Iiris Tähti Toom
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Thirty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this project revisits the burdened landscapes that outlived the oppressive regime. Using Estonia’s largest and latest panel housing district of Lasnamäe to narrate the nation’s change from socialist to post-socialist, the thesis delves into processes of domestic memory, material culture and the changing delineations of the public-private dichotomy. Through an architectural ontology of Soviet panel housing, the project seeks to revise their depiction as anachronistic curiosities or cultural deadweight, instead highlighting their role as sites of cultural production and contestation. With the district rapidly reaching the end of its structural lifespan, the design questions what shape its redevelopment — and the resultant masses of construction waste — are to take. As existing landscapes are mined for future resources, Lasnamäe’s limestone plateau and recycled Plattenbau are fused to form more culturally and climatically sensitive models for the redevelopment of lacking community infrastructure.