SEB Estonia Headquarters
Arhitektuuribüroo Raivo Puusepp
Tornimäe 2, 15010 Tallinn, Estonia
Completed in 1999
Kert Saarma, Martin Siplane
This bank building, originally the Ühispank’s but currently the SEB Estonia 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 the entirely new business district developing nearby. The area used to be a semi-industrial area with a chequered 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 is still one of the landmarks of the phenomenon that is the City area.
The crystalline overall form, topped off 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 and at the same time it harks back to and mocks the City Crown (Die Stadtkrone) idea. This freely designed form cuts its way into the disarray 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.