Andres Tennus

Renovation of three heritage buildings was completed over the recent six months

In the first half of this year, renovation was completed on the Old Anatomical Theatre (Uppsala 10), the garden house in the University of Tartu Botanical Garden (Lai 40) and the Astronomer’s House (Uppsala 6) next to the observatory. As a result, these buildings of great cultural value received a fresh look and energy-efficient solutions.

The buildings were renovated because they were in poor condition and depreciated in value. The Astronomer’s House and the building in the botanical garden underwent a complete overhaul: the roofs were reconstructed, new energy-efficient utility systems were installed, and the interior and exterior of the buildings were renovated. In the Old Anatomical Theatre, the interior and the utility systems were renovated, and new floors on load-bearing steel beams were built in a part of the building. Also, LED lighting was provided in the buildings and thermal insulation was added to floors and roofs to increase energy efficiency. The facades were not insulated due to heritage conservation requirements.

At the beginning of 2024, the IT Office, Youth Academy and the IT staff of the Institute of Genomics moved to their premises in the Old Anatomical Theatre. In the newly renovated premises at Lai 40, the Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden are going to organise nature poetry evenings and educational programmes and plan to open a café. The university’s Human Resources Office moved to the Astronomer’s House in June.

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The Old Anatomical Theatre, the workplace of many famous 19th-century doctors and scientists, was designed by Johann Wilhelm Krause and built on the southern slope of Toome Hill on the site of the Swedish-era bastion of Karl X Gustaf in 1805. Originally a classicist rotunda, semicircular wings were added to the building according to Krause’s design between 1825 and 1827. The anatomical theatre got its present look with the last significant extensions in 1856–1860.

The building at Uppsala 6, completed in 1821, is called the Astronomer’s House, or Struve House, as its first occupant was Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, and several other famous astronomers lived there after him. The Struve House is part of Tartu Old Observatory, and its renovation in 2024 is a symbolic gift to Tartu, the European Capital of Culture.

The university acquired the pillared garden house in the botanical garden in 1806 when it started establishing the botanical garden on its present site. The university’s architect, Krause, converted the building, previously used as stables, into the living quarters of the botanical garden’s director. The botanical cabinet started operating in the building, and an attic was built in the second half of the 19th century.

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