Architecture: Nooks and crannies in slate

(January 2011) The historic city centre of Tallinn, capital of Estonia and Unesco world heritage site since 1997, was the inspiration for the apartment house in Vana-Viru-Street 13 at the outer rim of the city centre. Special touches incorporated in the 4 story building, which includes shops on the ground floor, are reminiscent of the century-old past: the façade is full of nooks and crannies alluding to lanes and side-streets of times past and the windows are slanted.

The major portion of the complex rests on two sides of the plot allowing free sight over the court to a historic building. It has been painstakingly renovated after decades of neglected under Soviet rule.

Each flat has its own terrace. The apartments are characterized by wide open rooms and long window fronts. Load-bearing construction is made of a steel frame and steel-reinforced concrete. Outer siding of the complex is slate. The terrace flooring is Portuguese limestone as „local limestone is too grey“, according to the architects. The slate, too, was imported from Portugal.

OÜ AB Kosmos Architects was founded in 2002 – its office is in Tallinn. The founders are a mid-thirties trio comprising Ott Kadarik, Villem Tomiste and Mihkel Tüür.

For those not fluent in Estonian: OÜ in a company name means company limited and AB stands for Architect Bureau.

Tallinn enjoys the status of European cultural heritage city this year.

OÜ AB Kosmos

Photos: Ott Kadarik, Paco Ulman