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Open Air Museum Seeks to Make Eterniit Eternal

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Estonian Open Air Museum is associated more with thatched roofs and log huts, but also plans to build a kolkhoz-style apartment building to represent the Soviet era. To fill the space in the interim, the museum announced a competition for a monument to a classic Soviet-era construction material - an asbestos cement roofing panel known as eterniit.

"For over half a century our buildings have been covered and protected by the 'ugly' material called 'eterniit.' Now a common sight, easy to install, available, durable and blending in with the landscape, the grey corrugated panel has kept thousands of buildings from decay," said Estonian Open Air Museum research director Heiki Pärdi.

"The competition is open to all who have imaginative ideas, basic drafting skills and feel that the topic speaks to them," the museum said in a statement "The monument should be easy to build, easy to relocate and if possible, embody a recycling ethos."

The monument can be made of any material, but should be able to withstand the elements. The sample measurements are 2 m x 2 m.

The deadline is September 1. Winners will be asked to produce scale models for display at Telliskivi Creative Hub on September 20-22. The grand prize is 200 euros.

The roofing panel used in Estonia and other parts of the former Soviet Union is non-friable, meaning the asbestos fibers are safely encased in cement and don't become airborne in normal handling. The specific type of asbestos fiber is also not the most dangerous of the varieties. But eterniit is still considered a hazardous material, subject to being disposed of at the relevant sites.

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