Külli Salum, Riina Harik
Vene Street 9, Tallinn, Estonia
Completed in 2007
Hea 5 AS
Veglio OÜ, Vene Posti Operaator AS
Kaido Haagen, Arne Maasik, Tiit Veermäe
One of the most luxurious five-star hotels in Tallinn’s Old Town is located in a building that originally housed a commercial bank – the Revaler Handels-Bank (architect Peter Schreiberg from St. Petersburg, completed in 1878). Before World War II and during the Soviet period, the building on the corner of Apteegi and Vene Streets served as the central post and telegraph office. Later, when the age of the telegraph ended, it stood empty for several years.
The building is striking in the context of Mediaeval Old Town – the abundant Historicist ornamentation on the facade clearly stands out from the context, which, thanks to the new lighting solution, is also true at night. The windows of the fourth floor added during the Soviet period have been recessed and small balconies thus stand behind the historic cornice. The balcony doors are glazed, thereby ensuring that the rooms on the top floor have sufficient light and good vistas.
Only the grand formal staircase has survived of the original interiors. An annex now stands in place of a building in the yard that was bombed during World War II. Its linking coridor with the main building now serves as the hotel’s most important passage hub connecting the various floors and the garden wing. The design of the annex is simpler than the main building and represents contemporary architecture. Befitting of the Old Town, the use of glass on the facade has been kept to a minimum. Bare wall surfaces dominate, with narrow windows and high attic dormers cut into the exterior. The desire to fit into the historic environment is also expressed in the use of aged or old materials. These include dark concrete panels that are hand-treated with copper sulphate; patinated copper, which will turn green in time resembling the nearby church towers; also the Ground floor retaining walls made of broken limestone blocks, that were constructed using as many original stones as possible.
The restaurant and the spa with a pool are located in the lower part of the annex. The underground parking garage is unique in the Old Town. The exclusive, even extravagant hotel is a success, both in the sense of commerce and architecture. The newcomer has received a cornucopia of awards and has peacefully been accepted into Estonia’s most sensitive built environment.