic walls of the building. The reinforced concrete cores placed on localized piles ensure the autonomy of the three volumes. The console ceilings, angular facade elements and windows are all attached to the core and lit up during the night, conveying a sense of modern and self-consciously vigorous architecture.
The reconstruction of the Rotermann carpenter’s workshop that is under national heritage protection is a great example of architecture during the economic boom, when private clients had the desire and courage to commission more extravagant architecture. On the other hand, the reconstructed carpenter’s workshop also reflects the desire of the heritage protection institutions to reconsider their approach to historic and modern architecture.
2009 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award / Shortlisted