Urmo Raus

St John Church of Tartu

Project: Forty stained-glass window designs for the Tartu St. John’s Church, 1998-2001. One prototype window was completed.

Location: Tartu City Center

Object: 14th century Gothic-style brick church

Client: Estonian National Heritage Board

The Tartu St. John’s Church was in ruins for a half-century and its large-dimensioned window openings had survived without partitions.  

In the course of the design project, new contemporary window structures were created which used a system of symbols inherent to the Gothic period. The concept for the windows provided for exterior window glass that duplicated the graphics of the tin frames of medieval stained-glass windows. The glass reliefs on the exteriors of the large windows were designed to project the shadows of historical stained glass designs on the interior colored glass.

The shadows of the stained-glass windows of medieval cathedrals were to provide a contemporary and spiritual background for the original terra cotta sculptures displayed in the church.  

The Tartu St. John’s Church stained-glass window project was awarded the Kristjan Raud Medal in 2002.