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VARES is an international interdisciplinary residency for spatial practice, whose main task is to seek, find and create alternative spatial practices that are not based on market logic, but rather on the desire to create spaces and places that enrich everyday life, empower the local community and town of Valga.

We are interested in finding ways to practice slow architecture, critically rethinking the discipline of architecture, learning and resurrecting vernacular and traditional crafts, gathering old and used materials and creating a place for lifelong learning for architects and spatial artists. VARES is a part of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 main programme.


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VARES Architecture Residency
Uus 35, 68203
Valga, Estonia

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Present

COMPETITION: URBAN STREAMS

Competition has started! On April 15-22, we will hold a competition to collect ideas for the daylighting of Valga’s Pepper stream. See more and submit your proposals here by April 22 !

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Below is a small gallery from a summery Monday, when, as a part of the competition programme, we went on a stream tracking expedition with local fifth graders.

EVENT: SPRING EXHIBITION

On the 27th and 28th of April we will open the VARES spring exhibition, where Ola Lewczyk, Ben Weir and the artist duo DE JENS showcase their work done during the residency. The works are material, sensuous and community focused interventions that are shown in VARES house and around the town of Valga.

Facebook event

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MEET THE RESIDENT: BEN WEIR

Ben Weir is an architect from Northern Ireland, Belfast. He works within the discipline of architecture, denouncing  the notion of the architect as a neutral service provider. He draws, writes, researches and builds to uncover hidden spatial and material potentials.

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MEET THE RESIDENT: DE JENZ

The artist duo DE JENZ is based on a remote island with 10 inhabitants, situated among the western-most archipelago on the Norwegian coast. There they explore critical interfaces with the coastal environment and engage in collaborations between the local community and international artist that reflect the potential of not making a distinction between culture and nature – to create a more symbiotic, rather than exploitative, way of understanding the world around us.

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MEET THE RESIDENT: OLA LEWCZYK

Ola Lewczyk is a maker who’s practice focuses on craft, material research and locality. She works primarily with clay, beeswax and collected natural materials. She works and understands things through touch, being drawn to slow, repetitive processes. Influenced by slavic folklore and fluidity of things, she continuously moves between the grounding and the intangible.

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Past

EXHIBITION: SOFT CREATURES

Exhibition by Laura Pint

Soft creatures’ series started from a desire for a more exciting form of softness in everyday space. The idea was born from the fabric surplus of the furniture industry, which was looking for a new use.

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EVENT: SOFT & SHRINKING

VARES opens its doors on Saturday, March 30, and invites everyone to participate in the diverse programme!

Schedule:
14:00 Opening of Laura Pint’s exhibition
15:00 Presentation of Anni Saviaro’s research on shrinking cities
16:00 Opinion journey on climate-sustainable construction and urban planning

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RESULTS! POSSIBLE FUTURES OF LINNAHALL

The three winning works of the Linnahall idea competition have been selected!

From February 19 to 26, a 7-day international idea competition on possible futures of Linnahall took place. Everyone interested in urban space and architectural heritage was welcomed to speculate on the future of Tallinn’s mythical amphibian – Linnahall. The competition received 47 submissions. Thank you to all the participants!

The names of the prize winning entries are: Uusvana, Linnakivi “One and one, it is one – it is not two.”, Linnahall as Center for Culture, Sports and Music

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MEET THE RESIDENT: ANNI SAVIARO

Anni Saviaro is a Finnish architect whose PhD research studies shrinking context within the field of urban planning focusing on growth dependency and justification of urban planning.

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MEET THE RESIDENT: LAURA PINT

Laura Pint is an architect who currently works in the Peeter Pere Architects office. She has graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts architecture and city planning department. Besides her main work, she likes to work with her hands and experiment with different media. Be it building furniture, sewing or leather work.

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EXHIBITION: ROTHOUND

On February 24, the opening party of VARES took place, the highlight of which was the exhibition of the very first resident, Alastair Howard. Read the text of the exhibition, the main character of which is a character peeled from the wall:

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EVENT: OPENING PARTY

On February 24, we officially opened the VARES residency. Alastair introduced his exhibition, we made Baltic sprat sandwiches, watched the President’s speech, hosted guests. When decorating the cake, we were inspired by the mud and snow melting under the first rays of the sun.

AUTUMN-WINTER RESIDENTS 2024

Approximately 40 residents with 17 residency projects will participate in the VARES residency programme in 2024. Here we will introduce the autumn-winter residents:

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Space Nursing intervention in Sheffield, Kelham Island. August 2023. Photographer: Lukas Jusas

COMPETITION: POSSIBLE FUTURES OF LINNAHALL

The idea competition “Possible futures of Linnahall” has began!

The short 7-day international vision competition invites everyone interested in urban space to participate and speculate on the future of Tallinn’s mythical amphibian, Linnahall.

The competition task and the base materials can be found on the online platform Tandeems.
The competition work consisting of 1-3 pictures and text must be submitted there by February 26.

