Treasury of the University of Tartu Museum
Lossi 25, Tartu, Estonia
University of Tartu Museum
Architecture and interior architecture
LUMIA and studio ARGUS
Margit Aule and Margit Argus
2013 - Annual Interior Architecture Award 2012 of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia
6 July 2012 was the opening day of the Treasury of the University of Tartu Museum, a special area accommodating an exhibition of the most valuable historical assets of the university. On display are rarities that speak of the idea and spirit of the university and that had been shown to the public on only a few occasions or even never before.
The exhibition is housed in the ruins of a medieval Tartu Cathedral that have been partially converted into an indoor space by the addition of ceilings in the middle of the 20th century. As a consequence, the pointed arches in the room are medieval but the ceiling and floor are modern. The resulting low room was boldly lowered even more by the architects by adding a suspended ceiling. The design aims at creating the atmosphere of a treasure chamber: by means of the golden suspended ceiling and the display cases, the rooms have been transformed into mysterious, cosy chambers full of finds, providing an environment for the university’s treasures, highlighting their specialness and being as dignified as the exhibited items.
The exhibits have been placed into display cases suspended from the ceiling, which evokes a light feeling of floating in the room. The golden ceiling is seconded by the black walls and the dim, mystical lighting solution. The floors are decorated with thematic graphics: quotes from scientists related to the University of Tartu in typefaces characteristic of the respective periods.
The technical part of the unique ceiling solution was worked out and realised by Kaarel Narro; the display cases were realised by John Berger Eesti, and the graphic design was produced by Polaar Studio.