Iconic Tallinn sauna building may see redevelopment

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Plans for the Kalma spa hotel. Source: M. Pressi Arhitektuuribüroo

An iconic Tallinn sauna complex may be extended, with tentative plans to build an adjacent hotel.

The site at Vana-Kalamaja 9A, home of the Kalma Saun, is subject to a planning application for a four-storey building (see image), which will be used as a hotel.

The original Kalma Saun building will also be refurbished, according to the plan, issued by company TTP.

TTP spokesperson Rainis Nagel told ERR Thursday the application was largely speculative.

He said: "We are at ground zero right now. The issue is on the shelf. We'll let you know if we start physically dealing with it. Right now, it's just on paper, nothing definite. We have a million-and-one things going on and this is certainly not our priority."

That said, an architectural design concept has already been drawn up by Meelis Press architects' firm.

While somewhat dilapidated, the Kalma Saun building, built in 1928, is under heritage protection, which means renovation and development is subject to limits. These include any adjacent buildings being confined to no taller than the existing building, and the mandatory preservation of a red brick chimney at the building's rear.

Tallinn city's planning board has a heritage protection department dedicated to such issues.

The proposed development would also have a small parking lot accessible from Vana-Kalamaja street. TTP also wants a change to the registered land use for the plot, transferring it to commercial use, according to its application.

The Kalma Saun building incorporates neo-classical art deco elements characteristic of its era. It was designed by architect Aleksandr Vladovski (1875-1950).

A sketch plan (in Estonian) is downloadable as a pdf here for those interested.

Kalma Saun itself is open to the public, subject to coronavirus restrictions.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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