Skip to main content
New European Bauhaus

Tartu Downtown Cultural Centre

Can green roofs and modular design blend seamlessly with a park's surroundings?

Tartu Downtown Cultural Centre
Tartu Downtown Cultural Centre
© European Union, 2021

Can green roofs and modular design blend seamlessly with a park's surroundings? 

Yes! Tartu Downtown Cultural Centre wants to blur the lines between built and natural environments. 

Developed as a part of a project at the Estonian Academy of Arts, the idea was to plan a cultural centre in the heart of Tartu, consisting of a library, two concert halls, an art museum, and rental spaces. 

The proposal was submitted to the 2021 New European Bauhaus rising star prizes in "Solutions for the co-evolution of built environment and nature."

The concept includes a library, concert halls, an art museum, and rental spaces built with sustainable modular timber cladding. Buildings are located within the park, intimately interwoven into nature and terrain, transforming the centre's outer perimeter into an extension of the park.

The design was inspired by Tartu's central park's open urban area and its enormous possibilities. The main idea was to impair the park's mood and nature as little as possible while accommodating around 22,000 m2 of interior space. Roofs with green and sloped edges will be built to achieve this construction; they are walkable and serve as entrances to the upper stories.

Because of the sloping terrain, all floors are directly accessible from the outside. The dynamically flowing rooflines also smoothly integrate wheelchair access to all areas of the structures, both from the outside and inside the cultural centre's distinct sections. 

The building's modular system is flexible and easy to assemble—a 10 by 10 by 10-meter triangular grid is utilised horizontally, with a 2.2mts step in the vertical direction. And it forms a dome/mushroom-like structure by being thicker on one side and narrower on the other.

These modules enable the designers to create orthogonal interior spaces on various scales, from small office spaces to concert halls.

Tartu Cultural Centre wants to become the heart of Southern Estonia, bringing together diverse groups of people and cultural sectors. The goal of combining the library, art museum & concert halls is to create a creative temple for anyone to have a good time and experience something new!

📸© European Union