Skip to main content

Architectural Residency Vares

Through reusing and rediscovering, the uniqueness of South Estonia is highlighted and people learn to value the existing space. The architectural residency VARES (crow in English) in Valga emphasises the valorisation of space and meaningful sustainable spatial creation, thus highlighting the local distinctiveness of both the city and South Estonia more broadly.


VARES is an international interdisciplinary residency for spatial practice, whose main task is to seek, find and create alternative spatial practices that are not based on market logic, but rather on the desire to create spaces and places that enrich everyday life, empower the local community and town of Valga.


The residency is interested in finding ways to practice slow architecture, critically rethinking the discipline of architecture, learning and resurrecting vernacular and traditional crafts, gathering old and used materials and creating a place for lifelong learning for architects and spatial artists. VARES is a part of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 main programme.


VARES presents an opportunity for spatial creators – whether they are artists, architects, construction masters, biologists, anthropologists, theorists or anything else – to take time out and focus on durability, which is often not possible in everyday practice. By reassessing, collecting, experimenting, building and maintaining, new ways of creating space sustainably can be found.

With delicate and sparing approach to materials and reuse as an indisputable starting point, we also encourage residents to explore various topics of their own interest, vast or small – from reinventing everyday routines, domestic spaces or objects with an imaginative angle to it, to research-based urban explorations or speculative utopianism and societal critique.


The residency will focus on fostering manual skills and experiments in spatial design. In 2024, VARES will host a variety of creative people, who will end their residency with a work or event.

In the workshops and winter/summer school taking place in 2024, those interested will be able to learn forgotten and locally specific techniques to make efficient use of available resources. In a world of limited opportunities, this is an increasingly valuable skill!

The residency and the town of Valga will become the stage and testing ground for the artists’ projects. The VARES building, a two-storey house that for the past hundred years has been used as a school, will transform into a “House Museum” that will embody the ideas, amusing inventions and theories proposed, researched and built in the residency.


In active collaboration with local and international spatial design experts, local authorities and the public, we will rethink the space of South Estonia and look for more sustainable solutions to promote the region. We will also strengthen architectural cooperation in the Baltics and with the Nordic countries.