NO99 Straw Theatre (dismantled)

No99 was a temporary theatre made of blocks of straw, built as a part of the program of Tallinn European Capital of Culture 2011. The site of the theatre was on top of former Skoone bastion, one of the best preserved Baroque earthen fortifications in Tallinn. The theatre uses foundations and a staircase of a Soviet Navy summer theatre that had existed on the site from 1940s until beginning of 1990s; the formerly closed area had stayed neglected since the leave of the Soviet troops. In such a historically sensitive context, the Straw Theatre was an attempt to acknowledge and temporarily reactivate the location, test its potential and bring it back to use, doing all this with equally due respect to all historical layers of the site.

The design concept was to create a pure functional container for the performances and events, with minimum spatial program. The main volume is basically a rectangular box with the descending „tail“ housing an extremely small office, café, and gathering spaces. At the same time, the mute volume of black painted straw resembled a piece of art installation itself.
The site is 25800 m2 and the building was 430 m2.

The Straw Theatre was a unique occasion of using straw for a large public building and adjusted to a refined architectural form. As a public building receiving intense media attention due to the European Capital of Culture context, its main role in terms of sustainability thus was to acknowledge the possibilities of straw and promote renewable materials in general. Making sense of existing ruins of a previous structure also stressed sustainable thinking.