Viljandi Order Castle
Viljandi Castle Ruins, Viljandi, Estonia
159 600 m²
Viljandi Town Government
Margit Argus, Eliise Harjak, Kristo Põlluaas, Mirjam Vaht, Artur Ümar
Architecture Competition in 2023
Embarking on a journey through history, the story begins with Viljandi Castle, an impressive stronghold that traces its roots back to the 13th century. Its foundation, initiated by Grand Master Volquin in 1224, forms the backdrop for a celebration of its rich heritage with a contemporary twist. The amalgamation of Corten steel and ancient stonework beckons visitors to embark on a captivating odyssey across time. As part of a competition aimed at crafting a comprehensive spatial solution for the visitor environment of the Order Castle in Viljandi, this design showcases a harmonious blend of history and innovation.
Kaevumägi, the heart of the former stone castle, showcases remnants of grandeur. The design pays homage to its history by restoring monumental walls and introducing elegant pathways. Echoing the remnants of history, a space emerges where visitors connect with the past while savoring breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
The stage at Kaevumägi embodies the essence of the historic assembly hall. Suspended in the air by steel rods, the intricate design of the stage pays tribute to the original vaulted architecture. With seating for 700 attendees, the space stands ready to host events year-round, presenting concerts and performances against a backdrop steeped in history.
The design ingeniously blends historical ruins with interactive elements. Following the pathways, visitors traverse steel grid pathways, absorbing monumental contours of the past. This unique experience, infused with infographics and audio guides, bridges the present with the rich history of Viljandi Castle.
From the Castle’s youngest explorers to history enthusiasts of all generations, the design accommodates everyone. Playful elements like slides and picnic areas seamlessly blend with the historical fabric of the site, ensuring an engaging experience for visitors of all ages.
As the sun sets, the castle’s remains come alive through strategically placed LED projectors. Corten lanterns hover over the stage, concealing projectors while casting a warm, inviting glow. Preservation of the past converges with a vision for the future in this breathtaking display.
Understanding the importance of preserving the natural environment, the design minimizes tree removal, while materials like Corten steel underscore sustainability. Harmoniously integrating modern elements, a timeless narrative unfolds — one that respects and celebrates history and its surroundings.
Understanding the importance of preserving the natural environment, the design minimizes tree removal, while materials like Corten steel underscore sustainability. Harmoniously integrating modern elements, a timeless narrative unfolds—one that respects and celebrates history and its surroundings.