TALLINN – In Tallinn, Estonia, a theatre building rests ‘on the verge of being a pure funcitonal container and an art installation.’ With a specific purpose, programme and location, the architects Salto AB created the 440-sq-m theatre. The commisioner, NO99, needed a temporary building to house their specific summer program on from May to October, 2011.
The rectangular volume is accessible by an awning-covered flight of stairs, which resembles a tail extending downwards. Most captivating, however, is its material: uncovered straw bales that have been spray painted black and secured with trusses. ‘As the building is temporary, it has not been insulated (as a normal straw construction would require),’ says architect Maarja Kask of Salto AB. ‘Instead, we kept it open to experience the raw tactile qualities of the material and accentuate the symbolic level of the life cycle of this sustainable material.’
The theatre has been built on a former Baroque fortificaiton, which was once a restricted recreational area for Soviet navy. For the last 20 years, it has been closed and a neglected spot of land in the city centre that has been unsuccessfully developed.