Estonia will get a new important meetings venue with the completion of the €18-million renovation of the Knighthood building complex in two years' time.
The Knighthood (Rüütelkonna) Building on Toompea Hill will be used to host important official events, such as meetings between the president, Riigikogu, prime minister and other ministers, as well as receptions. Major representative events," adviser to the Government Office Gert Uiboaed said.
The building will also hold a major press center, which Estonian institutions currently lack.
"The buildings hosting our constitutional institutions have been in use for a very long time and have not been renovated in that time. For example, Stenbock House (seat of the Estonian government – ed.) has been in use for 22 consecutive years without undergoing repairs, and its technical systems are in need of modernization. We have plans for putting the PM and government up in the Knighthood Building for the duration of the Stenbock renovation," Uiboaed remarked.
The Knighthood Building's interior concept recounts the formation and development of Estonian statehood through the history of institutions that it has housed.
"For example, the foreign minister's office will be restored as it was when Estonia's foreign minister last worked out of the building. Or the Estonian Statehood Hall, which will also include elements that were added in 1923 for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the Government Office representative said.
"Talking about the Statehood Hall, the oak lambrequin and pillars have survived, while it does not have the original chandeliers. We will not be attempting to make copies of the chandeliers based on images, and will install new lighting in the room. But the Land Council (Maapäev) Hall still has the chandelier from when the annex that houses it was built in 1849. They will remain there just as they were 150 years ago."
The interior design of the Knighthood Building was handled by Pille Lausmäe Interior Architects.
The Knighthood buildings complex (Kiriku plats 1, Kohtu tn 1, Toom-Rüütli tn 2) reconstruction and renovation work should be completed by May of 2024. The work is estimated to cost €17,603,382.
The plot belonged to the Knighthood of Estonia since 1652, while the original buildings burned down (including the former Knighthood Building at Rahukohtu tn 3) in the Toompea fire of 1684. The new two-story renaissance revival building was constructed based on the designs of St. Petersburg architect Georg Winterhalter in 1845-1848. The building housed the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1920-1940 and the National Library in 1948-1992. An exhibition by the Estonian Art Museum opened in the Knighthood Building in 1993. The free arts department of the Estonian Academy of Arts used the building 2009-2016. It has stood empty since then.
Editor: Mari Peegel, Marcus Turovski