Vabriku Apartment Building

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KOKO Architects

Project team

Raivo Kotov, Tõnis Kimmel


Vabriku 33, 10411 Tallinn


800 m2


Completed 2005


Ott Alver, Kaido Haagen


Refurbishment, Historic, Residential, Wood


Residential, Refurbishment, Kalamaja, Wood, Historical, Apartment building, Apartment, Tallinn

Upon completion, this modest building received the Tallinn Cultural Heritage Department’s prize as best new addition to a historical milieu. Built on the foundations of an early 20th ­century tenement house, the building is barely, yet at the same time significantly distinguishable from the rest of the row. It has a somewhat rough looking unfinished vertical wood cladding, French windows and a symmetrical facade with rectangular dormer windows. It was a conscious decision by KOKO architects to design a house that would blend seamlessly into its environment.

A traditional look is reinterpreted in a delicately modern way and without any unnecessary details. The building’s modest volume houses ten apartments with full contemporary conveniences, while the southern side faces a yard and even features spacious balconies and a terrace. Two apartments on the ground floor also extend into the basement. Although clad in wood to blend in with its surroundings the building has been constructed using masonry blocks and metal structural elements. In the interior the selection of materials is also reminiscent of the neighboring historical buildings – for the walls a reddish clay plaster was used, and the floors are covered with wide natural wood boards. A modern touch is added with metal and concrete elements.

The house was highly praised in the media and was one of the first exciting new development projects in Kalamaja, thus contributing to the increased popularity of the area. Even a decade later, KOKO’s design is still relevant.