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.
The official opening party of the VARES architecture residency will take place on February 24 and 25. The doors will open to everyone on both days from 2pm to 7pm, during which Alastair Howard, VARES’ first resident will present his mechanical inventions. In addition we will give house tours and introduce the residency’s programme and offer traditional sandwiches with Baltic sprats.
Our friends who are coming from further afield can reserve a bed in the house for 10 euros by responding quickly.
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.
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.
In addition, VARES will organise a two-week summer school on the topic of Spatial Activism in the second half of August.
In the first half of the year, architects and artists from Estonia and abroad participate in the main programme:
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.
→ 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Tel: +372 59 010 017
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
Address: Estonia, Tallinn, Trummi 4-26, 12616