Nominee for the Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in Architecture 2023
Curators
Laura Linsi, Roland Reemaa
Co-curator
Maria Helena Luiga
Installation author
Laura Linsi, Roland Reemaa, Maria Helena Luiga (LLRRLLRR)
Participants
Andrea Tamm, Maria Helena Luiga, Hannes Praks, Henri Papson (kuidas.works), Koit Ojaliiv, Kristel Niisuke, Mariann Drell, Ruuben Rekkor, Holger Orek (SRIK Vanamaterjal), Simo Ilomets, Anni Martin, Andres Tolts, Johanna Ulfsak (TalTech Ehituse- ja arhitektuuriinstituut)
Technical team
Johannes Säre, Dénes Farkas, Mihkel Säre, Villem Säre, Hans-Otto Ojaste (Dream Team)
Graphic design
Koit Randmäe
Lighting design
Aleksander Sprohgis
Exhibition building materials are sourced in collaboration with
SRIK Vanamaterjal, Kadrioru Park, Tallinna Jäätmejaam, Vineerimaailm, Ruukki
Exhibition at the Estonian Museum of Architecture 25.05.–30.07.2023

Photos
Päär-Joonap Keedus, Maria Helena Luiga, Joosep Kivimäe, Roland Reemaa

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The exhibition ‘Urban Stocks’ focuses on a pressing topic that keeps worrying me, many architects and spatial design practitioners – the current building culture is destructive and cannot be sustained. The exhibition takes a step further and suggests a realistic but forgotten alternative to modern building culture, namely the reuse of existing material, ‘mining’ the building stock. Instead of linear construction, the curators and artists-builders immersed themselves in construction waste to create a new architectural aesthetic where the ethical use of materials becomes the foundation of spatial design. Such an approach could perhaps restore the regional distinctiveness that seems to have completely disappeared in the international standardised building material market. ‘Urban stocks’ as an exhibition is only the beginning, a lot remains to be done to make the given approach an integral part of our building culture.
Ulla Alla, architect

Urban Stocks is a spatial installation that took a look at the flows of building materials through landscapes and cities. The title of the exhibition derives from the English term ‘urban mining’, which is a proposed alternative to resource extraction from natural landscapes. The amount of energy used in common practice for the extraction, production, construction, maintenance and demolition of building materials is in need of a critical review. The aim of Urban Stocks is to explore smart ways of sourcing building materials from urban space – from demolition sites, foundation pits, discarded fixings and finishes, scraps from public space maintenance and refurbishment – and using them creatively in architecture.

The keyword for the exhibition is ‘spolia’ – an ancient reuse technique from the Mediterranean cultures, where valuable decorative stones are mixed with utilitarian masonry. In the installation, limestone and sewage pipes, logs and suspended ceiling panels meet in material nodes, which created a kind of interstice in the flow of building materials in Tallinn. 36 columns lined the basilica-like main hall in the former Rotermann Salt Storage building creating a central nave and four aisles. The column – a motif of classical architecture that has shaped the history of architecture both theoretically and practically – is once again the focus of attention.

The exhibition looked at some of the ongoing processes in Estonia related to circular use of construction materials, including pilot projects on material life cycle mapping and smart demolition (e.g. LifeIP BuildEST circular economy working group), sorting and storage of scrap materials (SRIK Scrap Materials), reuse of materials in new buildings (e.g. by KUU and Nikita Atikin architects for Kullo Centre) and application of excavated soil (e.g. use of clay from foundation pits by kuidas.works).