Energy Discovery Centre

  • #Estonia
  • #Tallinn
  • #public
  • #remodelling
  • #heritage
  • #museum
  • #industrial
  • #culture
  • #exhibition

Location

Põhja pst 29 and partly Põhja pst 31, Tallinn, Estonia

Area

3840 m2

Status

Completed 2014

Client

Tallinn Technology and Science Centre Foundation

Architecture and interior architecture

LUMIA , Doomino Arhitektid and studio ARGUS

Margit Aule, Sander Aas, Pelle-Sten Viiburg and Margit Argus

Photography

Martin Siplane, Mae Köömnemägi and Arno Mikkor

Awards

  • 2015 - Annual Award 2014−2015 of the Estonian Association of Interior Architects for the best historical interior

  • 2015 - Estonian Annual Museum Awards for 2014: special award of the National Heritage Board and the Heritage Committee of the Museums Board for restoring a museum as a cultural monument

Energy Discovery Centre is situated between the sea and the Old Town of Tallinn, in the complex of a former power station. The turbine and control building of the power plant, which now houses the Discovery Centre, was built in the 1920s and 1930s. Electricity production ended in 1979 here.

The Discovery Centre was in the same building before its renovation but the conditions used to be Spartan; in winter it was even possible to see blocks of ice on the lowest floor. The entire building had to be renovated thoroughly, which involved changes in the room structure, not to speak of the new technological and exhibition solutions. A planetarium and new atriums were added to the lowest two floors; new stairs were placed between the sturdy columns that support the generators. We exhibited the old installation – the boilers, generators and structures supporting them – in a dignified manner. A new entrance to the building was needed and we decided to place it one floor lower, to the level accommodating the tickets desk, cloakroom, cafeteria and toilets. Thereby we could preserve the historical turbine hall, the gem of the building, in its entirety.

The chic black-and-white turbine hall on Floor 2 got back its beautiful interior. In the middle of the room there is the black platform that we designed for the exhibits: as a result, the new exhibition seems like one big black machine. The space on Floor 1 is vivified by a green floor, which connects renewable energy and other topics into a whole like a landscape. On Floor −1, the yellow, white and black room is for the audio and optical exhibits. That floor also offers the best visibility of the nice concrete columns, exposed to view since the renovation, which support the old generators.

‘We laid down the main ideas in the process of coming up with our competition entry: lowering the entrance by one storey and keeping the turbine hall intact, placing the stairs in the middle of the building between the massive old concrete columns and extending the foyer towards the neighbouring Tallinn Creative Hub so that the two buildings could interface functionally.’

Margit Aule

Partner / Chartered Principal Architect (Level 8)

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