Green Tracks of Tallinn

The considered area of this year’s Vision Competition of the Tallinn Architecture Biennale is located at an ambivalent gateway between the Tallinn districts of Kalamaja, Pelgulinn and Karjamaa within the quarter Pohja-Tallinn. It was used as the railway-depot Kopli.
The plot embodies what can be found in many areas outside the historic city center, consisting of privately owned waste land, unused or unoccupied buildings and enclosed open spaces. These barricades deny any kind of access and keep pedestrians from using the direct path between Kalamaja and Pelgulinn, resulting in an extreme division of these quarters. Public meeting spaces exist very scarcely. The privatization that happened on a great scale when the country gained its independence had an impact on life in the city that was not entirely positive.

Nevertheless there is great room for potential. Telliskivi is a prime example for modification and renovation of existent space. Additionally initiatives originated within the neighbourhood demand higher living standards. In our design we suggest a reactivation and conversion of the whole railway-depot Kopli, in order to create a functioning connection between the adjacent quarters. An important and very defining element of the design are the green tracks, they are influenced by the ever growing significance of bicycle lanes instead of motorways. The tracks, no longer used for trains, gain a new purpose and function as lanes for non motorized individual traffic. They build a network throughout the plot itself and define a cross-link for travel from North-East to South-West within the whole quarter. Public spaces gain easier access and the already existing kultuurikilomeeter is expanded by the Northern green ring. South of the competition area the green rings interlace. In this area a new public zone is activated, meant to be used by residents as well as tourists. This zone is divided into different sectors that alternately expand to the North and South of the green ring. The expansions appear as different forms of exterior spaces or within the public use of certain buildings.

A special focus hereby lies on the Central park as well as the Northern plaza. They reach from the green tracks to the plot boundaries and interact with the existing building mass. These focus points as well as the North-Western intersection of the green circles are lined by high buildings with up to ten stories, they ensure an easy orientation within the quarter. In the competition area an exemplary arrangement of building developments is suggested. The principal can be applied to the whole masterplan at a later stage of the development. Apart from the earlier mentioned high buildings, it includes various building typologies within the single plots to enable different types of use throughout the whole quarter.

The next step lies within the more detailed design of the single buildings. Different facades indicate different utilisation. The materials are linked to the existent structures within the surrounding neighbourhoods. Brick- and stone buildings contain public and cultural use, wood facades primarily stand for residential buildings, the combination of glass and metal implies commercial and industrial functions. The Green Tracks of Tallinn suggests a multi-phased masterplan. Single plots and public spaces develop periodically. The growth happens on a parallel basis which enables a sustainable and natural increase of quality within the area.


  • Britta Biehn
  • Elisa Thänert


  • Freier Entwurf
  • Urban Vision Competition

Institut / Betreuung

  • für Städtebau und Entwurfsmethodik
  • Prof. Uwe Brederlau
  • WM Amir Touhidi


  • Wintersemester
  • 2018 / 2019