Incoming heritage chief deems it insensible to renovate Linnahall structure

Tallinn's Linnahall.
Tallinn's Linnahall. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

While Tallinn has shelved the Linnahall development project for now, the plan of turning it into a conference center remains. Incoming Director of the National Heritage Board Liisa Pakosta does not deem it sensible to renovate the building as a cultural monument of national significance.

Tallinn city government recently decided to postpone the planned competition to find new investors for the Linnahall renovation project at least until the coming fall.

"Based on the situation on the construction market, not just in Estonia but the whole of Europe, and the instability this causes for investors, it makes no sense to declare a competition that could easily fail or yield results that would not constitute sensible use of public funds," Tallinn Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm said.

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart has said that recent studies show the Linnahall building complex is not dangerous. The Linnahall building is one of two major projects the capital is planning. The other is the major Tallinn Hospital to be constructed in Lasnamäe.

"Because the Tallinn Hospital is a priority for us, we are trying to find additional resources for the project that could include sums currently earmarked in the budget strategy for the Linnahall renovation," the mayor said.

Kõlvart does not believe the imposing building could be demolished. "Based on our information, the official position of the National Heritage Board is that renovation is the only possible solution and there is no talk of demolition today," Kõlvart said.

However, Liisa Pakosta, set to take over as the board's director from July 1, does not deem it sensible to renovate the building's structure using taxpayer money.

"If a building's structure has been erected so hurriedly and sloppily that it is becoming unstable /…/ to which we can add the fact that the building, even though remarkable architecturally (whereas the architect has suggested changing and updating it in the past) was built to serve as a landmark of Soviet propaganda, I would ask whether we really need to preserve it as part of national cultural heritage, knowing that its use would require the building structure to be renovated," Pakosta said.

She emphasized that the final decision will be made by the board's panel of experts.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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