BIG wins International Competition to design Tallinn’s new City Hall

UPDATE: Thanks to your comments, sent us the drawings and diagrams of the project. Check them out in the gallery!

An international idea competition was held for Tallinn’s new City Hall in and the best concept was presented by the Bjarke Ingels Group from Denmark together with Adams Kara Taylor of the UK.

The purpose of the international idea contest was to find the best architectural solution for the new administrative building of the city government that will be situated on a 35,000 m2 plot near the Linnahall building. The contest for the new city was met with a great interest, 81 architects and their teams were willing to present an entry. Of those, the international jury chose the best 9 to shortlist as finalists into the second phase of the competition. By May 15 the finalists handed in their final solutions. The international jury’s decision to award BIG’s entry first place in the competition was unanimous and was presided by the vice mayor Taavi Aas.

More images after the break.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "BIG wins International Competition to design Tallinn’s new City Hall" 24 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    I agree. A Big project just isnt a Big project without the push, pull, squeeze, and twist arrows. ;)

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I third that. Their videos and diagrams explain what you would otherwise think is a totally (bad) formalistic project.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    phew… I can understand it!
    kind of reminds me of the Boston City Hall, but with modern security these courtyards and public spaces under the building are now off limits and useless

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It does remind me of the Parrish art Museum, Conaj; that and Gottfried Bohm’s pilgrimage church.

    I think it’s quite nice on the whole, however. The inevitability related by the diagrams is a bit thick, however. Occasionally if you want something to look a certain way, just go for it.

    Everything has to look like something.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    so what parrish art and this town hall have the same architectural program… both are quite brilliant and it seems to me that both places are great, with spaces filled with light and transparency both concepts have transparency in common and i think we have to admire these great projects

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    how old is bjarke? like 36? and he gets a lot of commissions built… if you can stand the culture for more than 5 minutes, OMA is definitely a breeding ground for kick starting your career.

    anyone know what mvrdv and rex have been up to recently?

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I understand it, but I dont like it that much. I think both BIG and JDS lost some freshness and spark when they decided to separate. PLOT rules

  8. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    another master pice of crap by the danish contingent… I guess those Estonians deserve it!

  9. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I like the mirror. Would be very cool if built (see the diagrams on the BIG web page).

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Is it possible to see the other 8 projects who were in this competition? I like the project and it does reminds me to the one by Herzog and de Meuron, but I will like to understand why BIG won.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    BIG won because they are awesome. Everything they do can be explained through diagram, unlike half the projects on this website. BIG’s got it down, the money shot perspectives AND the diagrammatic explanation that apparently everyone forgets after their first year of school.

    I think this project is beautiful, maybe it’s just the rendering style, but the material blends in beautifully with the town. Nothing too flashy like Gehry or Hadid. The public spaces below I think will remain public, regardless of security and aside from the inner spaces, the outer spaces created are awesome piazzas!

    Also the “spires” of this building will look great on the skyline with the actual spires around (presuming the are tall enough).

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Its sad that people (like you) are easily swayed by “money shoots” and kindergarten colored diagrams that attempt to convey an idea but fail at critical thinking and true analysis of context, site, and other pertinent elements that are so vital to true architecture. BIG always attempts to make their building the focus of where ever it is with no respect to the site itself. The geometry is never fully investigated and arbitrary at best. Scale rarely if ever comes to mind when they develop their buildings. BIG has a lot to prove if they want to truly be considered among the architecture greats. Maybe they can take some note from William J. Curtis or some of the North West architects.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    CMO ARCH…I appreciate trying to answer my question, but still not good enough. Brasil doesn’t win their matches just because they are awesome (refering to soccer/footbal), they win because there is effort, discipline, technic, etc…and also because the adversary allows them to play good, the better the adversary the better they’ll play. So that’s why I was wondering if it was possible to see the project of the other competitors

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Thank you so much for the new data.
    BIG is surely one of the best practices in the world. Even though one can see influences (oma’s for instance) they’re doing fresh and good architecture.
    Very nice project!

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    vadim…. ashamed of what, like it or not that’s architecture if you don’t like the way they explain it just do not comment there’s no better way to explain BIG’s projects and you know that … or would you like to arch daily upload a video with Bjarke explaining the whole project just for you….. come on

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