Ferrum Department Store

Location: Kuressaare, Estonia

Year: 2003

Status: Completed

Size: 2,220 m²

Program: Retail

Project team: Alver Architects (Andres Alver, Tiit Trummal, Tarmo Laht, Indrek Rünkla, Ulla Mets)

Credits: Protography – Arne Maasik, Alver Architects


Ferrum department store is located in the very center of Kuressaare, the capital and only city of Saaremaa, the biggest  island off the west coasts of Estonia. The building is situated on Kuressaare’s main street, fitting a void between some oldest buildings of Kuressaare and a couple of newer ones from the middle of XX century.

The building is a result of a winning entry to an invited competition.

The morphology of the building tries to take into account the texture of existing old city and the plot itself as well as the spirit and appearance of old gabled roof housing with their red brick tiles that form the core of old Kuressaare.

The building’s volume and street facades correspond to the surrounding scale of streetscape, its height and rhythm. Two passages through the building – one opened, other internal –  try to follow the existing pedestrian routes around the plot and help to “lift up from the grounds” the in-between area  just behind the new building.

The choice of materials – Corten steel and local limestone – mirrors the main local existing building material but adds some fresh moments of contemporaneity.

The interior space of the building is built up around a vertical atrium covered by steel “ribs” and opened up at one side to the south-side geenery around the building. In the center of the atrium is a solid wooden stair curving from the ground floor up to the first one.

The program of the building consists mostly of commercial retail spaces. There is no basement and the attic is occupied by HVAC systems.

The main structure of the building is made up of in-situ concrete bearing walls and floor slabs covered by steel rafters.

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