From a Soviet era techno-structure to a modern tourist attraction

Tallinn, Estonia
Client: Levira
Invited architecture competition: 2009, 1st prize
Completed: 2012
Size: 10,000 m2

The Tallinn TV tower is the highest building in Estonia. It was constructed between 1975–1980 for the Moscow Olympic Games sailing regatta held in Tallinn as a part of a large building programme undertaken before the event, and which also produced structures like Linnahall, the post office in the city centre, Pirita Olympic Sailing Centre and many others. A few years later, the TV Tower, located in the pine forests of Pirita, became a symbol of Estonia’s regained independence when local activists held it against Soviet soldiers. The tower, boasting the most spectacular viewing platform in the city, and from which even the coast of Finland is visible in clear weather, was closed to the public in 2007, as it could no longer comply with the fire safety regulations.

In 2009, KOKO architects won the competition for the renovation of the tower – it was to once again become popular among sightseers. In the past, it had mostly been the restaurant floor of the tower that had been open to the public, but the new design set out to create a complex centre of entertainment and leisure. One of the most significant changes envisioned by KOKO was redesigning the entrance area. The old canopy and pools were replaced by a modern entrance with slanted surfaces, which also starts the exhibition showcasing the history of Tallinn TV Tower.

In the interior of the tower, both the lower floors as well as the upper restaurant and exhibition floors were redesigned. The interior design is inspired by the techno-aesthetic of the 1960s and 1970s. The modern colour and lighting solutions and the special designs for the furnishings create an air of being in a time capsule.

When it comes to the restaurant floor, the design focuses on the comfort of the guests and allows them to fully enjoy the views. On the upper floor of the exhibition visitors can individually interact with robots with touch screens and motion sensors.
KOKO architects has converted the Tallinn TV Tower from a Soviet era techno-structure into a modern entertainment centre. The restaurant, cinema and the exhibition spaces invite visitors to spend a stimulating and enjoyable day in the TV tower while taking in the spectacular views of Tallinn.

Text: Carl-Dag Lige