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ECOLA conference 2019 in Tallinn

November 11, 2019

ECOLA conference 2019 in Tallinn

39 architects from 27 European countries participated in this year's ECOLA conference in the Estonian capital of Tallinn from 26 to 28 September.

The ECOLA (European Conference of Leading Architects) architectural competition was held for the ninth time this year. The most remarkable new buildings or renovations of the past years were recognised that "are characterised, either completely or substantially, by the use of render on the facade".

Following the competition stage, the four winners of 2019 as well as the competition and nomination jurors were invited to the conference. In lectures and workshops at the Arvo Pärt-Centre near the Estonian capital, they had the opportunity to extensively delve into render as a material – both with regard to its practical application as well as its creative development.

The architectural programme on the first day of the conference began with tours of the Fotografiska Museum of Salto Architects and PINK, as well as a tour of the dormant Linnahall multi-purpose hall, which was designed by Raine Karp and Riina Altmäe in 1980 as the V.-I.-Lenin-Palace for Culture and Sports. Next on the agenda was a visit to the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour – the impressive, more than 100-year-old seaplane hangar that was converted into a maritime museum ten years ago by the local architecture office KOKO.

The second day of the conference was dominated by the ECOLA Awards. The jury awarded four first prizes that were divided into two categories: In the "Refurbishment/Renovation/Conversion" category, the Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten office from Berlin impressed with the conversion and extension of Schloss Wittenberg, just as TEd’A arquitectes from Palma de Mallorca did with their "Can Picafort – 4 tourist apartments" project. In the "New buildings" category, Aires Mateus Architects from Lisbon won with “Meeting Centre" in Grândola, Portugal, and AIM Studio with “Local Community Center Gošići” in Tivat, Montenegro. The winners presented their projects to the other participants in the morning. A keynote address by Bart Reuser (NEXT Architects, Amsterdam) titled "Let‘s face the facade" followed and resulted in a lively discussion among all participants. In the afternoon, architects were able to try their hand at designing with render and they produced their own "Statements in Plaster". Following a concert with pianist Johan Randvere, the ECOLA Awards 2019 were presented by the sponsor of the competition, represented by Jochen Stotmeister (chairman of the Supervisory Board of STO Management SE), Rainer Hüttenberger (spokesperson of the Executive Board of Sto SE & Co. KGaA) and Rainer König (first chairman of the Professional Association of Plasterers for Development and Facades), at the festive award ceremony that took place in the evening in the former Niguliste church in Tallinn's historic city centre.

The final day included a tour through Tallinn's converted and transitioning quarters, such as the Noblessner area with the newly opened Kai-Art-Center (KAOS Architects, Tallinn), and the Rotermann quarter, in which 19th century industrial buildings meet contemporary architecture. A visit of the TAB Tallinn Architecture Biennale, which is titled "Beauty Matters: The Resurgence of Beauty" this year, was also part of the programme. The participants got a personal guided tour by the curator, Dr. Yael Reisner, before a visit to the prestigious Song Festival Grounds concluded this year's ECOLA conference.

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