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 26 May 2015. <>
  • PanamArq

    what??? where are the diagrams and arrows? i just cant understand a BIG project without them

  • joninberlin

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

  • rodrigo bocater

    diagrams! diagrams! where those pink vectors! =D

  • Scott

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

  • Scott

    Found the diagrams:

  • lose

    there are diagrams too, just not here, vee…ery nice diagrams.

  • DiaphanousAbyss

    Thank you Scott… The diagrams made me shoot my own vectors.

  • Jay
  • PanamArq

    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

  • conaj

    a little bit like the parrish art museum by herzog de meuron…

  • sound

    You are right conaj: also programmatic diagram looks identical

  • Tarek sakkal


  • Tuf-Pak

    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.

  • Palau

    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

  • Joshua

    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?

  • ChrisS WebeR

    I don’t like it…

  • _panza

    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

  • rook

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

  • Z-Buffer

    really like BIG´s projects

  • lebu

    yes they deserve it…

  • jiri

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

  • Heli

    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.


    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).

    • Tashio

      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.