TAB 2017 Installation Competition challenges current architectural trends with the winner proposals by Gilles Retsin and a pool of outstanding shortlisted practices

Tallinn Architecture Biennale TAB 2017 is happy to announce Belgian architect Gilles Retsin as the winner of the international TAB Installation Programme open call. The jury selected the winning work from among 16 proposals to build a wooden installation in Tallinn for the biennale in September this year. The winning proposal is characterized by outstanding aesthetic and is intellectually challenging, as it questions current beliefs and trends in architecture, says jury member Martin Tamke (CITA KADK).

Winner Gilles Retsin is the founder of Gilles Retsin Architecture, a young award-winning London based architecture and design practice. The practice has developed numerous provocative proposals for international competitions, and is currently working on a range of schemes, among them a 10000 m2 museum in China. Gilles graduated from the Architectural Association in London and prior to founding his own practice worked in Switzerland as a project architect with Christian Kerez. Alongside his practice, Gilles directs a research cluster at UCL/the Bartlett school of Architecture, and he is also a senior lecturer at the University of East-London. He has been invited professor at the Texas A&M University, and has lectured and acted as guest critic in numerous universities internationally. His work has been acquired by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and he has exhibited internationally in museums such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Vitra Design Museum and the Zaha Hadid Gallery.

The international open two-stage competition challenged participants to develop creative designs for a temporary outdoor installation, making innovative use of the fabrication capacities of the Estonian wooden house manufacturers. The call raised wide international interest, 200 portfolios were submitted for the first round from all over the world. 16 works were selected for the second round by the jury, with final design proposals submitted by February.

Jury member Martin Tamke says it was very satisfying to see that many of the submitted proposals were driven by personal research agendas of the participants: “The TAB competition was a mean to test these in the field. The query for new understandings of tectonics in wood has been an ongoing megatrend, often leaning heavily on digital design and fabrication technologies – an area that is present in academia but has not hit sufficiently the ground of fabricators and constructors. I’m happy that the winning entry is able to synthesize personal inquires with questions of site, material and the underlying topic of TAB 2017.”

TAB Urban Installation Programme curatorial team member, architect Siim Tuksam says Retsin’s proposal stands out because of its outstanding design and the technological innovation it proposes – but also because it takes a strong stand in regards of the future of timber construction, claiming that architectural design and pragmatical consideration could reach a symbiosis instead of a compromise.

Second place in the competition was awarded to Tom Svilans and Paul Poinet (Denmark), the third place to FLOW Architecture (UK) and honorable mentions to both APPAREIL (Spain) and LINKSCALE (UK).

The TAB 2017 Urban Installation Jury members included TAB 2017 curator Claudia Pasquero, computational design and materialization specialist Martin Tamke from CITA KADK, and the head of Estonian Museum of Architecture, Triin Ojari who were supported by Curators of the TAB 2017 Installation Programme, architects Sille Pihlak and Siim Tuksam.

The folly will be built in August 2017 in front of the Estonian Architecture Museum in Tallinn, on an all-grass, slightly elevated area. The structure will stay there for up to 23 months – until the next Biennale. Participants were asked to use local sustainable material – timber – and winners have a chance to co-produce it with local timber industry and make use of local industrial CNC capabilities.

Images and press materials:

Programme curators:
Sille Pihlak, Siim Tuksam ( PART )

Triin Männik
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