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Tallinn Street 2020

Tallinn Architecture Biennale: Street 2020 Competition
Peer-to-Peer Urbanism: Developing a high performance landscape network in Tallinn

Our concept was to develop a street which connects as many people and ideas as possible through the use of landscape strategies with a simple "user interface". This new Boulevard will connect the historic City to the beachfront, provides a strong edge to the port area, and seeks to unify the disparate existing but undefined open spaces into the collective use of the entire district as a large pedestrian park. The new district which will emerge around this street accommodates a wide array of programming types — at all scales — from the micro clustering of kiosks to provision of large footprint (5000 square meters) office space desired by Internet businesses. The street will form a new entry to Tallinn for visitors and a place to enjoy the city outdoors with physical activity and street vending. Lastly, the street incorporates a series of man-made and natural infrastructural systems to treat wastewater and sequester carbon — some of which will be open to tourism and businesses underground. Following is a list of urban features to be included in the renovation of the overall site area.

1> Small Lot Development: Proposed with limited height along the entirely of the south side to avoid deep shadows on the new, super-GREEN Pedestrian Boulevard. The scale of these lots will help reproduce the existing scale of the architecture found in Tallinn and play host to hybrid programming strategies.

2> Subterranean Parking: Required for each construction with garage. Access is NOT from the new Boulevard.

3> Pocket Parks: A series of landscaped Greenways are being introduced to connect with the university district to the south, traversing through the proposed large scale internet office spaces.

4> Green Alley: Covered in a pervious surface, it allows access to parking and the collection of trash. 

5> Housing Wall: Provides a boundary between the port and the new Boulevard. It serves as a solar reflector to optimize light in the winter on the new Boulevard. This super long building provides nearly 1000 new units and is punctuated with raised green-roofed decks.

6> Green-roofed Decks: Offering multi-level, outdoor life in Tallinn.

7> Underground Truckway: Passes through the city underground to avoid conflict with pedestrians. At certain locations, the truckway rises up to access the ferry port. Also at these locations, retail and other amenities are planned. 

8> Retail Vendors: Commercial retail lines the northern edge of the vehicular, lower street.

9> Area of Toxic Remediation: Trees and other plants are used to help remediate the area which is currently used for industrial purposes. 

10> Pedestrian Crosswalk with Enlarged Sidewalk: Sidewalk flares to "shorten" the distance across the street. 

11> Dedicated Bike Lane: This lane, painted in Estonian blue clearly marks where bikes have right-of-way.

12> Walkable Center Median: Between opposing lanes of traffic, the median functions as a small linear garden one can navigate through.

13> Digital Street Sign: The entire edge of the raised street will incorporate a digital street sign which not only hosts quotidian information like shop names and addresses, but will also host numerous embedded sensors linked to cellphone use and GPS to help people discover their environment and each other in real time. 

14> TallinnTRAM Promenade: a place to wait for the new tram line but also to go jogging or push your baby in a stroller.

15> Walkable Tramway: Like Alexander Platz in Berlin, this tramway is easily crossed by pedestrians and in areas where it is raised, the ride along it affords amazing views of the city of Tallinn.

16> Ornamental Gardens: the flows of the pedestrian traffic slowed somewhat by large, mass-plantings of monolithic bulbs and flowers which seek to encourage as many different growing seasons throughout the year as possible.

17> Fruit and Shade Trees.

18> Kiosks: Vegetables, Currywurst, etc.

19> Pedestrian Promenade: A large multi-surfaced promenade which encourages micro scale retailing, a series of small landscape interventions, and seating. 

20> Stairways: Multiple stairs and elevators ease flow between the upper and lower street levels. Access to adjacent building can occur at upper or lower levels too. 

21> Bus Stops.

22> Wastewater Catchment Basin: Large underground water trough for all rainwater run-off as well as greywater treatment to be purified to be used to help water landscape and clean streets.

23> Anaerobic Digesters: To convert sewage and other biodegradable sludge into energy and fertilizer. 

24> Catacombs and Caves: As in Paris, underused underground spaces can be converted into graveyards, wine caves, aeroponic agriculture, and civilian defense shelters. A number of non-specific underground spaces are planned alongside all of the infrastructure interventions which support tourist needs today but could also house future yet-to-be realized infrastructure upgrades. 

25> Tours of the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

26> Rentable Server Farms: Dedicated storage space for internet cloud infrastructure.

See an interview with Warren Techentin at the blog Urban Lab Global Cities.

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