Repurposing the past


  • Tüüne-Kristin Vaikla Estonian Academy ofArts



Site specific, Designers/architects, Interior design


A target positioned in the space formerly occupied by the altar gave soldiers the opportunity to establish a shooting range in Paluku?la Church, while the church’s thick limestone walls created a secure depository for a gas company’s storage rooms (or was it the other way around?).
After the Second World War, the pragmatic reuse of church buildings in Estonia, such as this one, brought these kinds of surprising change in function.The spatial environment of the church’s surroundings itself bears information concerning various different strata of the location’s history.

This visual essay presents a site-specific exhibition project that addressed this metamorphosis of space through the housing of new functions and an aim to find new methods for designers/architects in the repurposing process.The abandoned Paluku?la Church on the small island of Hiiumaa in Estonia, used by military forces during the Soviet regime, became a laboratory – a test site – to experiment with a repurposing of the past through heightening spatial emotions to invoke different values.

The project, titled Housewarming, took place from July to August in 2013 and created the momentary impression that there was life once again in the church. The exhibition was a chance for local community and others to experience, perceive and confront the transformation of the church while thinking about issues to do with repurposing buildings as a process that inevitably increases or decreases cultural values.


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How to Cite

Vaikla Tüüne-Kristin. 2014. “Repurposing the past”. Idea Journal 14 (1):14-27.



Visual Essay