National Library of Estonia
June 13–16

Sunday June 17 2018

  • 09.00–15.00
    Rural Modernism: Soviet Collective Farm Settlements and Leisure Architecture

    From the 1950s–1980s, several hundred cooperative farms — kolkhozes and sokvkhozes — were built across Estonia, introducing an urban-like lifestyle to the countryside. This was enabled by large-scale collective agricultural production that turned out to be a rather successful industry in Estonia. There was more money available for developing wealthy collective farms than in the cities, which boosted a kind of architectural competitiveness between different collective farms from the 1960s onwards. As a result, Estonian collective farm architecture developed into a unique phenomenon in the former USSR with outstanding administrative buildings and modern dwellings, including Scandinavian-influenced row-houses and private houses for the technocratic elite in which life took on an almost petit-bourgeois form. The tour visits well-preserved examples of collective farm settlements near Tallinn, like the Kurtna Experimental Poultry Farm (1965–1966) and the settlement of the Agricultural Research Institute in Saku, as well as the building of the Rapla Collective Farm Construction Office (built 1971–77). The second part of the tour focuses on leisure buildings — company holiday homes and summer cottage cooperatives — in coastal areas where a certain amount of architectural exceptionalism was permitted.