- THRESHOLD SPACE: Spaces for collective activities in Sillamäe
- Tutor: Martin Melioranski, Raul Kalvo
This thesis is about the way power structures and ideologies manifest in space; it studies both its positively intriguing and the more negative and life-hindering aspects. In my work, I use the concept of threshold space to describe and try to create spaces that include a number of common recreation and work spaces, which in turn promote communication within the community. The threshold space also acts as a doorsill or gradient, which encourages one to enter the common communication space from a more neutral street space. In parallel with my research, I used intuitive modelmaking as a working method and made several free-form concept models.
Discussing the influence of ideologies and the ruling power on architecture, the work also considers the post-socialist urban space as one example. In Estonia, the peculiarities of a post-socialist city become amplified in Ida-Virumaa. Due to their industrial past, the cities of Ida-Virumaa were strongly influenced by the transition from the Soviet Union to independent Estonia — cities were often monofunctional and revolved around industry. As the industry disappeared or shrank, so did jobs and the population.
I chose Sillamäe as the location for the master’s thesis’ architectural project, which has the most idiosyncrasies in the context of cities in both Estonia and Ida-Virumaa. Namely, the industry located in Sillamäe during the Soviet era was secret, which is why the city was closed to all outsiders at that time. I was interested in the city’s strong sense of identity, its imposing and consistent Stalinist and postmodernist architectural heritage.
Threshold rooms are planted in existing buildings, of which as much has been preserved as possible. For the following reason, the rooms should gently amplify the already existing assets Sillamäe has and also act as spaces of care. The work tries to decipher and rethink the post-industrial identity and to offer one possible future perspective to cities with a similar past with sensitive and site-specific architectural interventions.