Practices > Good Practices > Culture-Based Innovation > KOKO arhitektid

Company KOKO arhitektid has been the winner of the public tender for the idea and vision of reconstruction of two major projects in Tallinn: Tallinn TV Tower and Seaplane Harbour.

Both objects have a historical background and are unique monuments of architecture from an engineering and technical point of view. The Tallinn TV Tower is a free-standing structure with an observation deck, built to provide better telecommunication services for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics regatta event. It is Estonia’s highest building at 314 metres but due to fire safety requirements the viewing platform at a height of 170 metres was closed to the public since 2007. The complex of seaplane hangars was constructed between 1916 and 1917 as part of Peter the Great’s Naval Fortress and is an unique shell concrete structures, which demonstrate engineering 20 years ahead of its time.

KOKO architects had an interesting challenge to turn the TV tower to an experience centre and the Seaplane Hangars to an exhibition centre for Estonian Maritime Museum. The reconstruction of both projects have been great examples of culture based innovation where the history and the nature of these objects has challenged architects to create new solutions (both design and engineering ones) to be unique and modern at the same time. Many solutions in these two objects are tailored made, tested and prototyped in Estonia by the universities, production companies, building companies etc. For examples moving multimedia screens (futuristic “mushrooms”) in TV Tower have been created by the help of robotics institute of Tallinn University of Technology and engineering company Tehnolabor. For the info graphics new fibre visual landmarks were created by company Creatum.

View a 3D film of the tower:

View a 3D film of the seaplane harbour:

Role of partners?
The role of partners has been mainly to follow the ideas of the architect and interior designer of the bid winner, to test and prototype new products and technical solutions and to find the most efficient and attractive way to achieve the end result.

Why is it needed? 
Developers of Tallinn TV Tower and Seaplane hangars were charged with the tasks of providing high-quality tourism, cultural and recreational services and marketing it as a destination for local and international tourism. Rebirth of these historical landmarks enriches not only the visitors but the city’s environment itself. New modern ways of presenting culture and history by using unique and innovative tailored technical solutions create a diverse exhibition, unique in the world, which may act as a rare space for thoughtful and (inter)active events, and thereby create an abiding interest in maritime history activities and marine engineering achievements.

Reconstruction of Tallinn TV Tower and Seaplane hangars by the lead of KOKO architects are the best examples of avoiding silo thinking. Engineers, builders, designers, producers were involved right in the start. The aim of the interior architects was not to import ready-made solutions but to spring “over the shadow” and design everything locally was the main driver of innovation and new products for the respective companies, who can benefit from new inventions now.

What are the success factors and challenges?
The reconstruction of Tallinn TV Tower and Seaplane Harbour has been a long process due to unique architecture, different requirements but the result is worth it. The construction of both objects has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund’s programme for development of cultural and tourism objects of national importance. The main lesson is not to be ordinary and to copy something what is there but to do something different in a creative way.

Estonian Maritime Museum in hangars of Seaplane Harbour (Photo by Mart Sepp)

Multimedia “mushrooms” on the 21st floor of Tallinn TV

Business name: Koko arhitektid
Contact name: Andrus Kõresaar
Address: Tartu mnt. 84a,
Telephone: +37 2 660 40 60
City: Tallinn
Country: Estonia
Legal status of Company: Private Limited Company
Number of employees: 11
Nature of business: Architecture and design
Name of company collaborating with: AS YIT Ehitus (building company),
Creatum OÜ (creative agency)
Produktsioonigrupp OÜ (multimedia)
Tehnolabor (engineering)
Hansab (technical solutions)
Furniture producers, engineers, designers etc
Title of project: Reconstruction and development of Tallinn TV Tower and Seaplane Harbour
Dates of activity from: 2009 – 2012
Activity Theme: Culture-based innovation
Project website:;


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