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Cornerstone laid for new Arvo Pärt Centre

Rendering of the new building.
Rendering of the new building. Source: (Arvo Pärt Centre)

On Monday the cornerstone was laid for the Arvo Pärt Centre’s new building. Architects are Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano of Spanish studio NietoSobejano Arquitectos. Their entry, called “Tabula“, won a competition arranged by the Centre in 2014.

Estonian architects Luhse & Tuhal helped prepare the eventual construction project, which will cover an area of 2,348 square meters on the Centre's current plot in Laulasmaa and also accommodate an archive, a library, a 140-seat chamber hall, an exhibition area, a video hall, and classrooms as well as working space for the Centre’s staff.

Monday’s ceremony took place where the chamber hall will be built. The cornerstone was placed where the stage will be built, and contains a box holding a recent copy of culture paper Sirp, a flash drive with a recording of the first performance of Arvo Pärt’s Tabula rasa, a list of the current staff, and a bronze bell.

Contributions to this time capsule from outside the Centre included what in a press release was described as “a little box of peace and silence” from Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), an Estonian flag and the emblem of the 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival by Minister of Culture Indrek Saar (SDE), a small model of the future building by its architects, and the logo of the construction company.

Arvo Pärt himself laid the cornerstone.

According to the Centre’s Monday press release, the ceremony began with percussion improvisations by Vambola Krigul, partly inspired by Arvo Pärt’s music. The Centre was blessed by the priest Toomas Hirvoja with the congregation choir of the Nõmme Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist singing during the ceremony.

„Creativity requires time, devotion and courage—the new Centre aims to establish an environment conducive to creativity. Today laying the cornerstone for the new Centre we will be a step closer to realising the dream of this environment,“ the Centre’s managing director, Anu Kivilo said.

Architect Enrique Sobejano says about the composer that his music is about silence, beauty, and geometry: “Three concepts that are also essential to architecture. Working with a great artist like Arvo Pärt, his family and team, is one of the most rewarding experiences of our career. It makes us constantly aware of the unexpected deep relationships between the arts.”

The Arvo Pärt Centre’s new building is expected to be completed by May 2018, after which the interior and the exhibition will follow. The plan is to open the new building in autumn next year during the celebrations of the Estonian centenary. The Arvo Pärt Centre’s new building is financed by the Estonian government.

Watch an introductory video about the Centre here:

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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