St John’s Almshouse Ruins Pavilion

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Toivo Tammik
Sven Koppel


Rävala road 2, 10145 Tallinn, Estonia


396,9 m2


Completed 2003


Martin Siplane


Historic, Public


Public, Refurbishment, New City Area, Religious, Tallinn

During the course of constructing a major new road in central Tallinn, the ruins of a 13th century almshouse were discovered underground. The almshouse belonged to St John ́s church which is still preserved nearby, a lovely small baroque edifice oddly stuck in between glass office buildings. To expose the findings, the road had to be slightly realigned. The unplanned shelter had to fit into quite a tight budget, so the solution – which was based on an open competition – was simple and minimalist: like the surface of the road itself turning slightly upwards to reveal the historic layer underneath. The illuminated glass facade was meant to enliven the pedestrian area and bring along to the buildings opposite the structure the creation of some kind of public front; however, this has not quite happened and the pavilion might feel slightly out of place in the middle of traffic.