Viljandi State High School

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Salto Architects

Project team

Karli Luik, Ralf Lõoke, Maarja Kask, Andro Mänd, Margus Tamm, Eva Laarmann

Interior design

Pille Lausmäe Interior Architects

Competition & awards

Open, 2011, 1st Prize


Hariduse 2, 71020 Viljandi


5,900 m2


Completed 2013


State Real Estate


Kert Saarma


Science & Education, Refurbishment, Awarded, Historic, Landscape and Urban Planning, Public


Public, Refurbishment, School, Viljandi, Landscape & urbanism, Awarded, Historical, Landscape design, Educational

The extension to Viljandi State High School makes for a discreet, lowest possible backdrop for the heritage-listed historic building. Reconstruction of the 1920s school building and the added annex, which is larger in its volume, have made maximum use of the views on the surrounding picturesque town- scape. The solution is based on the characteristics of the plot, situated in a low lakeside land.

Conceptually, the building is based on the 1920s design by Wolffeldt and Nürnberg, which remained partly unfinished. The old building has been preserved as close to the original as possible and the unfinished wing has been represented as a square between the old and the new parts, which also forms the main entrance to the school building. The lakeside works as a more private recreational area with sports grounds.

The ensemble is placed in the landscape so that, when looking from afar, the higher historical vertical volume of the building predominates, from the valley, however, the strong horizontal new annex comes into the focus. The new part added to the historical building as a neutral background is located alongside the pond, connecting the two roads that border the plot. This solution also supports the best use of the movement of light from the east to the west.

In the interior orientation towards East-West ensures good natural lightning conditions and enables pleasant views towards lake and theatre and the historic building. The spatial program has been reorganized with almost all classes in the extension and administrative functions in the historic building. The layout avoids conventional atrium and densely packed classes with narrow corridors, opting for a more varied solution.