Riigikogu building pictured in 2017, Source: Jaan Jänesmäe /

Estonia names best 20th century architectural achievements

Estonia names best 20th century architectural achievements

The selection pays homage to overlooked Soviet-era architecture

The Union of Estonian Architects celebrated its 100th anniversary on Friday, using the occasion to announce its choice of the most outstanding buildings created in the country over the last century.

Andro Mänd, president of the Association of Architects said at the event that quality architecture which has withstood the test of time is worthy of recognition.

Soviet-era architecture recognized

"What is meant by architecture with a lasting value is that the architectural integrity of the building has been preserved in the form in which it was originally designed by the architect. One of the aims of this recognition is to add value to Soviet-era architecture," Mänd said, as quoted by ERR.  

Only public buildings competed for the selection, but the architects’ union plans to organize a similar contest for private architecture in the future.

These are the top 10 buildings:

  • The Riigikogu building (1920-1922), Herbert Johanson, Eugen Habermann
  • Pärnu beach building (1938-1939), Olev Siinmaa
  • Tallinn Fire Station (1939), Herbert Johanson
  • Tallinn Song Festival Stage (1960), Alar Kotli, Henno Sepmann
  • The Flower Pavilion (1960) and Cafe Tuljak in Tallinn (1964-1966), Valve Pormeister
  • Jäneda State farm's technical school (1975), Valve Pormeister
  • Okta Centrum, Rapla (1977), Toomas Rein
  • Tehvandi Sports Center, Otepää (1978), Peep Jänes, Tõnu Mellik
  • Tallinn Linnahall (1980), Raine Karp, Riina Altmäe
  • Karja tänav flower shop (1978-1983), Vilen Künnapu

Keeper of architectural legacy

The Estonian Museum of Architecture is located in the Rotermann Salt Storage, a historical building in Tallinn exemplifying the best of industrial architecture. The museum boasts rich archive, photographic, model, furniture, and art collections which trace the history of Estonian architecture from the early 20th century through the present day. The photo collection includes nearly 18,000 photos and negatives, making it one of the largest accumulations of architectural photographs in Estonia.



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