TAB 2019

SoomeenHahm Design, Igor Pantic, Fologram


Huts and Habitats

In the past decade, the pavilion has become a kind of staple for architects experimenting with new technologies, spatial experiences or formal languages. But can we think about small-scale architectural installations beyond the pavilion or the folly? A good example could be the 19th century notion of the “primitive hut”, the search of architects like Marc-Antoine Laugier and Gottfried Semper for a first, original architecture. The TAB Installation Programme Competition invites emerging architects and designers to design a modern day primitive hut, an opportunity to research fundamental aspects of architecture: its tectonic system and related production chain with its social consequences, but also aspects of living, dwelling and ultimately, of course, it’s digestion by the public. The installation is small, but the thoughts behind it can be inversely proportional.


The jury selected Steampunk by SoomeenHahm Design, Igor Pantic, Fologram to be the winner of TAB 2019 Installation Programme.

The result is a proposal for a pavilion made of steam-bent timber elements, using analog tools augmented with the precision of mixed reality environments. It explores an adaptive design and fabrication system that is resilient to wide tolerances in material behavior and fabrication accuracy, occupying a fuzzy in-between that is neither purely analog nor purely automated. Steampunk explores a path to rethink applications and traditions of craft in pursuit of their evolution.   

The installation will be built in August 2019 in the lively pedestrian green area facing the Museum of Estonian Architecture and it will open to the public during TAB 2019 Opening Week on September 11th, 2019.

Second prize winners are Déborah López, Hadin Charbel and Patrick Donbeck (Thailand) with their project Expired Beauty and third prize winners Plethora Project – José Sanchez (USA) with the project Combonest.



The open two-staged TAB 2019 Installation Programme Competition raised a wide international interest with 137 portfolios being submitted for the first round from all over the world, showcasing an internationally strong emerging architectural talent. Curator Gilles Retsin, the jury and organizing team is glad to announce the 12 teams that have been selected to proceed to the second stage of TAB 2019 Installation Programme Competition.

The teams and architects selected to participate
in the 2nd round of the competition are:

CITA, str.ucture (Denmark/Germany)
Déborah López, Hadin Charbel, Patrick Donbeck (Thailand)
 Ephemeral Research (Japan/Chile)
Grimshaw (UK)
Manuel Jimenez Garcia (UK)
Rehm, Ishida and Lutz (USA)
Raul Kalvo (Estonia)
Plethora Project – Jose Sanchez (USA)
SET Architects (Italy)
SomePeople (USA)
SoomeenHahm Design Ltd (SD), Igor Pantic and Fologram

All entries qualified for the second stage will be published and exhibited at TAB 2019. The winner will have a 15 000 € budget to build a temporary outdoor installation, making innovative use of the fabrication capacities of the Estonian wooden house industry.


The site for the Installation Programme Competition is the area in front of the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn city centre.


The TAB Installation Programme Competition asks participants to design and build a modern day wooden “primitive hut”, an installation that researches fundamental, primordial notions of construction, tectonics and dwelling. Download the Installation Programme Competition Brief and the Competition Site Documentation.


1st stage portfolio submission deadline is on the 2nd of November 12:00 PM Estonian time. 2nd stage digital submissions and models must be received by 12:00 PM Estonian time on the 30th of January 2019. The winner will be announced in February 2019.


Philippe Block Professor at ETH Zurich, Director of Block Research Group (BRG) and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Digital Fabrication

Areti Markopoulou Academic Director of Institute of Advanced Architecture IAAC, Barcelona

Mihkel Tüür Architect and co-founder of KTA, Estonia

Advisers: Gilles Retsin, Programme Director Bartlett B-Pro AD, Director of Gilles Retsin Architecture

Dr Yael Reisner, Head Curator TAB 2019, UK

Sille Pihlak, co-founder of PART, TAB 2017 Installation Programme curator

Eve Arpo and Maria Kristiin Peterson, Tallinn Architecture Biennale Producers, Estonian Centre for Architecture


1st prize 15 000 € budget for construction

All the qualified II stage proposals will be will be exhibited as part of TAB 2019.


Questions to be submitted via email to by 15 October 2018 Q&A can be found here.

“Beauty Matters: The Resurgence of Beauty” is the topic for the next Tallinn Architecture Biennale – TAB 2019. The winning proposal was selected from the international curatorial call for the 5th installment of the biggest architecture event in the region. The selected head curator is Dr Yael Reisner, a registered architect in Israel, who works and lives in London (Yael Reisner Studio). Her proposal focuses on the subject of how beauty matters again, reflecting on a cultural shift, after nearly eighty years of dormancy, as beauty was a tabooed, denigrated subject. Curators‘ assistants roles in the TAB curatorial team has been appointed to architect Liina Soosaar (Tallinn), who has recently graduated from Architecture and Urban Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts and architect Barnaby Gunning (London), from Principal, Barnaby Gunning Studio Ltd, London.

Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB) is an international architecture and urban-planning festival with a diverse programme that promotes architectural culture. TAB encourages synergy between Estonian and foreign architects as well as between architects and the general public by way of creating contacts and exchanging ideas. TAB core programme consists of five main events – Curatorial Exhibition, Symposium and Tallinn Vision Competition that are all curated by TAB Head Curator, then International Architecture Schools’ Exhibition and Installation Programme (IP). TAB main Programme is accompanied by a diverse Satellite Programme, that consists exhibitions, lectures, installations, architectural film programme and other events, all over Tallinn that are related to TAB. Tallinn Architecture Biennale is organised by the Estonian Centre for Architecture.

TAB 2019 will take place from September 11 – November 3, 2019 (Opening Week September 11–15)


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