Pärnu Environmental Education Centre


Pärnu city government


1900 m2 (building) and 11 500 m2 (garden)


2006, 3rd prize (shared)





Competition team

Maarja Kask, Karli Luik, Ralf Lõoke

Design team

Maarja Kask, Karli Luik, Ralf Lõoke, Helin Kukk, Andro Mänd, Helen Rebane, Margus Tamm

Pärnu Environmental Education Centre was designed to be a green oasis in middle of Pärnu’s eclectic urban environment. Thus, Salto’s design combines the building and the garden into an integral unit in dialogue with its surroundings. The altogether design concept aims to create openness and fluidity of the space to the maximum extent and to offer unexpected architectural experiences similar to the ones in nature. Therefore, there is a hovering planetarium above the atrium. The expositions, lobby and winter garden are all intertwined and visually linked by a greenhouse.

For the environmental education centre, it was essential to find an energy efficient architectural solution. Thus, the building’s orientation, open inner structure and partially underground location all support a sustainable indoor climate. At the same time, the architects sought for ways to express characteristics of both natural as well as laboratory environments.