XML Europan Competition Tallinn

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XML Europan Competition Tallinn

      Dutch practice XML has won the competition for Europan 10 in Tallinn and received honorable mentions for its proposals in Madrid and Munich. Europan is a biannual, pan-European competition that aims to bring to the fore Europe’s young architecture and urban design professionals by realizing the prize-winning proposals. Over the period of twenty years that the Europan competition has been held, XML is the first office to be successful in three respective Europan sites at the same time. First Prize: Europan Competition Tallinn by XML TALLINN XML’s winning proposal for Tallinn, ‘Green Cement’, consists of an urban strategy and two new buildings for the waterfront of the city center of Tallinn.

      Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was a prelude to Estonia’s independence, the country has experienced a period of turbulent growth. A quick analysis shows that, for Tallinn, the economic boom and the explosive increase in building activity of the past 15 years has materialized in the form of urban sprawl. Now that the global recession is strongly impacting on Estonia’s economy and construction activities have slowed down significantly, the proposal aims to evaluate Tallinn’s urban condition and utilize this breathing space to formulate new urban scenarios for the future. Automatically allocating programs to all undefined areas within a sprawling city means that scant available resources must be distributed over a multitude of needs.

      Instead this proposal focuses on a strategy of creating contrasts. Here, differences between various parts of the city are reinforced by filling undefined areas with woodlands. The woodlands provide the ‘Green Cement’ needed to bind Tallinn’s fragmented structure and transform it into a modern metropolis characterized by clearly delineated public spaces rather than an endless sprawl of indistinctness. One of the fragments in this new urban landscape is the cluster currently containing the Cultural Factory, the Linnahall, the new City Administration Building. This site plays an important role in Tallinn’s program when being the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2011. XML’s proposal introduces two new market halls within this cluster.

      These ‘Market Twins’ are two rectangular generic halls, which house the fish market, and the food and design markets respectively. The modest architecture of the halls is complemented by interiors in which market activities are organized through the placement of stalls and daylighting. The building containing the food market and the design market, also houses a restaurant, a small conference center and a creative workshop area. These programs will allow the hall to develop into an informal civic hall that complements the new formal City Administration Building located across the street.

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