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Estonian National Museum By DGT. Architects

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Situated in a reappropriated former Soviet military base, Estonian National Museum pays homage to the country’s painful past, cultural history and the revival of national pride.

Occupied by Soviet Union and Third Reich during WWII, with war losses at around 25% of population, Estonia has suffered greatly over the past century. Having regained the independence from the Soviet rule in 1991, the country’s history still defines its identity. Its difficult story is told in the National Museum, located in the city of Tartu. DGT. Architects (Dorell Ghotmeh Tane), who won the tender to design the museum building, challenged the brief by changing the site’s initial location. The choice of a former Soviet base, a physical witness to the country’s difficult history, has a symbolic meaning. What once used to be a base for Estonia’s occupier today houses an institution that celebrates the country’s unique cultural heritage, offering a distinctive space for public gatherings, performance and learning activities.

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All images © Takuji Shimmura