TALLINN - Tallinn Seaplane Harbor was awarded the 2013 grand prix European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards on June 16 in Athens, reports Public Broadcasting. Out of four award categories, the Tallinn Seaplane Harbor came in as the winner in the category of conservation of culture heritage objects, the one with the toughest competition. There were 15 finalists in this category.
The Europa Nostra homepage notes that the hangars at the Tallinn Seaplane Harbor, begun in 1912, are the most important engineering landmark in the region. They are thought to be the first large-scale reinforced concrete shell structure in the world. When the hangars were first built, the British architectural journal The Builder, compared them with Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
The Seaplane Harbor received recognition for the excellent and technically complicated restoration of the hangars that were on the verge of collapsing by the time the restoration work began in 2009.
Culture Minister Rein Lang said that Europa Nostra award is the highest recognition for restoring cultural heritage in Europe. “Getting the recognition shows that Estonia has top level architects, engineers, restorers and builders who can not just rescue remarkable heritage objects, but also create new value on the basis of that for next generations,” said Lang, thanking for their cooperation KOKO architects, Nordecon, Tallinn Technical University and the team of the Seaplane Harbor.