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SPRING-SUMMER RESIDENTS 2024

Approximately 40 residents with 17 residency projects will participate in the VARES residency programme in 2024. They were selected as a result of two open calls at the end of last year.

The residents of the first half of the year are:

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Image by Jinseok Choi. White Cube, 2012, Abandoned furniture and objects from an old elementary school building

VARES’ FIRST RESIDENT

We welcome our very first resident, Alastair Howard!

Alastair is an architectural designer from Manchester, UK. Having worked at architecture and engineering firms in New York and London, his practice is aimed at breaking out of the professional silos that constitute the production of our built environment. Most recently he has worked with scenic craftspeople at the Royal Opera House, designing and managing the build of Opera and Ballet sets. He likes to study the histories behind a building’s conception, construction, appearance, and use.

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CALL FOR RESIDENCY 2024 – RESIDENTS CONFIRMED!

→ CALL IS CLOSED AND RESIDENTS CONFIRMED
→ Residency period: 1–2 months during February–December 2024
→ Individuals & collectives from different disciplines
→ Funded residency + travel support
→ Applications were open until November 20, 2023

How do we act as architects in a world where spatial practices are driven by market logic? Where building new is preferred over repairing the existing? Where standardised architecture and design is overproduced while unique and regional vernacular techniques are disappearing? Could it be that the standardisation of ways of making and their concentration only in the hands of specialists manifests itself over time in the spaces around us and in the lives that are lived there, losing the unexpected, original and strange?

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NOVEMBER WORKSHOP

In the first days of November, architecture students of the 1st year of Estonian Academy of Arts settled in VARES for an introduction to the Shelter course. Shelters are projects made during the first year of architecture studies – experiments with space, form and material on the scale of the human body. Since this year decaying building heritage is treated as a potential building material, the introduction also included field work in abandoned buildings: exploring around, observations with both eyes and hands, including peeking inside the walls and floors, reflections and making conclusions. 

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CALL: SKETCHY MATERIAL WASTELAND – RESIDENTS CONFIRMED!

Until October 10th 2023, VARES held an open call for a 2-month funded group residency dedicated to the sketchy materials used in homes and offices around us. Looking at the short life cycle of MDF, OSB and other particle boards used in fast fashion architecture and furniture design, we invite artists, architects and other cultural practitioners to rebuild or destroy the reputation of the simple particle board.

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AUGUST SESSIONS

In summer 2023, we sent out a call to our colleagues, friends and acquaintances to take part in the activities to adapt the house located at Uus 35 in Valga into a residency and a meeting place for spatial artists. The sessions were spread over two weeks in August: 31.07.–6.08. and 21.–27.08.

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WORKSHOP: SELF-EDUCATIONAL SPACE

In spring 2023, we tutored the 2nd year interior architecture students of the Estonian Academy of Arts in their semester studio, “Educational Space”. This course focused on hands-on and conceptual expression skills and searched for the possibilities and forms of the “self-educational space” through research, activities, experiments, documentation, reading, formulating and thinking.

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HOUSE-STORY

VARES architecture residency is located in a school house built in 1936, which has been used as a boarding school for girls and, lately, an adult distance learning high school.

The residency now has comfortable corners for living, yet the building itself is left raw and open for the residing artists to work on and in. 

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RESIDENCY F.A.Q.

Q: What is the residency programme of VARES going to look like? Who should apply?

A: The aim of Valga Architecture Residency or VARES is to host residents, seminars and workshops dealing with spatial practices. The two storey residency building will slowly be transformed into a house museum, a collection of experiments, spatial interventions and ideas left behind by the residents living there.

We welcome international and interdisciplinary residents and guests who wish to experiment with circular materials and handicraft methods, engage with the unique geopolitical position of Valga, do some thematic mental exercises and contribute to creating inspiring alternative spatial experiences for oneself as well as the community.

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ABOUT US

ESTONIAN SOCIETY FOR YOUNG ARCHITECTURE

VARES leading organization

The society’s goals are to give an input to the quality of Estonian architecture, spatial culture and education. We aim to give additional value and involve various disciplines to the educational landscape of architecture. We take part in discussions regarding our surroundings and we try to build a network to bring different discplines more together. To achieve these goals, we have initiated an architecture oriented residency building in Valga, Estonia.

Our statute can be found here: Põhikiri 2022

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PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS

CONTACT

Tel: +372 59 010 017
E-mail: info@vares.space
Instagram: @vares.space
Facebook: vares.space
Newsletter: Subscribe here

VARES Valga Architecture Residency
Uus 35, 68203, Valga, Estonia

NGO Estonian Association of Young Architecture

Registry code: 80131176
IBAN: EE627700771002664511 AS LHV Pank BIC/SWIFT: LHVBEE22
VAT: EE102269396
Address: Estonia, Tallinn, Trummi 4-26, 12616

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