Students from the EAA built a floating relaxation spot in Soomaa  29.09

Students from the Estonian Academy of Arts (EAA) built the rest and relaxation spot “Veetee”, comprised of three floating objects, in Soomaa, for hikers and local residents.

Hannes Praks, Head of the Department of Interior Architecture at the EAA, told BNS that a ten-day international summer school was held in Soomaa, mainly for students of architecture and design, where a rest and relaxation spot and recreational area consisting of three objects floating on the water was designed and constructed for nature hikers and local residents.

The artificial archipelago – consisting of a sauna, a floating fireplace, and a shelter – lost a section during the unveiling, as the sauna proved to be so experimental that it broke into two while being launched into the water and sank,” said Praks. “Beginning this autumn, the fireplace and the shelter, however, will be waiting for visitors and those wanting to try them out in Soomaa, having been placed under the care of RMK as a part of its network of hiking trails, similar to the forest megaphones completed last autumn.”

According to Praks, Veetee is a good example that a structure in nature does not need to be a sweet and romantic fairy house. “A modern, contrasting form blends in with nature even better than fabricated history. The goal of the endeavour was to create floating architecture, taking into account the specifics of the wetlands. Everything that took place was, indeed, wild. As a lecturer, I am particularly happy to see that when constructing the floating house, students were able to experience the specifics of a sinking structure – for many participants, it was an invaluable experience,” he said.

According to architect Aet Ader, Veetee gives something to the environment of Soomaa that was not there before – a public social space on the water. “A floating campfire site and a shelter are like the centre of a very small village or town where people can gather. I hope that people in canoes travelling the rivers and flooded areas will be surprised to find a place to rest and will use it as a place to take some time and relax from what they were doing” said Ader.

The floating object Veetee was created and built in 2016, as part of the ten-day international summer school “5th Season: Wilderness” organised by the Department of Interior Architecture at the EAA and lead by the Finnish architect Sami Rintala, Serbian architect Pavle Stamenovic, and the Estonian architecture firm b210.

Soomaa, where Estonia’s largest bogs and marshes are located and the water level fluctuates constantly, was the source of inspiration to build a structure that could serve different purposes: a shelter, a fireplace or a sauna; meeting the needs of both a traveller and a local, whether they are travelling by land or by boat. Floating on the water enables Veetee to adapt to the ever-changing conditions, especially with the flooding that takes place in the “fifth season”, a few weeks in spring when the landscape changes completely.