Planning committee

Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Year: 2005

Status: Urban analysis, Concept design

Size: 20,205 m² (total)

Program: Office, Institutional

Project team: Alver Architects (Andres Alver, Tarmo Laht, Ulla Mets, Sven Koppel, Indrek Rünkla), Tiit Trummal


Location within the city
The lot is located in downtown Tallinn, adjacent to an intersection of major transit arteries – Liivalaia St, Suur- Ameerika St and Pärnu St. To the north, the lot is bordering the National Library grounds with its main building and park; to the west there is an empty field, currently occupied by a run-down sports field.

Urban analysis
The area is defined by it’s perimeter block housing typology. Within this homogeneous environment, stand two “islands”: the park of the National Library, and the ascribed lot, containing the existing building of the Ministry of Finance flanked by a park on one side, and the void of the disused sport field on the other. The void could be given purpose by acting as the continuation of the Library park.

The area’s western edge has already started to be developed – a process that has a potential to frame the future park extension, and needs to be finished. The building of the Ministry is a local visual dominant and should remain such.

If the development of the western edge of the area is to be finished, the building of the Ministry will need to be modernized and expanded as well, along with the voids surrounding it, in order to tie the whole area together into a conceptually clear ensemble.

Development analysis
The existing building block housing the Ministry of Finance needs to be preserved and refurbished, reinstating its importance as a prime example of 70-s architecture. However, it would probably not be possible to preserve its lower horizontal slab in its entirety. Given the downtown location of the lot, the best option for parking would be to submerge it underground, both underneath the new development and the existing park to the east of the Ministry.

Proposed building
The new building is designed to serve as a backdrop to the existing 70-s building, with the two together forming an ensemble of a soloist and a back vocal. The outside language of the new building needs to be calm with complexity possible inside, explored through the building’s inner organisation and architecture. A goal in itself for the new volume is to keep it as thin as possible (apx. 13-14 m). The reception area of the new building faces Suur-Ameerika St., with parking entry facing Väike-Ameerika St. The garage has a capacity to accommodate apx. 92 – 115 vehicles. A lower “hall” complex connects the existing base of the Ministry of Finance to the new wing, and helps form a unified base for the vertical accents. The new building contains two vertical cores connected by a corridor, with the rest of the space enabling an open office plan.