Tartu Health Care College

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Kavakava Architects

Project team

Siiri Valner, Indrek Peil, Johannes Feld, Andro Mänd, Sten–Mark Mändmaa, Ragnar Põllukivi

Interior architect

Tarmo Piirmets (Pink OÜ)


Ivar Muuk (Pike OÜ)


Nooruse 5, 50411 Tartu


6,650 m2


Completed, 2011


Tartu Health Care College


Martin Siplane


Science & Education, Awarded, Interior Design, Public


Public, Awarded, College, Educational, Tartu

The building defines a friendly co-existence between small scale private housing and large healthcare institutions in the park. The new collage building is located in between two dormitories to maintain the buffer zone between private houses and large buildings. Tartu Health Care College is a higher education institution providing training to healthcare specialists (nurses, physiotherapists, midwifes etc.) in Estonia.

The design solution is based on the need for sufficient natural light in all dormitories and classrooms. Each floor steps back, creating interesting interior spaces and communication with the existing dormitory. The latter side has open character with large glass surfaces whereas the more confined outward side has a red brick cladding similar to the existing dormitories. The college building tries to step into the context as an unexpected yet interesting partner.

The new and the existing buildings are connected on ground floor level. The interior space has two defining elements: the core – a library and information center with a cafeteria; and the big staircase, following the gradient rise of the building itself, providing visual connection of all floors and all main activities of the building. Local (brick) and renewable (timber) building materials are used. Structure has considerable thermal mass and natural ventilation options to reduce cooling costs.

The building of the Tartu Health Care College stands in the green area of Maarjamõisa and interacts with the recent Physicum, completed in 2014 to plans by Kadarik Tüür Architects, and the new building of the Estonian National Archive, completed in 2017 to plans by Asum Arhitektid, Arhitekt11 and Vaikla Stuudio.