- About Kumu
- Learn and Explore
- Kumu Auditorium
The Kumu Art Museum (Kumu) is a structure with symbolic meaning: it is the fulfilment of Estonians' dream of having their own art museum. The Kumu building has a round floor plan and this has been sensitively reconciled with a complicated environment. Since its completion, it has received unanimous accolades.
The 25,000-m2 museum has an atrium that rises up through the building and seven floors, of which two are underground. The museum can accommodate more than 400 visitors at a time.
The repositories are located on the underground floors of the building, where the majority of the Art Museum of Estonia's 60,000 exhibits are stored. Art is displayed on the three above-ground floors. Approximately a thousand works of art can be displayed on each floor.
The author of the architectural project for the Kumu building is the Finnish architect Pekka Juhani Vapaavuori (b. 1962), who won the international architectural competition held in 1993–1994 with his project "Circulos". The project was chosen unanimously by the international panel from the 233 projects submitted by architects from ten different countries. Along with a spacious atrium, Vapaavuori gave the building a circular shape, which alludes to the name of this project. The building is successfully positioned in the limestone slope of Lasnamäe Hill, and therefore, despite its size, is in harmony with the intimacy of the ancient Kadriorg Park. The repositories and technical floors are located on two floors below ground. The architect used such materials as dolomite, wood and copper, which are related to local natural traditions. Technically, the building conforms to all the requirements of a modern museum building. In the building, optimal climatic conditions for the conservation and exposition of works of art are ensured, and good preconditions have been created for the functioning of the museum's various structural units.
Kumu's architecture has three meanings, which are not only important for the museum, but also for the shaping of the environment by appreciating and being responsive to it. Firstly, during the time of Peter the Great, the park was not completed. It was supposed to have ended at the place where Kumu is now located. This was the border of the city – of one cultural area. As a sign within a larger structure, the choice of the location is extremely important, because in its second meaning, Kumu does not end something, but rather continues and connects the old developed city with a new area. Thirdly, Kumu's architectural form is timeless. A sphere, a curved figure is always connected with eternity, with something that has irresistible force. A circle gathers and radiates energy, and it was due to the architect's talent that a museum building that has greater meaning than just being a modern or contemporary structure was designed. The building's architecture provides an extremely balanced exterior form and interior design.
Conceptually, the Kumu building is divided into public and private space. The public space includes the atrium, with ticket counters, coat checks, a shop and café, as well as exhibition halls, an auditorium, conference halls, studios for educational activities and a library. Everything that makes the activities in the public space possible takes place in the private space.
You can enter Kumu from two sides.
When you enter from Kadriorg Park, you arrive on the first floor of the building, with its 260- m² foyer, coat check and the Kumu café, which continues on the second floor. A summer café that seats 100 is also located near the park-side entrance.
On the first floor, you will also find the auditorium, which supports the museum's basic function as an intermediary between art and culture. The auditorium seats 246 and is equipped with sound, video, film and lighting systems, and a stage that can be easily adapted for different uses.
When approaching Kumu from the Lasnamäe side, through the pedestrian tunnel and inner courtyard, you arrive in the second-floor foyer, where visitors' services begin. In the spacious atrium (totalling 675 m²), you will find the museum information desk and ticket counter, shop, coat check and meeting rooms. From here, there is direct access to the Kumu educational centre and library.
In the educational centre, art education programmes based on the Kumu exhibitions are conducted for children, teens and adults; lectures, art studios and workshops also take place here. The participants can study under the guidance of professional artists and art teachers, and they have the use of a ceramics studio, graphics studio, general studio and an auditorium.
The specialised library in Kumu is intended to serve all art lovers.
An exhibition hall is also located on the second floor of the museum, where large expositions are organised of Estonian and international art from various periods. Art projects and concerts take place in the museum's large inner courtyard, and works from the Art Museum of Estonia's sculpture collection are also displayed there.
The space in the exhibition halls on the third, fourth and fifth floors is divided between permanent exhibitions and rotating exhibitions. The permanent exposition is divided in two parts. The exposition on the third floor includes the history of Estonian art from the 18th century to World War II; on the fourth floor, the art created during the Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1980 is on display. The three halls in the B wing of this floor are reserved for rotating exhibitions of the art of this period from the museum's collection and elsewhere. The contemporary art gallery is located on the fifth floor of the museum, where rotating exhibitions of modern art are presented – rotating exhibitions because the assessments and expectations related to the dynamic modern art process, for which we lack sufficient historical distance, also change constantly.
The museum's closed zone on the above-ground floors is primarily comprised of the offices for the Art Museum of Estonia and Kumu employees, as well as the Art Museum of Estonia's Conservation Department.
The works of art and stocks are stored, and the preparatory work for exhibitions is done, on the underground floors.
Kumu in numbers
Area under the building 6,430 m²
Area of the lot 36,206 m²
Floors 2 + 5
Gross area of the building 23,910 m²
Net area of the building 20,970 m²
Technical cellar 2,810 m²
Cubic space in the building 123,200 m³
Number of rooms 350
Number of parking spaces 107 + 6 buses
Car tunnel 120 m
Pedestrian tunnel 83 m
Exhibition space 5,000 m²
Repository space 1,700 m²
Workrooms and workshops 1,100 m²
Visitor's service space 2,500 m²
Administrative space 650 m²
Library, archive 370 m²
Museum educational centre 260 m²
Restoration workshop 550 m²