The focus when designing this high-quality development in the Estonian city of Tartu was to reap the full benefit of its exceptional riverside location. The plot is a former urban industrial site, a city peninsular overlooking the spectacular landscape of a natural reserve.
The concept devised by Atelier Thomas Pucher includes two different kinds of block: six riverside towers that form a ‘string of beads’ along the riverbank, and three ‘city slabs’ oriented towards the city. The open space enclosed between these two rows creates a small green plaza, ideal for community interaction and for children’s play.
The river towers themselves can be described as ‘stacked villas’. This design combines all of the economic and ecological advantages of living in an urban apartment house with the benefits of a suburban single-family house: its spaciousness, flexibility, stand-alone privacy, its setting and views, and the sense of private property. Construction and maintenance costs are however much lower, and families in particular can enjoy the maintained garden and thriving community location.
The structure of these ‘stacked villas’ is cleverly zoned for optimum flexibility: a core inner ring contains structural elements and all of the load bearing supports, while the outer ring accommodates bedrooms, living rooms and other ‘joker’ rooms that can be easily reshuffled or merged to suit the owners’ wishes. Large terraces open onto the river and stunning countryside, yet are designed to be entirely private from neighbours.