The Estonian National Museum officially opened to the public on Saturday, allowing visitors to check out its new location on a former Soviet airbase.
The museum is located close to Estonia’s second city, Tartu, set within a 350-metre-long glass building that rises up from the old runway. Designed by Paris-based architecture practice Dorell Ghotmeh Tane (DGT), the museum is the largest in the Baltic States, with an area of 34,000 square metres.
Facilities within the museum building, which is made of glass and concrete, include gallery spaces, a conference hall, public library, auditoriums, classrooms, offices and storage space. These are contained within a combination of glazed and opaque boxes. For a distinctly local feel, the facades are covered in a printed motif of an abstracted cornflower, Estonia’s national flower.
“Designing a national museum for Estonia was an extraordinary challenge given the country’s many decades of tumultuous history, a history that is recent enough to still remain in the nation’s memory,” the architects commented.
Bearing this in mind, the structure of the building itself is designed to provide a point of reflection on Estonia’s past and future.
“The structure resembles a glass wedge inserted into the landscape that slowly reaches upward from the ground — a built allegory for the country’s emerging history,” the architects added.