The Creative Hub is housed in what was once the Tallinn City Central Power Station, which operated from 1913-1979. Its construction marked a turning point in the history of the city and indeed Estonia as a whole: it led to the widespread use of electricity in the country, with people enjoying the everyday benefits it provided.
The existing building of the Creative Hub, with its limestone walls, served as the power station’s boiler room and was completed in 1934. The enormous boilers (no. 6 and no. 7) in the Cauldron Hall were constructed in 1948 and 1949. There were designed and manufactured in Estonia, having been adapted for the use of local oil shale.
The brick chimney on the site was erected in 1948, and at 102.5 metres was the tallest in the Baltic States at the time. A total of 100,000 ordinary bricks and 800,000 chimney bricks were used in its construction.
Power was last generated at the station on 2 February 1979, after which it produced and distributed heat. It was officially renamed the Tallinn Heat Network in 1982. Its boilers continued operating until the early 1990s.
Of the structures which now comprise the Creative Hub, the boiler room, gas reservoir, trestle and chimney were placed under heritage protection in 2007.
‘STALKER’: THE STORY OF THE FILM
The biggest cultural explosion the power station ever experienced came in 1977 when director Andrei Tarkovski shot the cult classic Stalker here. Through his eyes, the entrance to the power station was a gateway to a mystical world – the same one we still pass through when we enter the Creative Hub gates. Other scenes from Stalker were also shot in Estonia, including in what is now the Rotermann Quarter in Tallinn and at Jägala waterfall.
It was for the film that the acronym UN (standing for the United Nations) was painted on the power station’s chimney, and the letters can still be seen today. The film was awarded the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980.
As a symbol of the intrepid soul on a quest to find himself, Stalker lived on at the Creative Hub as the Stalker Festival. Those who attended it encountered unexpected situations, gained a new sense of being present and perceived the extraordinary nature of the space.