Former seaplane hangers to become the new home for Lembitu submarine

24. September 2009

The seaplane hangars at the Lennusadama port in Tallinn owned by the Estonian Maritime Museum are themselves to become a museum whose central exhibit will be the submarine Lembitu. Having stood empty for years, the hangars will be full renovated by 2011.

The complex of seaplane hangars at the Lennusadama port, which will be fully renovated in time for Tallinn’s year as the European Capital of Culture, are included in the list of global architectural heritage as one of the first shell concrete structures. The complex was constructed between 1916 and 1917. Within a couple of years it will be home not only to the world’s only surviving Russian mine ship submarine, but also an impressive three-level permanent exhibition.

The public procurement carried out in spring for the design of the seaplane hangar exhibition and for the restoration design work for the hangars was won by KOKO Arhitektid, who involved engineers Professor Karl Õiger and Heiki Onton in the restoration. KOKO Arhitektid are well known for such designs as the Estonian pavilion at EXPO2000 in Hannover; Tallinn Synagogue; the Fahle building; and Metro Plaza.

“The seaplane hangars are the most unique architectural monument in Estonia from an engineering and technical point of view,” explained KOKO Arhitektid director Andrus Kõresaar. “We’re planning to be very tactful in the way we restore it. In the way we set up the exhibition we’re taking international visitors into account, so in world terms it will be an entirely modern and very exciting museum.”

Restoration of the seaplane hangars at the Lennusadama port and the construction of the innovative new exhibition are being financed from the European Structural Funds. The work has been budgeted at 130 million kroons and represents the second stage of the plans for the reconstruction of the port.