Dezeen Magazine

Zaha Hadid Architects wins Tallinn port contest

Zaha Hadid Architects has designed a masterplan for Tallinn's port, boasting a new cruise ship terminal as well as office and housing districts intended to spark regeneration around the waterfront of the Estonian capital. 

London office Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) saw off competition for the Masterplan 2030 contest from two other finalists – Alejandro Zaera Polo's practice Alejandro Zaera-Polo Maider Llaguno Architecture and the office of Estonian architect Andres Alver, Alver Architects.

As well as a new cruise ship and ferry terminal and areas for check-in, the winning design also offers new waterfront housing and offices, as well as a hotel, cable car station and an elevated park.

"Streams" branch through the masterplan to connect the different zones, as well as the old town beyond with the Baltic Sea.

"A network of dynamic and elegant gestures inspired by natural 'streams' flow from the city to link and unify the fragmented zones of the harbour to the city fabric, creating a distinctly new and highly connected urban topography," said ZHA in its concept statement.

"The 'stream' directly links a series of locally identified nodes, public spaces an open vistas across the city and harbour," continued the studio.

"The public realm operates as the connective tissue, the 'glue' that facilitates development and creates a clear sense of place and legible orientation within the proposal."

Buildings ranging from one to seven storeys tall will be angled and fragmented to make way for these paths, which the studio sees as the focal point of the project – aptly named Stream City.

"The 'stream' created an armature for a series of spaces, which act as magnets or attractors between the city centre and the harbour," said the architects.

The regeneration plans are intended as a a "catalyst" for the area's development, and is described by the studio as "a kernal of new value which quickly grows as it acquires market force and accelerates development."

The proposal was selected by a jury comprising managers from the Port of Tallinn including chairman Valdo Kalm and head of infrastructure development, Hele-Mai Metsal. Tallinn's city architect Endrik Mänd and Peeter Pere, the vice chair of the Estonian Association of Architects also sat on the judging panel.

"Zaha Hadid Architects has very skilfully created a balanced connection between urban space and the port area with some carefully considered access roads and traffic solutions," said Kalm.

"What stands out in their designs are the diagonals running through them of the pedestrian footpaths, around which a very diverse and memorable city space has been established."

Zaha Hadid Architects will now work up the final designs for the masterplan, with the view to completing the project by 2030.

The firm's late figurehead, the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, came top of the inaugural Dezeen Hot list – a guide to the most important figures in architecture and design.

Since Hadid's death in March 2016, the firm has gone on to complete a number of major projects, and win contracts for several more under the leadership of Patrik Schumacher.

The firm has completed a number of waterfront and port buildings. Numbered among them is the Salerno Maritime Terminal in Italy, the Antwerp Port House in Belgium.

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