Register: NOV/02/2019, Submit: NOV/02/2018, Eligibility: Graduated architects, designers; individually, teams with at least one architect, Fee: Free, Awards: 1st Prize – Budget 15,000 EUR for design and construction; 1st, 2nd & 3rd Prize – TAB 2019 Symposium participation, published in TAB 2019 book, TAB 2019 PASS
In the past decade, the pavilion has become a kind of staple for architects experimenting with new technologies, spatial experiences or formal languages. The Serpentine Gallery in London, who runs perhaps the most famous pavilion series, recently opened a pavillion-branch in Beijing. But can we think about small-scale architectural installations beyond the pavilion or the folly? A good example could be the 19th century notion of the “primitive hut”, the search of architects like Marc-Antoine Laugier and Gottfried Semper for a first, original architecture. Both neolithic megaliths, but also Le Corbusier’s Maison Domino, or even the current experiments with large scale 3D printing could be understood as primitive huts in their own time – looking at the very fundamental, basic elements that architecture consists of. Whereas pavilions are often in some way mannerist and carry little ideology – the primitive hut is less innocent, while remaining humble. The hut talks about dwelling, and is always a kind of Petri-dish: research to understand a larger body of work. The primitive hut also invites people to think about habitat, about housing – a discussion that again is no longer innocent and starts to connect with larger political and social issues.
The TAB Installation Programme Competition invites emerging architects and designers to design a kind of modern day primitive hut. This is an opportunity to research fundamental aspects of architecture: it’s tectonic system and related production chain with its social consequences, but also aspects of living and dwelling and ultimately of course, it’s digestion by the public. The installation is small, but the thoughts behind it can therefore be inversely proportional. Despite being “primitive”, every primitive hut is also innovative – as it is per definition “the first”. The Installation Programme Competition therefore asks architects to consider new technologies and design strategies, without precedent. Through the notion of the hut, the Installation Programme Competition therefore aligns itself with the focus on habitats that TAB 2019 curator Dr Yael Reisner has put forward in the TAB Vision Competition “New Habitats, New Beauties”. The Installation Programme Competition approaches the theme of beauty through the notion of tectonics and material organisation: the primordial composition of architecture. Beauty is therefore not a post-rationalisation, but exists at the very core of the installation. The installation should not be literally thought of as an actual small house or cabin, but more as a physical manifestation of a construction system. At the same time, it should work as an autonomous and vibrant public space that doesn’t need a disclaimer to be appreciated by visitors and passersby.
The Installation Programme Competition encourages architects to consider new technologies and design strategies in relation to Estonia’s rich history of timber construction. Tallinn has an inspiring history of wooden houses and larger timber structures from the beginning of the 20th century. More recently, new companies and startups are proposing modular timber housing concepts as well as mini-homes and cabins. Timber is now referred at as the “steel of the 21th century” and new material and manufacturing technologies change the way it has been traditionally used. In a global context of an ever expanding urban population, timber is more and more suggested as a solution for high-density housing.
The TAB Installation Programme Competition asks participants to design and build a modern day wooden “primitive hut”, an installation that researches fundamental, primordial notions of construction, tectonics and dwelling. It should be exemplary and communicate the larger thinking behind the project. At the same time, the installation should work independently as part of a larger whole – as a functional and active public space in front of the Museum of Estonian Architecture. This aspect is also where the competition connects to the overall theme of the Biennale: Beauty. Although as architects we think about systems of production, finally what we devise will still be digested aesthetically by the future inhabitants, users or public at large. For the Installation Programme Competition, beauty is not a post-rationalisation, but embedded in the tectonics and production chain of the structure.
Just as previous editions of TAB, the installation itself should be open to the surroundings and attract visitors to the museum. The competition is not looking for proposals for small houses or cabins, but public installations. The installation needs to be climate resistant as it should stay on the site until 2021, a period of two years.
Architects are encouraged to think about timber as innovative construction material, possibly in combination with other materials.
The winning team will construct their own design for the opening of TAB 2019.
The site for the Installation Programme Competition is the area in front of the Museum of Estonian Architecture, housed in the Rotermann Salt Storage – one of Tallinn’s most outstanding examples of industrial architecture. The area in front of the museum is a lively pedestrian street for commuters between the harbor and the city centre. East to west it is a green island on one of the busiest streets in the city centre, being one of the main connections between the two sides of the city.
The competition is two-stage.
Stage 2 submission deadline: 30th January 2019.