The Museum of Occupations was the first custom-built museum in newly independent Estonia, the design being chosen at a competition with 50 submissions. The aim of the institution was to provide adequate information on occupations of the recent past, build a memorial to the deceased and enable organizing of small-scale seminars.
The museum is located in the belt of bastions surrounding the Old Town. The building is pretty small-scale, structured as an uninterrupted movement through different interior spaces. The museum, the city and the park are integrated into a continuous yet changing experience, suitable for the institution‘s goal of being contemporary and constantly in flux.
A small front yard (memorial) with birches serves as an entrance. The yard works as a pause between the city and the museum. The birches create light effects, bringing into the museum the changing rhythm of days, leaf shadows projecting onto the glass walls. Heavy symbols have been consciously avoided. The fragile architecture is in marked contrast with the way the recent past had been hitherto presented.
Regardless of the lack of partition walls, the whole interior may not be grasped in the first view. Different functions meet and intermingle, there are no sharp distinctions. The ground floor houses the main exposition and temporary exhibitions; toilets, cloakroom and storages may be found in the basement. The library and working spaces are located in the open mezzanine.
Location: Toompea tn 8, Tallinn
Client: Kistler-Ritso Eesti Foundation
Architects: Indrek Peil, Siiri Vallner (Tomomi Hayashi, Toomas Kuslap) Head Arhitektid OÜ
Structural engineer: ESP, Teinos
Total floor area: 1670m²