Linnahall

View Guided Tours

Architect

Eesti Tööstusprojekt

Project team

Raine Karp, Riina Altmäe, Gunnar Nurmet

Interior design

Ülo Sirp, Mariann Hakk

Engineering

Ago Kuddu

Location

Kalasadama 4, 10415 Tallinn

Size

37,221 m2

Status

Completed 1980

Client

1980 Summer Olympics

Photos

Ott Alver, Kaido Haagen, Kadri Laar

Typology

Culture, Awarded, Historic, Landscape and Urban Planning, Public

Tags

Public, Habrour area, Refurbishment, Tallinn city centre, Interior, Landscape & urbanism, Awarded, Historical, Concert hall, Event center, Exhibition center, Visitor center, Culture center, Sports hall, Urban planning, Tallinn

It’s impossible to miss this massive, enigmatic building at the seaside, and it is almost equally impossible to resist the urge to climb up its stairs and get a magnificent view over the city and the sea.

Linnahall was among the structures erected for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the yachting regatta of which was held in Tallinn. Most of the seafront was a restricted area during the Soviet times, and a railway track broke up the plot as well. As a result, the building forms a bridge over the railway (now removed) and provides a highly desired connection between the city and the sea. This megastructure is the result of the Soviet Union imposing itself architecturally. It is highly unlikely that Estonia as a republic would have built something like this.

The architectural solution is highly original, stemming partly from the notoriously limited choice of building materials at the time. Although it might look like something inspired by the historic architecture of the South America, Raine Karp himself points towards the influence of the 17th and 19th Century fortifications around the old town of Tallinn.

Local limestone is used in both the exterior and interior. The most striking feature of the interior is the main hall, which seats 4,200 concertgoers and is in the form of an amphitheater that features completely removable walls to form a continuous space throughout the building overlooking the sea.