Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
At the beginning of the 20th century, the relations between Tallinn and Finnish architects were substantial. Carl Luther, a member of the industrialist family who owned the famous Luther veneer factory, had stated in his will that a clubhouse for the workers must be constructed. His brother Christian Luther ordered the designs from the Finnish architects Gesellius, Lindgren & Saarinen.
It may be assumed that the most active partner in the design work was Armas Lindgren, since there are similarities to his Vyborg railway station competition entry from 1904. The strong curves in the gable give the main façades a certain dynamism, adding to its monumentality. The large rounded window brought in plenty of natural light to the main space, which was used as a dining hall in the daytime and as a clubroom or space for music rehearsals in the evenings.
The use of local natural limestone is ingenious; it has been used both roughly and delicately. At the top of the gable there is a relief sculpture representing a cabinetmaker or woodworker. Originally, in front of the building there was a small garden that later has disappeared. The main interior has been remodelled in 2017 and behind the main façade there is rather an ordinary café and bakery.
The building was taken into use in 1905. At the time, it represented something new and fresh in the local architecture scene. Local newspapers even found it very difficult to describe it in any possible words.
Text: Tarja Nurmi