In spring 1932 August Tammekann, an Estonian professor of geography, commissioned Aalto to draw up a plan for a small private house. For financial reasons the house was never completed according to Aalto’s plans. Due to Estonian building regulations and primitive insulation techniques, the walls were made thicker than planned, with the result that the rooms and corridors became smaller than intended. Aalto’s original flat-roofed design was a strictly Rationalist forerunner of his later private house designs: a mere touch of softening wood surfaces here and there contrasts with the white plaster walls and a fairly closed room disposition. The most original feature is the placing of the open fireplace inside the external wall under the strip window of the living room.

The original owner family had to leave Estonia in 1940, and the house became a multi-family house until the 1990s. Several interior walls and a pitched roof was built when the original flat roof began to leak.

Today the house is owned by The Turku University Foundation. It was completely renovated during 1999–2000 following the original plans by Alvar Aalto. Alteration and repair plans were by Iivanainen & Mustonen Architects. Villa Tammekann is now  the Granö Centre of the universities of Turku and Tartu.

The Turku University Foundation has received the Europa Nostra Prize for the excellent reconstruction and restoration.

Location

F. R. Kreutzwaldi 6, Tartu, Estonia
58.38452541, 26.70484811

Images

Street façade in 2000, Villa Tammekann
Street façade in 2000, Villa Tammekann (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Museum)
Street façade in 2000, Villa Tammekann
Street façade in 2000, Villa Tammekann (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Museum)
Perspective drawing of the living room by Alvar Aalto, Villa Tammekann
Perspective drawing of the living room by Alvar Aalto, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Northeast elevation, Villa Tammekann
Northeast elevation, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Southwest elevation, Villa Tammekann
Southwest elevation, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Southeast elevation, Villa Tammekann
Southeast elevation, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Northwest elevation, Villa Tammekann
Northwest elevation, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Ground floor, Villa Tammekann
Ground floor, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
1st floor, Villa Tammekann
1st floor, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
1st floor, Villa Tammekann
1st floor, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Site plan, Villa Tammekann
Site plan, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Alvar Aalto's sketch, Villa Tammekann
Alvar Aalto's sketch, Villa Tammekann (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Scale model, Villa Tammekann
Scale model, Villa Tammekann (© Museum of Estonian Architecture )
Detail of railing, Villa Tammekann
Detail of railing, Villa Tammekann (© Museum of Estonian Architecture )
Villa Tammekann
Villa Tammekann (© Museum of Estonian Architecture )

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