Tallinn's Linnahall, a former concert venue, has risen to the forefront of public debate over the last week after the Ministry of Culture announced plans to turn the currently unused building into an opera and concert hall. The building is closed to the public, so an ERR.ee photographer went to investigate.
Linnahall, originally named the V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport, was built for the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics when the sailing events were hosted in Estonia.
The building was designed by Raine Karp and Riina Altmäe, the interior architects were Ülo Sirp and Mariann Hakk. According to Siim Raie, Director of the National Heritage Board, the city hall is an excellent example of 20th century modernism.
Inside there is an ice hall and a concert hall which closed in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The City of Tallinn, the owner of Linnahall, has looked for investors to renovate since then, but no work has been carried out so far.
The City of Tallinn has announced plans to turn Linnahall into an international conference center which would be built inside Linnahall as part of the existing ice hall.
But last week Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas's announced plans to create an opera and concert hall inside Linnahall, alongside the conference center, which will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Oct. 17.
Lukas said an opera and concert hall would mean more of the building is used, and more often, than if only a concert hall is built.
The cost of building a opera and concert hall is estimated to be between €160 and 170 million, it was announced last week.
Lukas has suggested money can be used to pay for the renovation work from the Cultural Endowment, a fund created from alcohol, tobacco, and gambling taxes as well as donations. The endowment was previously used to partly fund the building of the Estonian National Museum in Tartu.
Editor: Helen Wright