Arvo Pärt Centre

Location: Laulasmaa, Estonia

Year: 2014

Status: Competition

Size: 2,731m²

Program: Cultural

Project team: Alver Architects (Andres Alver, Tarmo Laht, Indrek Rünkla, Ulla Mets, Sven Koppel, Ivan Sergejev)



A brush stroke served as a concept for the building design. Creativity is born with the first strike of the brush: an image, a word, a building, a musical theme, a world.
The forest is the strongest spatial element of Kellasalu. The building embraces the forest’s trees, moss, blueberries, inhabitants and rays of sun. Being in the building, we are in the forest. Being the forest, we are simultaneously in the Centre. The building tries to avoid ruining the pristine environment of the forest: instead of embedding itself into the forest it stays next the road.

Site and Logistics

The building is layed out in such a way as to enable a dense contact between its public amenities and the forest. The main entrance is turned towards the road that brings visitors to the site and attempts to make contact with the entrance of the existing Aliina complex. Service entrances and egress staircases open towards the road.

Functional and volumetric composition

The building consists of three isles. The straight isle parallel to the road accommodates straight-forward functional rooms, such as the staff office spaces, archive, restrooms, and services. The middle isle is occupied by the library, shop, exhibition spaces, and auditorium, and is naturally lit through the glass roof above. The isle closest to the forest is occupied by the foyer, and – on the 2 floor – by Arvo Pärt’s creative spaces, directly connected to the chapel and the observation tower.

Structure and materials

Inspired by the structure of classical musical instruments, the building is mostly built with timber with reinforced concrete providing stability where neccessary. Most of the exterior is clad with timber siding. The glass facade open to the south-west is partially covered with a print. The interior is dominated by timber of varying grain and color.

Visualization Credit: Arhitekt Must