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Estonian National Museum in Tartu

© Takuji Shimmura
© Takuji Shimmura
© Takuji Shimmura
© Takuji Shimmura
© Takuji Shimmura
© Takuji Shimmura
© Takuji Shimmura
The new Estonian National Museum is located on the grounds of what was once the Soviet military’s largest airport in Eastern Europe. Since the end of the Russian occupation the grounds have hardly changed: the flora and fauna flourishes every bit as well on the hills and plains as in the derelict buildings and on the asphalt runways.

The museum, which is 355 metres long and 71 metres wide, is situated at the end of one of the two runways, and because it is wedge-shaped, it brings to mind a launching ramp. The single-storey building has a double-skin facade that – especially in winter – assumes the role of a buffer against the cold.

The outer layer consists of frameless gazing imprinted with a star pattern. The latter makes reference to a traditional Estonian motif, but also shades the interior from the sun. The inner layer consists primarily of solid walls. Floor-to-ceiling openings in them animate the otherwise monolithic-seeming facade, and when the building is lit from within at night, their blurred outlines are discernible.