Cinema buildings from the 20th century reflect the political, cultural, and economical state of their times very well. In the USSR cinema had an important role as a tool of propaganda, so the building would have to be eye-catching and inviting. The project for the cinema “Kosmos” (“Cosmos”) was done in 1962 by architect Ilmar Laasi and Udo Ivask, who used a Pan-Soviet project and modified it heavily. The architecture of it is imbued with the spirit of the Space Age, which also explains the name. It was completed and opened in the Spring of 1964. It has been listed as cultural heritage since 1997.
“Kosmos” was the first and biggest panoramic cinema in Tallinn with 1000 seats. The asymmetrical shape of the building is complemented by the sloped landscape. The structure consists of two main parts – the low lobby area with large windows in front and the higher cinema finished with contrasting red brick at the back. There is also contrast in form – the ribbed facade of the cinema hall contrasts with the low horizontal lobby area. In addition to that, the curved entrance also features a dynamic concrete canopy (those would go on to become a typical building element in the 1960s) and there is a neon sign on the side. The cinema is at the corner of two big streets – Liivalaia and Pärnu Road. In front of the building is a green area with evergreen trees and three oval fountains. The freeform landscape architecture in front of the cinema lets you see the building from afar, even on a busy street.
The theatre room inside is amphitheater-like with rows of curved seating going up step by step. Though the interior has been changed a few times throughout the years, it still functions as a cinema and mostly holds the same shapes inside, as it did originally. In 2014 “Kosmos” was reconstructed as the first IMAX cinema in Tallinn. Today it no longer has IMAX technology and instead of the original one theatre hall, it has three.