TALLINN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY LIBRARY
The Tallinn University of Technology new library building looks like an almost black shoebox on the outside. It has a graphic pattern, which can be interpreted in several ways: wood, a galaxy, a drift of snow on black ice. As you wish. The building is about 10 000 m2 and built on several levels, that is: very compact.
When inside, one notices that the facade is made out of composite weatherproof textile with a graphic image on it. In spite of the blackness on the outside, the building has certain lightness. Some of the floors are shining white, some are covered with a carpet: it is a library where any disturbing noise should be a no-no.
The library shelves are black, the desks white and then there exists the signal colour green, very strong and bright. The furnishings have been grouped in a very rigid manner, but the feeling still remains spacious.
One suddenly, at times, gets the feeling of being inside a computer game. The aim must have been that of a building for young people, the makers of the Estonian future.
The building is the result of a competition, the architects are Agabus, Endjärv & Truverk or AET Architects and completed in the spring 2009.
The architects have created a contemporary heart for the university campus, in the corner of Söpruse pst and Ehitajate tee. The campus is surrounded by a bedroom community, to which it brings life in the daytime. The model for the project “Ajupuu” (Braintree) can be found in the corridor bridge joining this new building to its older neighbor.
This is no festive academic building, far from it. The building and the use of space is said to be among the most effective in the realm of contemporary Estonian architecture.
In spite of this, the building also has an airiness and freshness to it. But still, at times, one feels like being inside a rendering, not a building. That is due to the carpeting – a bit odd, I think – and the graphic patterns used on walls and around some room-like group workspaces. They are also clad with a patterned textile material, which makes them semi-private. Very nice.
The interior has been the responsibility of Kristi Lents and Hannelore Kääramees. The choice of colors, especially the sharp green, is a bit odd, but can also be seen as refreshing.
What Arkkivahti saw as a real blemish was the use of slightly too high cubic tables in the dining room / café and the rather cheap looking black plastic chairs – even though they are porous and trendily lace-like. The tables are covered with wood-like laminated material, also not very nice in a dining environment – but at least the floor in this space is made of real, solid wood, as it should be in a academic environment. True materials are always more credible than anything that looks cheap. Academia should not be cheap, or trendy, not even in its more technical section.
But, all in all, Arkkivahti was pleased with her visit. We shall later see how this architecture with the sharp colors lasts and if it on a second visit will look dated. The building already has the feel of the sixties-seventies and a small hint also at the times of socialism. But oh no, we do not go there now: this one is a fresh and contemporary building – even though Arkkivahti got a slight headache, maybe because the air conditioning system might still need some trimming. Or maybe it was the green…
Vahti later found an open window, and sitting closed to it on a round stool and looking into the landscape, she got back her trust in this house. The breeze brought a welcome amount of fresh air from the nearby pine forest.
The university campus can from Tallinn centre be reached with a trolley bus or a bike. One can also take a taxi – but DO watch out if you get in touch with the driver called Raivo Ripoff or any of his beastly relatives.
The Tallink cabs are supposed to be most reliable. The older times still exist in Tallinn and one does not necessarily know who is a crook and who is not. With the bus one can also see the part of Tallinn where the newly rich, the young or the famous do not have their houses.