Rising construction costs stalled development of several cultural landmarks

Winning architectural design for the proposed new ERR TV house (orientation: North at top right hand corner of image).
Winning architectural design for the proposed new ERR TV house (orientation: North at top right hand corner of image). Source: Kadarik Tüür Arhitektid

Both state and local authorities are struggling to complete the development of numerous cultural facilities due to soaring construction costs. The extension of the Tartu City Museum (Tartu Linnamuuseum) has been postponed and it is unlikely that a shared art museum repository project and a new TV house for Estonian Public Broadcasting will be finished on schedule.

Four important cultural buildings are currently on the Ministry of Culture's agenda: the renovation of Estonia's National Library in Tallinn (Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu), the construction of ERR's new TV house, the completion of common pan-museum storage facilities and the renovation of the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery (Tallinna Kunstihoone).

The National Library building is now receiving renovation, but no decisions have yet been made regarding the remaining three projects.

The Minister of Culture Piret Hartman said that no decisions have been taken on the real estate listed in the state budget negotiations, and that they may be postponed until the next year.

"I am presently unable to anticipate how the ERR project will evolve or when we will be able to begin with it," she said.

"We need more resources for the so-called price-updating, and we need them by 2024, therefore I hope that the government will take action about the National Library next year, as no decision has been made regarding it so far," Hartman added.

Hartman confirmed that the design of the common storage facilities will commence the following year. One storage facility will be located in Hiiumaa, one in the north, and one in the south of Estonia. The Ministry of Culture will endeavor to complete this phase on its own dime and with its own resources, though government assistance will be required during the construction phase. Hartman said that the renovation of the Tallinn Art Hall will be delayed for several years.

"Also on this subject, I am hopeful that we will reach an agreement with the government next year. However, I should emphasize that making any further commitments at this time is extremely difficult."

National football halls are also unlikely to be completed by the end of the year due to rising construction costs.

By the end of 2022, 12 football halls were to be built across Estonia. The state will contribute €1.5 million to the construction of each of these halls, but due to rising prices, this will not be enough for local governments.

"The decision has not been changed and the state continues to fund the construction of each hall that costs €1.5 million. The problem is that many municipal governments did not complete construction before prices began to rise," Hartman explained.

"Of course, the Ministry of Culture asked the government to assist local governments, but we were unable to reach an agreement," the minister added.

The extension of the Tartu City Museum is not going to be completed by 2024 as a result of hiking building costs.

Tartu Deputy Mayor Priit Humal explained that the extension will be completed, but that the funds are being used now on other projects, such as the renovation and construction of school buildings:

"The City Museum is not expecting to receive any further money during the four-year financial strategy period. At the end of this four year period, the Downtown Cultural Center (SÜKU) in the heart of Tartu will be built, and it is unrealistic to complete the City Museum at the same time."


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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