SEB Bank Building

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Architect

Arhitektuuribüroo Raivo Puusepp

Location

Tornimäe 2, 15010 Tallinn

Size

18,925 m2

Status

Completed, 1999

Client

SEB bank

Photos

Kert Saarma, Martin Siplane

Typology

Commercial Projects

Tags

New City Area, Bank, Office, Tallinn

This bank building, originally the Ühispank but currently the SEB headquarters, was the very first high-rise of newly independent Estonia. The initial slightly controversial reception has long been overshadowed by its landmark status within an entire new business district developing nearby. The area used to be a semi-industrial area with checkered mix of different buildings – simple wooden apartment buildings, art nouveau houses, red brick industrial structures etc. Since the turn of the century, the area has become the hub of high-rises and the main business district of Tallinn. Despite higher and newer additions to the growing set of high-rises the SEB building still is one of the landmarks of the phenomenon that is the City area.

The crystalline overall form, topped by an empty frame for purely compositional purposes, together with facades of bluish reflecting glass render an overall impression that is both expressive and abstract, at the same time harking back to and mocking of the City Crown (Die Stadtkrone) idea. This freely designed form cuts its way into the chaos of the existing city structure, making the chaos even more pronounced. The interior of the 24-floor high building features a bank hall in a three-story atrium; upper floors are standard office spaces with corporate headquarters on the top levels.