Indentation Of The Yesteryear: Narva College Project, University Of Tartu, Estonia

Project Details:

Project: Narva College, University of Tartu, Estonia

Architect: KAVAKAVA

Client: University of Tartu

Clay roof tiles used: Koramic plain tile 301 am

Facing bricks used: Terca Aseri red brushed

Clay pavers used: Penter Dresden and Aseri red

Floor area: 4,680 m²

The Unique Aspect:

Narva College is one of the most exciting buildings in more modern Estonian architecture. Elements that come together in its design include the bold signature of young architects, a very strong connection to the local urban context as well as a clear and attractive use of materials. The new architecture shows respect for the existing structures and is a sublime manifestation of contemporary architectural thinking.

The Hurdle Faced:

For bureau KAVAKAVA the task of tackling Narva College’s history-charged site – directly in front of the Narva Town Hall – was certainly not an easy one. Narva has a complex history; just before World War II, it boasted some of the most magnificent examples of baroque architecture in Estonia and was a powerful centre of the textile industry. Sadly, the war destroyed practically everything and the only building left standing in Narva’s Old Town was the very same Town Hall.

Architectural Significance:


Respectful Combination Of Old AND New

Indentation Of The Yesteryear..wienerberger

Today, the College’s light white façade matches the appearance of the baroque trading house that once stood in exactly this place. Its architecture shows respect for the structures once located on the plot, and it is a sublime manifestation of contemporary architectural thinking. While the building’s façade facing the square is derived from the idea of returning to the city the former trading house’s front face as a “negative” – now cast in concrete – the school behind it is a very modern space that is joined together by means of stairways and wide inclines.

Brick As A Reference To The City’s History

Indentation Of The Yesteryear..weinerberger

The materials used, colour combinations and surface textures play a major part in the architecture and its impact. The rust-red main building finished in brick and the light-coloured concrete main facades contrast in the College’s external appearance. “Brick was chosen because it links the building to Narva’s mighty historic red brick factories” explain the architects. As plastered façades were characteristic of Narva’s baroque Old Town, a unique solution was to coat the walls of the university with a thin layer of red-toned plaster that maintains the ease of following the texture and rhythm of bricks. The same warm shade was repeated with the inner courtyard’s paving stones, while, by contrast, the main façade’s front entryway was paved with Wienerberger wienerberger Penter pavers, as their colour – as black as possible – perfectly suited the architects. The shape of the roof follows the complex logic of the building’s shape; once again, the idea of using red plain tiles was derived from the context of the Old Town. The selection of Koramic roof tiles allowed specially-shaped roof sections to be covered with the greatest flexibility.

Originally Published On Architectum

Natural clay facade wienerberger

Curated by editor at Wienerberger India

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