Estonian Association of Architects / Architect Award 2021 nominee
Estonian Association of Interior Architects / annual award 2021 nominee
Cultural Endowment of Estonia in architecture / annual award 2021 nominee
Lihula mnt 12/2, Haapsalu
Gert Guriev, Karin Harkmaa, Markus Kaasik, Kerstin Kivila, Mihkel Meriste, Siim Tiisvelt (3+1 Arhitektid)
Interior Architecture
Tuuliki Širokova, Maarja Mets, Martin Kukk (Sees)
Structural design
Arro & Agasild Inseneribüroo
Commissioned by
Haapsalu Linnavalitsus
Nordlin Ehitus
Tõnu Tunnel


The building’s architecture and interior architecture are emanate from the concept of a school that welcomes movement. Encouraging the kids to be outdoors in the fresh air is a key consideration here. To make it appealing to go outside, the building’s interior and exterior are physically and visually closely integrated: the interior and exterior are separated by doors but there are also views from one zone to the other.

The school building does not have hallways – the customer wanted to avoid them – and classrooms of different sizes are arranged around two triangular atriums. The black atrium has a set of stairs, an auditorium and a library while the white one has a cafeteria and a climbing play area for the elementary grades. Such an untraditional layout allows one to choose how to go from one floor to another – by running, walking or climbing. A small gym has also been added to the white atrium. It is above all for teachers, their physical activity serving as a role model for students.


Just as people are different, interiors should also be as multifaceted as possible to offer something to everyone. So there are places in the schoolroom to split off by oneself and be alone. The school administration and teachers were also involved in the design and construction process to ensure that the result met user expectations.

The blocks of rooms are laid out with the consideration that part of the building could be partitioned off for community events. Because of that, the interior had to be somewhat more universal and suitable for people in different age groups. In terms of material and colour scheme, the interior is quite simple: timber, concrete and glass are predominant. Yet through this very simplicity, a warm and intimate result is achieved. Airiness and transparency is introduced by the interior windows with a view of the classrooms. Students can also perch on these windowsills during recess.