Interview with architects Raivo Kotov and Andrus Kõresaar, founders and partners of the Estonian office KOKO. For AA, they share their views on the profession, their sources of inspiration as well as their vision of the future.
As a result of their collaboration with the Estonian Pavilion presented at EXPO2000 in Hanover, the two architects founded Tallinn-based office KOKO. Today, the office boasts a staff of 30 employees, includes a design department, and completes projects in Estonia, but also in Germany.
The architects do not hide their taste for rehabilitation and enhancement of Estonian architectural heritage. For “Fahle House”, a housing, office and restaurant building completed in 2007, they restructured an old factory on the outskirts of Tallinn. The project won London Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award in 2007. In 2017, they completed “Ship”, a 9,400-sq. metre office building in Tallinn, and are currently working on a major project in Georgia: a visitor centre with exhibition spaces, near a dam. This building, planned for completion in 2021, was added to the list of the country’s most distinguished cultural heritage sites.
Being an architect means…
Raivo Kotov: To use spatial changes to shape and give meaning
Andrus Kõresaar: Having a feeling and opinion about every empty and filled space
Your ideal commission
RK: To bring old industrial areas back to life
AK: An airport in the air
Your job in 20 years
RK: A lot of reconstructions and sustainable solutions
AK: Different cities, unique approaches
The advice you would give a young architect
RK: Don’t be afraid – to dream or to work
AK: Get your inspiration from everywhere, big things are usually small things in large scale. Don’t be afraid of stupid questions, I am still not.
The architect we should all follow
AK: A colony of termites
The project you would have loved to build
RK: Fondazione Prada in Milan
AK: A high-rise like a termite mound
Your favorite city
AK: NYC and Lagos, two opposites
If your architecture was a movie…
RK: La grande bellezza by Paolo Sorrentino
AK: The Boxtrolls
Your lucky charm object
RK: A horse chestnut – I always have one or two in my pockets
AK: Magnus Chess app
A museum you recommend visiting
RK: Neues Museum in Berlin, Kunsthal in Rotterdam
AK: MOCAA in Capetown, Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn
Your favorite restaurant
RK: Korsten Armastus & Hea Toit in Tallinn
AK: Chef & Sommelier in Helsinki
Your bedside book
RK: One hundred years of solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez
AK: I came back by Karl Õiger and Moomins by Tove Jansson
Private or public commission?
RK: It depends on the project, I don’t have a preference
RK: Measure nine times, cut once [Russian proverb]
AK: Great designs define our time
Another career you’d have liked to pursue
AK: Aviator in French Polynesia
To learn more about KOKO, click here.