The competition for the new Art Museum of Estonia (KUnstiMUseum, or KUMU for short) began in 1994, in the golden age of West European museum construction. In a Europe where national borders had become blurred, cities competed with one another for mediagenic public works projects. Compared with this superstar architecture, KUMU is definitely in a different class. Pekka Vapaavuori's architecture represents a kind of modernism founded on tradition, not sensation. Rammed right into a limestone bank, the complex appears to be circular, with the building itself forming only a small section. Most of the building is of Estonian limestone, the other two dominant fašade materials being patinated copper and milky glass. Via the gigantic forecourt of zigzagging ramps, KUMU is reached only after a long and gradual descent. This unhurried atmosphere continues inside the building, where the metaphor of a circle turned in on itself is perfect and cloistered isolation from the world is realized.