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Nieto Sobejano in Estonia


Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos has won first prize in the international competition to design the new Arvo Pärt Centre in Laulasmaa (Estonia), in a two-phase competition in which a total of 71 proposals were entered by architects of the stature of Allied Works (USA), Claudio Silvestrin (Great Britain), Coop Himmelb(L)Au (Austria), Henning Larsen (Denmark), Jensen & Skodvin (Norway), Kersten Keers David van Severen (Belgium), OFIS (Slovenia) , Rick Joy (USA) and Zaha Hadid (Great Britain), among others.

The project, like a musical structure, emerges from a geometric pattern that has its origins in a repeated pentagonal shape that generates the spatial sequences that will accommodate the programme’s different areas. A play of possibilities, where the variations of the pentagonal enclosures give rise to courtyards of variable dimensions holding the existing trees and where the interior space is defined by the two long curved wooden walls that separate the more private areas of the programme. Inside, the auditorium is understood as a space within another one, while the entrance hall, which can also be used for exhibitions, is connected to the shop and cafeteria in a close visual relationship with the exterior landscape.

Conceived as a place for concentration and study in which to exchange ideas, visit an exhibition, have something in the cafeteria, read in the library, watch a performance in the auditorium or simply stroll through the woodland, the materials reflect the intimate, warm character of the entire project, with oiled white pinewood on the walls and ceilings and a cobbled floor. On the outside, a large roof covered in marine aluminium panels unifies the architectural proposal like a platform that rises and folds to adapt to the different required inner heights, while establishing a dialogue with the organic shapes of the surroundings; and the facades give rise to a changing sequence of slender columns, combining open spaces with other more closed ones. Particularly noteworthy is the height of the psalms, a light helicoid structure with the same pentagonal floor plan as the courtyards that, inspired in a sequence of psalms, emerges above the building to give views over the distant horizon and the sea.


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