Location: Tartu, Estonia
Client: Estonian University of Life Sciences
Architect: Salto AB (www.salto.ee)
Authors: Maarja Kask, Karli Luik, Ralf Lõoke
Interior architects: Katrin Kaevats, Jaan Port
Open competition: 2007, 1st prize
Size: 4500 m2
In addition to solving the simple functional program, designing a new sports hall for the Estonian University of Life Sciences also implied considering some urban issues. The building and its landscaping tries to integrate and organize the scattered campus of the university that has developed over time without no particular coherent plan. In addition, the roadside location on the very verge of the city makes the sports hall something of an entrance mark. Due to its location, one of the considerations was that one should be able to grasp the basic design idea at the first glimpse, upon driving by.
As a solution, all corners of the cubic volume are slightly stretched, and elevated ground forms a “cushion” for the slightly entrenched building. This facilitates integrating the building with landscape and lightens its overall appearance. Undulating forms continuing towards the riverside encompass outdoor sports grounds and bicycle paths. The stretched-out corners create concave lines both in plan and elevation, creating unconventional spaces inside and varying optical effects outside.