August Tammekann, professor of geography at the University of Tartu, purchased the lot for building a single-family house in the new Tähtvere residential district in the spring of 1932. Professor Tammekann was a former student of J. G. Granö and had – through Granö in Turku – met Alvar Aalto, who undertook to design the Tammekann home.
Construction of the Villa Tammekann was begun quickly in the summer of 1932. The depression which had reached Estonia and difficulties with securing building materials complicated the work and, in the end, the building as it was completed in the 1930’s was not fully in accordance with Alvar Aalto’s designs.
The Tammekanns moved into the building while it was still unfinished in 1933. The Second World War altered the fate of Estonia as well as that of the Tammekann family. The family fled Soviet occupation in the summer of 1940 and the Villa Tammekann was nationalized after the war.
The single-family house was converted into a small apartment building typical of the Soviet system, housing at best six to eight households. The renewed independence of Estonia in 1991 also freed the Villa Tammekann – the building being returned to its original owners in 1994.