Estonian National Museum

October – November 2005, Tartu, Estonia

The design of the Estonian National Museum (ENM) is part of Estonia’s nation building process. The ENM collection is based on folklore, which plays an important role in the history of Estonia.
To organize the museum we start from two different principles; the “wonder chamber” concept as the origin of all museums, and the “shopping mall” concept as the current container of our folklore. By combining the grandiosity of the wonder chamber and the simplicity of the circulation of the mall we obtain the floor plan of ENM.

All additional functions such as the open air auditoria, the folklore market, the existing buildings…are connected by pedestrian and bicycle rings around the lake. In this way the lay-out of the museum park mirrors the inner circulation of the museum, and thus becomes one more artefact of the museum park.
The 1.3 million inhabitants of Estonia become an integral part of the facade; every face contributes to the beauty of the building.
The facade turns into a 24/7 exhibition in itself, and for the first time ever a National Museum will present all inhabitants of a nation on its facade. 

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Project name: Estonian National Museum
Date: October – November 2005
Type: International Open Competition
Organizer: Estonian National Museum, Estonian Ministry of Culture, and Union of Estonian Architects
Participants: 108
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Site: Raadi manor 2 km north of city centre
Programme: Spaces for permanent + temporary exhibition, restaurant + café, small auditoriums, archives
Surface: Total 28.594 m² – museum: 11.486 m², restaurant + café: 770 m², halls and workshop areas: 2.915 m², storage +archives: 13.423 m²
Status: Competition
Client: Estonian National Museum
Budget: € 38 Mill.
Team STAR: Beatriz Ramo, Theo Deutinger, Yoko Sano, João Prates Ruivo
Collaborators: coauthor BOARD (Bernd Upmeyer)