Arvo Pärt Centre
Architect: Henning Larsen Architects
Status: Competition (2014)
Clasification: Honour mention
Visualizer: Studio
Scale: 2.070 ㎡ Medium
Types: Cultural, Cultural center, Music school

The architectural concept is based on three volumes rising like large rocks in the forest bed. In between the volumes a playful journey of spaces unfolds like a fairytale as the users move through the building.

The trinity represents the clear structure of Arvo Pärts music. It contains private spaces for reflections and concentration as well as public spaces encouraging playfulness and creativity. 

The three volumes are carefully positioned according to interior daylight requirements and to the various views offered by the site location. The scale of the volumes reflects the required functional program and is divided horizontally with public activities on the ground floor and the private functions on the first floor.

There are two central spaces: The main foyer and the archive and library atrium. The main foyer is embraced by a large glass courtyard giving the sense that you are still outside. The archive and library atrium is covered by warm, wooden panels connecting the two floors vertically.

Main public and academic rooms such as auditorium, café, library and classroom prolong from the foyer spaces with large floor-to-ceiling sliding or pivoting doors to increase room sizes and allow flexible usage.

The Arvo Pärt archive is a living archive and not a static storage. The central storage of the archive is located as a magic box inside the center of the largest volume directly above the library. The archive storage can be viewed from the atrium below on guided tours. The workrooms related to the archive are located on the first floor around the archive with visual connection to the more public library foyer and with a direct stair to the library.

The library is located under the main archive workplaces with easy access to the main foyer. One side of the library has direct access to the reading rooms and a corner of the library is furnished with a fireplace for more informal reading and with the opportunity to clear the floor and have small lectures of up to 30 persons. Each of the main volumes has a large skylight located above the main spaces. The skylights bring daylight deep into the building as a contrast the panoramic wall openings and allow views of the tree canopies outside. The archive is reached by foot walking through the forest from the carpark in the south. Natural paths lead the visitors towards the main building entrance. In order to maintain the picturesque atmosphere of the Laulasmaa area the Arvo Pärt Centre has been designed as a series of smaller volumes similar in scale to the existing built structures in the area.


The building structures are based on an energy consumption of approx. 100 kWh/m². Electrical installations such as lights and ventilation are need-based and adjusted automatically. The design scheme allows zone division, which reduces the energy consumption according to the usage of the house.

Considering the building location in a relatively cold area with no sufficient sunlight to heat up the building, the main structures will have a low U-value and minimum amount of façade openings to decrease the overall energy consumption.


The design proposes locally produced materials only. Local traditions has inspired to the following overall materials: Clay brick, concrete, wood, steel and glass. Furthermore materials with a high performance and a low toxicity have been chosen and the amount of materials has been minimized.

Competition: Arvo Pärdi Keskuse | Team: Anne Marie Galmstrup, Hani Fakhani, Aren Semerci, Sebnem Oral, Nesrin Kirmaci, Lasse Westergaard, Ayse Buldurur, Pietro Terzini | Consultant: Acoustics (Arup) | Post date: 10/07/2014 | Views: 4.910