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The Estonian Centre for Architecture launches the Curatorial Competition for the 6th international Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB 2021).

Tallinn Architecture Biennale is an international architecture festival which will take place in Tallinn from September to November 2021, and addresses relevant issues in architecture, delving into the present and the future of the field. 

The event will consist of a main programme including a Curatorial Exhibition, a two-day architectural Symposium and the Tallinn Vision Competition, led by the Head Curator; and a Satellite Programme encompassing exhibitions, lectures, installations, film projections and other events spread around the city, curated by different coordinators.

TAB’s general goals are to:

  • popularise a quality built environment
  • internationalise Estonian architecture – by offering an international platform for architecture
  • present new ways of thinking and creating a new vision in architecture

Participation & Eligibility

Questions may be submitted in Estonian or English; competition entries must be submitted in both Estonian and English. The deadline for developing the concept of the biennale and submitting the corresponding draft in writing is on 29 May 2020 4PM Estonian time + 2GMT. Competition entries must be submitted digitally at [email protected] The first meeting of the jury will take place on June 10, 2020. The Stage II meeting will be held on June 17, 2020.

The competition may not be entered by the chairman, members, back-up members and experts of the jury, or the individuals who have been involved in drafting the terms and conditions of the competition, those who have participated in the preparation of the competition and those who are clearly in a privileged position due to the preparation and organisation of the competition and/or who could influence the decisions of the jury.

The following are also not allowed to enter the competition: close relatives (spouses, partners, direct relatives, siblings) of the above mentioned individuals, as well as business partners related to the chairman and members of the jury, who are shareholders of a company operating in the same field of activity.

Competition entries must be written in Estonian and English and must include:

  • The title for the 2021 Tallinn Architecture Biennale in Estonian and English;
  • A summary synopsis (up to 300 characters);
  • The subject of the curatorial exhibition (up to 5,000 characters);
  • A list of exhibitors and symposium participants, of which at least 50% must overlap;
  • The theme for the two-day symposium;
  • The subject for the Tallinn Vision Competition;
  • The concept for the catalogue content;
  • The list of team members and/or co-curators, the distribution of roles within the team and CVs. Each event at the biennale has to be assigned to a responsible person, including the editor of the catalogue. The names of the head curator(s) responsible for the work of the curatorial team and concluding the curation contract with ECA must be indicated.

Competition Objectives

The task of the curator is to set up an innovative and responsive theme related to the context of Estonia and relevant in the contemporary world of architecture. It is important that the chosen subject has the potential to cross the international news threshold and raise interest in a wider cultural audience. The underlying topics should address issues that may become trending in the field of architecture. The main theme must be centred around architecture and/or urban planning.

In addition to setting the theme, the tasks of the head curator include curating three events that form the core of TAB:

  • Curating the CURATORIAL EXHIBITION. At the curatorial exhibition, at least half of the exhibits must be produced specifically for TAB 2021. At least one-third of the participants must be local architects practising in Estonia. The minimum number of works exhibited is 9.
  • Curating a two-day architectural SYMPOSIUM with presentations by architects invited to the curatorial exhibition. The symposium unpacks the background to the original works presented at the curatorial exhibition with the aim of linking different events into an integral whole and introducing the curatorial theme to a wider audience. At least one-third of the symposium presenters must be local.
  • Curating the TALLINN VISION COMPETITION in collaboration with the Tallinn City Planning Department, and curating the exhibition of the selected works.

The locations of the exhibitions and symposium will be confirmed at a later stage in cooperation with the head curator.

In addition to the above, the tasks of the head curator include:

  • Compiling a catalogue accompanying the events of TAB, which will be completed by the opening week of TAB and will serve as a guide for visitors to the biennale to understand the events taking place throughout TAB. The function of the catalogue is to provide an overview of most of the TAB events and locations. If the curatorial team does not include a professional editor, a competent editor must be involved in the preparation of the catalogue.
  • If necessary, participate in introducing TAB in Estonia and abroad, before and after TAB 2021.
  • Engaging in negotiations with the supporters of TAB, if needed.

Assessment of Entries & Assessment Criteria

Entries submitted will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • relevance of the theme;
  • compliance of the project to the competition conditions;
  • feasibility of implementing the curator’s vision;
  • team’s experience, capability and professionalism.

Award Fund

  • 1st prize: €2,000
  • 2nd prize x 2: €1,000 (each)
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