Cultural Endowment of Estonia in architecture / landscape architecture 2018 nominee
Joel Kopli, Juhan Rohtla, Koit Ojaliiv, Eik Hermann (KUU arhitektid)
Commissioned by
MTÜ Konstantin Pätsi Muuseum
Tõnu Tunnel, Joel Kopli


In 2005, the board of MTÜ Konstantin Pätsi Muuseum had the idea to establish a memorial in Tallinn Metsakalmistu cemetery to the heads of state perished in death camps. Namely, it was known that nine out of the fifteen pre-war heads of states of the Republic of Estonia now rest in unknown graves. The cenotaph features a broken wave subsiding into eternity in the ground. Inscriptions on the metal include the coat of arms of Estonia, the title IN MEMORIAM TEADMATA HAUAS EESTI RIIGIVANEMATELE, the names, dates of birth and death of the heads of state and their generalised place of death. In preparing the texts, we relied on archive materials, earlier publications and historians. Reading the texts on the cenotaph relates to the victims of repression and occupation which also constituted one of the initial aims of establishing the memorial. The cenotaph fits and blends in well with the nature in Metsakalmistu. The memorial created by talented young architects and artists is a remarkable artistic achievement considerably enhancing also the creative dignity of Metsakalmistu cemetery.
Elle Lees, MTÜ Konstantin Pätsi Muuseum

The cenotaph was given a wave motif conveying the theme of continuity and disruption, life and death, both tragedy and the ability to get over from the past and move forward.

In terms of architecture, it was decided to renounce the monumental form in favour of a more sensitive and modest formal language blending in with the landscape but nevertheless effective and appropriate.

The cenotaph was made of 10mm cold galvanized carbon steel. It is worth pointing out the significant role of the craftsmen who suggested the technological solution for etching the graphics and bending steel followed by its successful completion.


Koit Ojaliiv