Viljandi Hospital

International Competition. First Prize.
Viljandi, (Estonia)

este es el baKpak del edificio

One of the unique qualities of the city of Viljandi, besides its lakes, is the small scale of the buildings that constitute the center of the old city. Walking through its streets is equivalent to traveling through time through the history of Estonian architecture.

The plot chosen for the construction of the hospital is strategically located in relation to the communication routes, since it is located at the intersection of the two most important streets of the city.

But on the other hand, this search for centrality requires locating the hospital inside a plot adjacent to the limit of the heritage zone of the old city, and within the protection zone.

Architecture must respond not only to functional conditions, but also to patrimonial, historical and cultural aspects. Viljandi Hospital must represent its city in all aspects, that is why our project aims to bring together all those concepts that describe this city in a specific and unique proposal.

The main idea of ​​the project is to adapt the building to the scales of the buildings that make up the city blocks. In order to do this, we skyp from the idea of ​​a large building and look for an architecture that is composed of smaller volumes. With this concept we will not manage to generate a discontinuity with the urban fabric and on the other hand it will help us to create a hospital that does not look like a “hospital” in its traditional meaning.

In order to adapt the extensive functional program to this new scale of building we have distributed this program in 4 volumes of different size and height.

These volumes slide between themselves, adapting to the irregularities of the plot and creating, with cantilivers and setbacks, the necessary accesses to the different departments.

This set of volumes that looks out over the city with differing heights is covered mainly with wooden slats that control the interior lighting and provide the building with a warm image and generates a strong connection with the constructive traditions of the city’s architecture.

What we want to achieve with our proposal is to turn it into a meeting place, a place where the atriums and waiting areas are more similar to a socio-cultural center where a multitude of activities related to health and exercise can be produced, inviting with our architectural proposal a healthy way of life.


- Patrimonial area of ​​the Old City

- Protection area

Here we can appreciate the maximum volume out of scale that is allowed to build this inside the plot. It is a complex plot, with existing buildings and with the limit of the old heritage city tangent in its southern part. In addition, the whole plot is included within the protection zone. We believe that it is not enough to only reduce the height of the volume on Turu Street, but to really adapt coherently to the place, we must fragment the entire volume into pieces of smaller scale more in line with the neighboring buildings.


- Contest area

-Limit of occupation of the building

-Structural / functional modulation

We have tried to make the building as low as possible. We fragment the maximum volume into 4 pieces of smaller size. We started with a modulation to establish the size of the pieces. In this way it is endowed with the maximum flexibility inside the hospital, allowing to change uses without problems in the whole building. The pieces are adapted to the context, placing the lower ones towards the old city with two floors and with three floors towards Carl Robert Jakobson street. the central piece is the highest and is located in the center of the block, not affecting its scale to the views from the streets.


-A / rehabilitation + operating rooms + rooms + facilities + helicopter

-B / admission + external consultations + administration

-C / health center

-D / emergencies + laboratories


Hospitals are buildings with very complex programs, they are with like miniature cities. We have organized the program in 4 autonomous packages with their independent accesses, although internally from any input you can go to the rest of the programs. This autonomy of each piece makes it easy for users to understand the hospital program. These compact parts are very good in aspects of sustainability since the building will work much better energetically and if consumption will be less. We were worried about the visual impact of the helicopter landing strip, so we adapted one of the pieces to its size, so it is integrated into the architecture.


- Carving of vertical gardens

- Carving of the public space

This type of buildings has an intensive use almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Many people of all types visit hospitals daily. Due to this reason, it is necessary that the access points and entry points are comfortable and generous. Next to our plot there is a building located a few meters from the hospital. To solve this problem of discontinuity in the public space, we generate setbacks on the ground floor, thus expanding this space. In addition, these covered spaces help to protect visitors from the sun, rain or snow. On the other hand, we carve the whole building with patios full of plants that are located next to the waiting rooms, creating pleasant and relaxed spaces.


-1 / play area for children

-2 / outdoor exercise area

-3 / relaxation area

-4 / photovoltaic panels

The traditional architecture of Viljandi is the starting point when it comes to designing the skin of our new hospital. In our building, tradition and technology go hand in hand in a highly insulating façade. This wooden skin connects with the history of the city. In addition, the use of this material makes the image of “cold and boring hospital” become the image of a “warm and friendly hospital”. We have designed the public space as a green wall between the hospital and the parking lot, with areas of benchs, fountains and gardens. In addition, the terraces are used for recreational purposes since these are directly related to the rooms and oriented to the south.



Project: Viljandi Hospital.


Stage: International Competition. First Prize.

Location: Viljandi, (Estonia).

Area: – m2

Budget: – €

Architects: Bakpak Architects Bakpak Architects + DAGOpen + Planho Consutores