An Exhibit on Estonian Architects in Toronto

September 6, 2017

Tartu CollegeVEMU has been working to prepare an exhibit about architects in Toronto with Estonian backgrounds in collaboration with the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn since 2015. The exhibit will celebrate both Canada's 150th and Estonia's 100th birthdays. The exhibit will be on display in Tallinn at the Museum of Estonian Architecture in 2018. The Compatriots Program and MISA assisted in the financial support of this collaborative project.

The curator and keeper of collections at the Museum of Estonian Architecture, Jarmo Kauge has visited Toronto three times to research the lives and architectural heritage in their new homeland of architects that emigrated to Canada after the Second World War. The exhibit is a summary of the research, demonstrating the surprising influence Estonian-born architects had on the spread of modern architecture in Toronto and across Canada. The exhibit focuses first and foremost on the older generation of architects, those whose work and activity at universities have left a strong mark on Toronto's cityscape, as well as on the quality of architectural education.

The work of Estonian architects in Canada has not been thoroughly researched until now. The most recent overview of the Estonian-born architectural community in Canada was published in 1994 in the book “Profiles”, which gave a detailed overview of the life and work of 43 architects. Information about the lives and works of architects who had successful careers in Estonia and left during the war, studying in Europe, but only beginning their practical careers in their new homeland, is very limited. Big name architects such as Elmar Tampõld or Uno Prii (educated at the University of Toronto), are not well-known in Estonia; therefore, this exhibit is a good opportunity to introduce them and other shining individuals, as well as their remarkable creations to the Estonian audience.

Friday, September 22nd at 11am, an English language symposium will be held at Tartu College, followed by the opening of the exhibit Building a Community: Estonian Architects in Post-War Toronto. Architectural historians and publicists from both Canada and Estonia will be speaking. In addition to the curator of the exhibit, Jarmo Kauge, speakers include the academic, architectural historian, and Rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts, professor Mart Kalm, the architect Graeme Stewart, who worked on restoring Uno Prii's buildings, the journalist with architectural interests, Alfred Holden, and the architect Thomas Tampõld. 

Saturday, September 23rd at 3pm, Professor Mart Kalm will be giving the Dr. Vello Soots Memorial Lecture on the topic: Ehitatud Eesti. Majad identiteedi kujundajana (Constructed Estonia. Houses as the Shapers of Identity). The lecture will be in Estonian and followed by a reception to celebrate Tartu College's 47th anniversary.

More detailed information about the events: 

Jarmo Kauge
Piret Noorhani