Gallery: Official presidential residence to get €17-million makeover

While the presidential election process has not yet found any candidate from the political parties, be it current incumbent Kersti Kaljulaid or anyone else, the official residence of the head of state, in Kadriorg, east of Tallinn city center, is to be extensively redesigned, following a tender award to an architectural office estimated at €16.8 million.

The work is scheduled to be completed in 2024, and will include extensive redesign of the Rose Garden (Roosiaed), most well-known as the venue of the annual Restoration of Independence Day reception, on August 20.

The president's office told ERR Thursday that the project includes a design which, for security reasons, will restrict access in front of the presidential palace, where the parade ground is currently open to the adjacent street.

Spokesperson for the office, Mailin Aasmäe, said: "The building, as an object of national security, falls under the control of the Police and Border Guard Board and, if they find that in order to ensure the safety of the building, its staff and the president, the outdoor front area needs to be restricted somewhat /.../ the fact we are now embarking on a large-scale reconstruction project, including to the Rose Garden, comprises the office of the president and comprises that area, then this in fact gives us the opportunity to sit at the table with all the parties and look at what solution we might find."

The project work is due to finish in January 2023, with the construction work scheduled to end the following year.

Forecasts made by the state real estate agency, the RKAS, in 2020, put the total cost at €16.8 million, ERR reports, including the architectural tender process, design and construction itself, and the temporary rehousing of the office and ancillary staff.

Architectural firm Peeter Pere Arhitektid was awarded the tender, out of a shortlist of five (six designs were submitted).

Riina Aasma, who headed up the panel which decided on whom to grant the contract to, said that brief had been: "Very similar to that received by architect Alar Kotli in the 1930s, for the construction of the president's office building near the historic Kadriorg Palace, with which it was to form a common whole."

Kadriog Palace itself was built 300 years ago on the order of Russian Tsar Peter the Great, and was intended as a seaside retreat for his consort, Catherine I (Kadri being the name in Estonian, while "Org" means valley-ed.).

The Kotli-designed building became the official seat of the head of state, and so had to be slotted in behind it.

Alar Kotli (1904-1963) designed many functionalistic 1930s buildings during the period of the first Estonian Republic, including schoolhouses in Rakvere and in Tapa.

"This time around, two existing buildings had to be taken into account in the design," Riina Aasma added.

Design considerations facing Peeter Pere Arhitektid included the entry conduit for official visitors, as well as staff, and solutions for Rose Garden receptions..

The winning design, "Mirage", was created by Peeter Pere along with Eva Kedelauk, Kirke Päss, Madli Kaljuste and Lidia Zarudnaya, while the office was also awarded a price of €12,000.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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