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  COME VEDERE L'ARCHITETTURA CONTEMPORANEA HOW TO SEE CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE
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BUILDING
 
 
Town Hall
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DESIGNER
 
 
BIG
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DESCRIPTION
 
Public Insight + Political Overview
BIG Bjarke Ingels Group Tallinn Town HallGood governance and participatory democracy is dependent on transparency in both directions. It requires adequate political overview of the problems, demands and desires of the public, as well as public insight into the political processes. The new town hall of Tallinn will provide this two way transparency in a very literal way. The various public departments form a porous canopy above the public service market place allowing both daylight and view to permeate the structure. The public servants won’t be some remote administrators taking decisions behind thick walls, but will be visible in their daily work from all over the market place via the light wells and courtyards. From outside the panoramic windows allow the citizens to see their city at work. In reverse the public servants will be able to look out and into the market place’s making sure that the city and its citizens are never out of sight nor mind.
Democratic Tower
The City Council, the heart of the democratic process, is located in the town hall tower visible from the park, the plaza and the podium of the Linnen Hall. The roof of the tower is tilted forming a slender spire. Inside the City Council greeting hall is accessed via the grand stair or elevators directly from the market place, or from the City offices around it. Above the greeting hall, the City Council is located in a generous space illuminated though a large window facing the city. A balcony for press and visitors flanks the space on the level above. The sloping ceiling of the tower is finished in a large reflective material. The mirror ceiling transforms the tower into a huge democratic periscope allowing literal transparency between politicians and public. In ancient times the town hall would have a vaulted ceiling decorated with a sky or frescos of the land and territories under the ruler’s government. In the new town hall of Tallinn the ceiling will be a real (reflected) overview of the city both old and new. Whenever a politician raises his/her glance, he/she will be met with the view of Tallinn’s townscape. In reverse, the citizens, rallying protesters or simply people passing by, will look towards the tower, and within it get an insight into the political work. The circular formation of council members will be reflected in the tilted ceiling, and give the surrounding citizens a sense of assurance that the democracy is busy working for them. In a traditional tower only the king at the top gets to enjoy the great view. The periscope is a form of democratic tower, where even the average Tallinn citizen on the street gets to enjoy the overview from the top. From a distance the silhouette of the town hall tower enters the family of Tallinn’s historical spires including those of the Niguliste Museum-Concert Hall, Toomkirik, Kaarli Kirik, Pühavaimu Kirik, St. Olav Church and the current town hall.
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LOCATION
 
Continent
Europe
Nation
Estonia [Eesti]
County
Harjumaa
Town
Tallinn
Address
Pōhia puiestee, Rumbi (Linnahall)
 
 
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TYPOLOGY
 
ARCHITECTURE
Commercial buildings
Markets
Public buildings
Government buildings
Administration buildings
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CHRONOLOGY
 
Project
2008 - 2009     project winner of competition
Realisation
2009 - 2012
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BIBILIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES
 
 
"New City Hall in Tallin, Estonia", Arkitektur DK 6/09, november-december 2009 [The BIG Lab], pp. 16-21 (1-63)
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CLIENT
 
 
City Planning Office, City of Tallinn
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DIMENSIONAL
DATA
 
Surface
site sq.m. 35,000
floor sq.m. 35,000
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STRUCTURES
 
 
Adams Kara Taylor
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STAFF
 
Project architect
Bjarke Ingels
Project leader
Jakob Lange
Collaborators
Daniel Sundlin, Hanna Johansson, Ondrej Janku, Ken Aoki, Benjamin Engelhardt, Maxime Enrico, Joao Albuquerque
 
 
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