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Villa Tammekann – The Home of Two Universities

​ICONIC HOUSES is an international network connecting architecturally significant houses from the 20th century that are open to the public as house museum. The platform also focuses on conservation, management, policy and cooperation.

Villa Tammekann is owned by the Turku University Foundation and it is located in an idyllic garden district of Tartu, Estonia. A shared Granö centre of the University of Turku and the University of Tartu operates in the facilities.

Alvar Aalto, a celebrated Finnish architect, designed the house as a residence for Professor August Tammekann and his family in 1932. The style of Villa Tammekann, like Aalto’s other designs, has been influenced by austere Central European modernism.

– Villa Tammekann has been completely restored following Aalto’s original design. The renovation was completed in 2000, tells CEO of the Turku University Foundation, Pekka Kanervisto.

The Centre of Science and Culture

Villa Tammekann serves primarily as a base for cooperation between the University of Turku and the University of Tartu. Its facilities can be used by the staff and students of both universities for work and study purposes.

– The centre has facilities for accommodation, seminars and recreation. Meetings, conferences and gatherings are hosted in the beautiful settings. Visitors can also relax in the sauna, says Kanervisto.

The Granö centre of the foundation and the two universities has been named  after the former Rector of the University of Turku and Professor of geography of the University of Tartu J. G. Granö, , who contributed greatly to the promotion of Finnish-Estonian university cooperation.

Vigorous collaboration has been continued in his spirit.

A good example is the Granö visiting lecture series, which has been going on for nearly ten years. The experts of the University of Turku visit the twin city and tell the public about the latest research results and their operations in Villa Tammekann. Granö lectures are organised by the Finnish Institute, Estonia.

Furthermore , the centre is ideal for researchers who need some peace and quiet. In the serene and pleasant atmosphere, many books have been written and publications completed. The Turku University Foundation grants several scholarships annually for this purpose.

– The Turku University Foundation grants Granö scholarships, which enable staying and working in an inspiring environment, for the researchers and teachers of the University of Turku, tells Kanervisto.

Along with the Granö lectures also evening gatherings are arranged at the Villa Tammekann. Colleagues and partners in cooperation gathered together for the reception of Professor Marja-Liisa Honkasalo’s lecture ”Culture, Health, and the Human Condition” in September, 2013.

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Text: Henna Borisoff
Photographs: Kalle Ipatti, Kimi Kärki and A. Visnapuu