Luther Machinery Hall
Hanno Grosschmidt, Tomomi Hayashi, Liis Voksepp, Marianna Zvereva, Anna Endrikson, Jüri Nigulas, Andres Ristov, Sander Treijar
Kadri Tamme (Kadri Tamme Sisearhitektuur)
Ekspertiis ja projekt OÜ, SWECO Projekt AS, ITK Inseneribüroo OÜ
Vana-Lõuna 39, 10134 Tallinn
Lutheri Ärimaja OÜ
The Luther Machinery Hall is the first multilevel building in Estonia with reinforced concrete loadbearing construction. It is designed by the well-known pair of architects from St Petersburg, Nikolai Vasilyev & Alexey Bubyr. The building with a novel construction were completed in 1912. In addition to the machinery hall the furniture plant was completed at the same time. These are not the only buildings in Tallinn designed by Vasilyev & Bubyr – their work includes the villa of the owner of Luther factory (1909-1910, Pärnu road 67) and the Drama Theatre next to the Old Town of Tallinn (1909-1910, Pärnu road 5).
The Machinery Hall has a basilica-like structure with slim reinforced concrete load bearing elements. The openness and lightness are emphasized by the large windows and the light lantern in the central nave. The nave is 17,5 m high. The simplicity of the exterior is enlivened by the national romanticist square-rubble detailing that alternate with smooth plaster surfaces. The complex is under heritage protection.
The plan to renovate the structure was initiated in 2015 with the aim to turn the magnificent space into a contemporary office building. This was followed by an architectural competition that was won by HG Architecture, an office known for their distinguished work in such industrial heritage sites as the Rotermann Quarter or the Noblessner shipyard. On the interior design front, they were accompanied by Kadri Tamme. The main challenge for the architects and the interior designer was the balance between the old and the new. The offices are planned so that they extend through two levels, each office space has a reception area, working area with a meeting room, and a lavatory. There is also the option to install a kitchen corner.
In the interior design natural materials were used: limestone, veneer, concrete, glass, and metal. A distinct objective was to avoid synthetic materials. More than 2900 square meters of plywood was used in the interior design as an homage to the history of the complex. The varnish used on these plywood details and elements also takes examples from the tone of the varnish used in the early 1900s. Most of the interior design elements are original solutions and have been created solely for this project, but also several notable objects and designs by Estonian designers have been used. In addition to the office space in the sole use of each lessee, the building also includes a significant number of common spaces, which can be used for recreation, rest, as well as work-related get-togethers.