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Jet another amazing house nearby Kakumae, Tallinn. Officially already a bit further out of the city, in Lucca village. This house is designed by Indrek Allmann in 1999 and, as I found out, it received plenty awards and notifications in early 2000’s.

Well you can see the style of the period is evident, but nevertheless the house is really interesting. Surely it is interesting as the client is the architect himself :)
Completely elevated from the ground on steel structure, rooms on the cliff side have openings on the floor, exterior finish is wood (now weathered to almost metal-like looks) main stairs make it look like a tree house, I even assume it has a terrace on the lower “box”. Besides this house must have excellent views to the nearby sea and Tallinn in the distance.
Sadly this project makes me think of so many countries where projects like this, in natural surroundings, would be just impossible due to all kinds of regulations.

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Discovered while exploring the area, cycling, looking for picturesque pathways by the cliffs near sea, as the house is rather hidden on a very calm road. After discovering it, even came back to take better photos when the weather was more photo-worthy.

On the 30th of June at Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design an exhibition of Modernisation. Baltic Art, Architecture and Design in the 1960s–1970s was opened. I went to see it and here I will share with you some photos and impressions.

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I almost fell into the Soviet period nostalgia trap thinking: “it was not all that bad”, “they were rather advanced”, “wow they do not even have such design nowadays”, ” modernist buildings look the same all over the world”. The reality was brought back to me by one photo of a cafe interior, all fancy and flashy, smiling people, but… the glass counter (where normally cakes, etc. should be displayed) had only one item in it – a champagne bottle. The scarcity tales are almost forgotten nowadays.

Exhibition covers the design, architecture and engineering of Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) from 1960’s to 1980’s. Ironically the period was “golden” to these three small countries, and within the Soviet Union they were considered “the little West”. This status was achieved by distinct architecture, seaside resorts, different and more easily available goods, unusual (for majority of other nationals in Soviet Union) local design and souvenirs. In retrospect, the status once held is lost and now, in another union, the Baltic states are just a periphery, a grey zone and have to struggle to be different, distinct and valued for the quality of their design and products.

Some photos from outside of the museum building, during the opening speech:

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The exhibition will be open until the 4th of November 2012.

Absolute favourite from Tartu, Estonia! It is well known house – a true architectural celebrity.

Designed by Atelier Thomas Pucher. Invited competition 2006, the project was shortlisted for the WAN Residential Awards 2011.

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Reality matters:
Amazing thing about this building is that it does not look even half as good in a presentation, as it does in reality. But isn’t it what good architecture should be about: good result in reality-who cares about the renderings? Makes me remember my school where well presented unworthy designs would draw most attention, and is my school an exception? However I think, the designers ether removed or changed the original renderings that once were available on the web.

Another handsome house from Kakumae, Tallinn.

Main elements: corten steel cladding, cantilevered front, swimming pool at the rear, small terrace, skylights, solar panels, existing trees preserved.

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Photos taken in autumn 2011.

Note smart use of cantilevered front for firewood storage.

More apartment blocks from Kakumae, Tallinn. Designed by architects Siiri Vallner and Indrek Peil, built in 2005. I like the use of decorative wood stripes,  yellow “cut outs”,  and just note how the rain pipes are incorporated in the design.

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Kakumae is a residential area toward the east from the city center. Newly planned and built, some of the buildings are still rising up and it is happening really fast!

Few impressions from Tallinn Architecture Biennale that was happening from 8th to 11th of September.

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Models are during exhibition “Vienna Exiles” opening event  in  Lower hall of the Helios cinema Sauna 7. If interested,  more information at: http://viennaexiles.wordpress.com/

Rather sad mood of the models: the lonely tiny people in vast and alien spaces. The building of the cinema  slowly disintegrates crumbling  down and so do the models (maybe ideas as well).

The bottom picture is taken at Gala party on Friday night.

From the explorations of an area I am living now. Several apartment blocks in Vahepere street, Kakumae finished in 2005:

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Found units in these buildings for sale (if anyone interested), however the interior can be disappointing. As rephrasing a popular proverb: you can take a person out of a soviet block, but you cannot take the soviet block out of him.
As seen in the ads, the building looks even better in winter.

Just to be very clear: the name “Tetris” is my own invention, it is not an official name.

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