Building of the Office of the President of the Republic
In the 1930s the Government decided to build the official building of the President of the Republic close to his official home, the historical Kadriorg Palace. The old Kadriorg Park was also renewed at the same time. The area around Luigetiik (Swan Pond) was redesigned and a children's park was established. The concert field designed by architect Alar Kotli was built in 1937. The post-war generation still remembers the bandstand in the concert field and the adjacent rockery with its abundance of species. The designers considered the requests of President Konstantin Päts when making changes in the park and the extensive correspondence in which they were discussed has been preserved to this day.
The building of the Office of the President of the Republic was designed by Alari Kotli and built in summer 1938. The building is spacious and the Office of the Chancellor of Justice and the Committee of Decorations also moved there. The official apartments of the Director of the Office of the President of the Republic Elmar Tambek, Senior Adjutant Colonel Grabby, the chief accountant and the chauffeur were located in the wings of the building.
Architect Alar Kotli had a difficult task to solve when he designed the new official building of the President next to Kadriorg Palace: the new building could not spoil the beautiful and airy baroque ensemble. The side facing the palace is therefore more modest whilst the façade has a more intricate décor. The architect placed the new palace on the same axis as the old one. The garden that connects the two buildings was completely redesigned. The garden was and is used as much as possible during our short summers. At the end of spring, the President holds a reception for the best school graduates in the garden and many other receptions are held there in summer.
The function rooms in the official building of the President were designed by Alar Kotli himself, except the large office of the head of state, which was designed by Olev Siinmaa, the chief architect of Pärnu at the time. The result is impressive. There are still function rooms in the building in addition to the private office of the head of state. The Office of the President of the Republic and the official apartment of the President are also in the building. The main entrance to the Office is emphasised with a balcony structure with a staircase. The main entrance to the building was initially adorned by the bronze heraldic lions created by sculptor Voldermar Mellik. The sculptures disappeared during the occupations.
The magnificent main door leads the guest to the foyer. Hallways run from there to the President's apartment in the northern wing and the Office of the President in the southern wing. The foyer has a coffered ceiling and the walls are lined with yellow and red artificial marble and polished 'Vasalemma marble'. This creates a beautiful contrast with the chiselled marble balcony above the main entrance.
French windows lead to the garden from the ground floor. A lone oak tree, the oldest of a former grove, has been witnessing the twists and turns of Estonian for almost four hundred years. The two floors of the building are joined by a light round stairwell. The foyers on the first floor are decorated by bronze portraits of the leaders of Estonia Jaan Tõnisson and Konstantin Päts as well as the keeper of the continuity of the state of Estonia, diplomat Ernst Jaakson.
The president's work and function rooms are located on the first floor: the hall of the Council of State, the large private office and the so-called Ambassadors Hall (former office of the senior adjutant). The initial appearance of the foyers, the ground floor hallways and the round stairwell was also restored during the renovation works in 2002. Interior architect Juta Lember managed to follow all the strict heritage protection requirements as well as preserve the functionality of the rooms and value its roots. She received the Annual Award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment and the Estonian Association of Interior Architects for this work.
The original design created by Alar Kotli has been preserved in the hall of the Council of State. The elegant art deco furniture was designed by Richard Wunderlich, who had it made in his own company Uudne Mööbel. The beautiful doors made in the same place have also been preserved. The inlaid transoms symbolise the economic branches of Estonia and were created by Günther Reindorff. The walls used to be covered with off-white leopard-print linen damask designed by Adamson-Eric and made in the Pärnu Linen Factory. At present, the walls are covered with cotton fabric woven according to the initial test fabric in the Kreenholm Manufacturing Company. A tapestry was ordered for the side wall of the hall according to the design created by Arne Mõttus as a result of a competition held in 1939. The design depicted the making of a contract between Estonian elders and the ambassador of the Vikings. The tapestry was never made because of the occupation.
There were plans to cover end wall of the Council of the State hall with a heraldic tapestry that was also never made. Instead, the painting Lenin in Smolny was hung there after the war. In 1974 Mari Adamson designed an arras with the coat of arms of the ESSR on the basis of the initial design concept and after the restoration of Estonia's independence, it was replaced with Peeter Kuutma's tapestry Põhjala in national colours. Since 2003 the hall has been adorned by the heraldic arras made according to the winning design of the initial competition that depicts the coats of arms of Estonian counties of the time and the large coat of arms of the Republic of Estonia. A black and white photo of the design from 1939 has been preserved. Textile artist Peeter Kuutma restored the design on the basis of the photo and the officially approved colours of the coats of arms.
According to the old Constitutions, the Government sessions chaired by the President were held in the Council of the State hall. Today, the hall is used for meetings of the National Defence Council and constitutional procedure: the departure visit of the old Government, the presentation of the new Government, the appointment of judges. The President also meets foreign delegations in the hall and political discussions and negotiations are also held there.
The President's private office or the big office was designed by architect Olav Siinmaa largely on the basis of the instructions given by Konstantin Päts. The President wanted the office to have a national atmosphere. In Estonia, it would've meant heavy no-fuss peasant furniture, which is difficult to match with chandeliers and oriental rugs. The result was an art deco room with national motifs. The almost entirely preserved upholstered furniture of the office is covered with blue velvet, just like the one used when the room was first furnished. The wall covering woven according to the design by Adamson-Eric was and is also blue.
A large tapestry with the coat of arms of Estonia hung behind the back of President Päts. The portrait of Johan Laidoner and paintings by Johann Köler and Oskar Hoffmann hung on the walls of the office. There are two paintings on the walls of the large office of the head of state at present: Otsija (The Seeker) by Jüri Arrak and Lõuna-Eesti maastik (Southern Estonian Landscape). Rõuge maastik (Rõuge Landscape) hangs on the wall of the President's private office.
In the Paintings Hall, the President accepts the credential of the ambassadors accredited to Estonia whilst standing in front of a flag with the state's coat of arms. In the events when the President has decided to present high state awards in Kadriorg, the ceremony is held in the Paintings Hall. Important guests are presented to the President and other ceremonies are held here.
The building of the Office of the President of the Republic is young compared to the thousand-year history of Tallinn, but it has still experienced a lot. It has witnessed the violent interruption of Estonia's independence, the aggression of foreign powers and then the restoration of the independent state of Estonia. The flag of the President of the Republic of Estonia is once again flying above the building, a sign that the head of state of Estonia is in his home country.
The Ice Cellar, which had been in ruins for a long time, was renovated in 2005. A large meeting hall, a hall with a fireplace and some offices were built there.
The lower part of the Ice Cellar was built in days of Peter I. Back then, the kitchen was located in the present Mikkeli Museum and the food and wine for the workmen who were building Kadriorg (there could be 800-1200 of them during the building season) were kept in the Ice Cellar.
The studio of artist Johannes Greenberg was located in the upper part of the Ice Cellar from 1926. No designs of the upper part have been preserved. Photos of a social event held by Johannes Greenberg, probably in the 1950s, were found in the course of restoration. The fireplace was restored according to the photo where it can be seen in the background.