Nominee for the Award SMALL of the Estonian Association of Architects 2022
Alis Mäesalu
Design team
Alis Mäesalu, Tuule Kangur, Darja Gužovskaja, Madis Arp Keerd
Structural design
Andres Lehtla
Ott Alver, Alvin Järving (Arhitekt Must)
Commissioned by
Tartu Linnavalitsus
EKA arhitektuuriosakonna esimene kursus
Paco Ulman, Terje Ugandi/for magazine Diivan


KINO was designed by the first-year architecture students of the Estonian Academy of Arts during the project course in the fall term. In this course, we are searching for an answer to the question: what is the value of architecture in a world were material resources are exhaustible? Students learn how to redistribute material pursuant to the initial brief and design ideas. The work with limited amounts of material: each student has 1 km of timber and 80 concrete blocks. Each year, the best shelter of the course is also built. KINO managed to distribute the prescribed material between three objects while also suggesting a programme for an unused space in Tartu and creating landmarks to activate the bank of River Emajõgi. Clues for searching for the value of architecture have been provided.
Alvin Järving, Ott Alver, supervisors

The shelter KINO features a three-frame Estonian film. The brutally honest structure does not aim at hiding its story or face with each single object with its concrete steps and timber head to lead the gaze functioning as a cinema hall. Walking up the steps and taking a seat, the audience will see a slowly moving image that allows to turn their gaze inwards and slowly reach a stillness by following the serenity. The shelters are located in Holm Park on the bank of River Emajõgi in Tartu city centre – a place that people used to pass by. The three “spyglasses” are placed in a way as to invite people to stray from their regular paths and allow themselves to be surprised. There are three cinemas – just pick the right feeling and the respective view.

The body of KINO shelters is made of concrete and the head of timber. The somewhat contrasting materials underline the peculiarities of the two parts of the shelter – climbing up the concrete “rock” takes you to a cosy wooden chamber.

The machine-like appearance of the structures suggests their main function. The use of materials has been highly straightforward as both the framework of the timber structure and the “bumps” of the concrete have been featured. The gently translucent paint allows the wood grain pattern to shine through.

KINO shelters provide a cosy haven for taking a seat and enjoying the view whether it’s the flowing river, swaying branches or moths around the streetlight. The smell of timber and the warm painted surfaces provide a sense of security and allow the audience to be enchanted by the realms featured on the screen.

Text: Alis Mäesalu, Tuule Kangur