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Recycling Socialism

Tallinn Architecture Biennale Vision Competition 2013

Väike-Õismäe, which translates as Little Blossom Hill, is the name of an iconic circular block-housing district in Tallinn, Estonia – built for a society that never was. 

This concrete illustration of the socialist ideal is the main focus of this year’s Tallinn Architecture Biennale Vision Competition 2013, its chosen topic that of “Recycling Socialism”. Organised by the Estonian Architecture Centre, the competition is a call to all architects and related practitioners to help sort out the relationship problems both between the environment and modern day living, and socialist architecture and today’s society - in order for all to live happily ever after. 

In order to put the spark back into this relationship (and be in with a chance to win a first prize of 5,000 Euros), entrants need to present a detailed architectural solution that includes a proposal for upcycling Väike-Õismäe to accommodate contemporary life, whilst contemplating these key questions: “How can a modernist totality be renanimated into an enjoyable living environment? Can the Väike-Õismäe Plan be recycled? What is the central value of the space’s existing environment? How can one keep living in Väike-Õismäe?” 

As fuel for inspiration, check out the 1985 video below, which presents a vision of almost utopian happiness, populated mainly by women and dancing children, with men confined to shopping. 

“Recycling Socialism” is also the topic of this year’s Tallinn Architecture Biennale which takes place September 4–8 2013. This is only the second installment of the biennale in the Estonian capital, but it has already established a strong organisational structure and programme that focuses on four main elements: a central exhibition, an international symposium, an exhibition by architecture schools and this “Vision Competition”.

The jury for the competition includes Bjarke Ingels (BIG), Endrik Mand (City of Tallinn), Inga Raukas (Alianess Arhitektid) Deadline for entries is April 30th, 2013 and the winner will be announced in May.

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