“Huts and Habitats” has been announced as the winning proposal for the TAB 2019 Installation Programme, which was hosted by the 5th Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB 2019).

The open two-stage competition invited emerging architectural talents to design an experimental wooden structure in the heart of Tallinn, considering new technologies in relation to Estonia’s rich history of timber construction. “The winning project challenges the idea of the primitive hut – showing how, by using algorithmic logic, simple raw materials can be turned into a highly complex and inhabitable structure,” asserts Gilles Retsin, TAB 2019’s installation programme curator.

“Huts and Habitats” has been announced as the winning proposal for the TAB 2019 Installation Programme.

This is an impressive achievement, considering that 137 submissions were received from around the world.

Design and manufacturing approach

As material expertise and traditional craftsmanship gradually succumb to the promises of bespoke design customisation via CNCN machines and 3D printers, the team has focused on a hybrid approach that reinterprets the primitive tools of architecture from a contemporary perspective.

The result is a proposal for a pavilion made of steam-bent timber elements, using analogue tools augmented with the precision of mixed-reality environments. It explores an adaptive design and fabrication system that is resilient to wide variations in material behaviour and fabrication accuracy, occupying a fuzzy in-between that is neither purely analogue nor purely automated.

“The winning entry consists of a bespoke merging of craft, immersive technologies and material performance, for the production of dynamic organic forms that surpass building limitations of local precision or of the pure automate,” states Areti Markopoulou, head of the jury. “We are all excited and challenged to follow the emergence of such built work, which integrates lessons from nature and is the outcome of a vital human-machine collaboration.”

What’s next?

The installation will be built in August 2019 in the lively pedestrian green area facing the Museum of Estonian Architecture and will open to the public during TAB 2019 opening week on 11 September 2019. The structure will remain in place until the next edition of the event in 2021.

Also on the podium stand are second prize winners Déborah López, Hadin Charbel and Patrick Donbeck (Thailand) with their project, “Expired Beauty”, and third prize winners Plethora Project – José Sanchez (USA) with the project “Combonest”.

The works by all winners and all Stage II participants will be displayed at the TAB Installation Programme exhibition, and published on the TAB 2019 website and in its catalogue.

Steampunk time frame:
August 2019 – construction.
11 September 2019 – opening.

Steampunk credits:
Design by: SoomeenHahm Design, Igor Pantic, Fologram.
Project team: Soomeen Hahm, Igor Pantic, Gwyllim Jahn, Cam Newnham, Nick van den Berg, Hanjun Kim, Kiheung Kwon, Eri Sumitomo, Katerina Konstantinidou, Jakub Klaska.

Acknowledgement and thanks go to Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2019 for the material contained in this article.
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