The Young Architect Prize was awarded to alumni of the Estonian Academy of Arts

Young Architect Award goes to the architects of KOKO, Raivo Kotov and Andrus Kõresaar, alumni of the Estonian Academy of Arts

On 12th of February at the General Assembly of Estonian Association of Architects held at the KUMU art museum President Toomas Hendrik Ilves announced the recipients of the Young Architect Award: Raivo Kotov and Andrus Kõresaar of the architectural bureau KOKO. The work of Toomas Paaver in shaping the local architectural scene was also highlighted with a special prize of the Estonian Association of Architects.

“The award, serving as encouragement for young architects, is meant to recognise both our great architectural heritage as well as the strong architectural education. It is an award to creativity and free, courageous thinking,” tells president Toomas Hendrik Ilves. “Just as today’s nominees, all the recipients so far have always been eager to express their opinion and speak up. In addition to the courage to create, an architect needs to have the courage and strength to stand behind their ideas and creations. Who else than you knows that your work is like an everyday piece of public education, meant to bring contemporary solutions to the people.”

“The YAA is a great recognition in the area of architecture especially as it is not centred around a single object or building, but serves as an acknowledgement to our whole young team. It is a very important stimulus for an architect to know that their work is valued,” said Raivo Kotov, recipient of the Young Architect Award.

“As in our daily work we are often faced with a situation of limited resources and options, the better it makes us feel when the work and ideas realised gain some attention. We are grateful for this recognition,” said the recipient Andrus Kõresaar.

“KOKO’s works are striking yet tasteful and loved equally by both critics and clients, which is not as usual as one would assume. With them it is apparent right away that, regardless of them being young architects, they have achieved a lot,” assured Heldur Meerits,amember of the jury. “Estonian architecture is going to remain viable when there is young talent. Still, talent needs a place to be seen and recognised – which is why the Young Architect Award competition was started. Among other things, our aim is to widen the perspective of young architects, which is why the prize – in addition to honour and fame – includes an opportunity to travel and see how different ideas are used around the world.

In case of KOKO’s architects Raivo Kotov and Andrus Kõresaar the jury emphasised their creativity, stability and result-orientedness. KOKO has mainly became known with complicated reconstruction projects. Their best known works include the Fahle building, Rotermanni Lumber Workshop, the Seaplane Harbour, NUKU Museum, the Great Guild Hall, Metro Plaza, Tallinn TV Tower, Tallinn Synagogue, Georg Ots Spa hotel, etc. In 2013 the architects of KOKO received the highest European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award for the restoration of the Seaplane Harbour hangars.

A non-monetary special award was also given out at the General Assembly of the Estonian Association of Architects. This was awarded to Toomas Paaver who has, according to the jury, as a versatile practising architect invested a lot of attention to the coherence and the atmosphere of the public spaces as well as quality issues important for locals. With his work he has been able to influence the development of the space being created significantly more than through single projects.

The Estonian Association of Architects also awarded their honorary medals to the following recipients:

Priit Kajari – best commissioner of architecture. He led the completion of a modern residential building group in Lõvi Park in Tallinn.

Rein Grünbach – art teacher at Viljandi Jakobsoni Gümnaasium, who has sparked a deeper interest in architecture and art among many of his students.

Eeva Mägi – sworn advocate who has helped the Union stand for the interests of architects in Estonia.

Ilmar Heinsoo ja Heili Volberg-Raig – best colleagues.
It is already the sixth year of issuing the Young Architect Award. The award is given to an innovative architect under 40 years of age who is operating in Estonia and whose work has contributed to making Estonian architecture known in the world. The Young Architect Award competition is held by the Estonian Association of Architects in cooperation with Heldur Meerits and Go Travel, who are awarding the winner €5,000 of travel allowance to a destination of their choice.
(Press release from

Additional information:

Tõnu Laigu, EAA, jury member

Raivo Kotov, KOKO
Tel.: 5036392

Andrus Kõresaar, KOKO
Mobile 56461700