Objective of the architectural competition

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Tallinn 2008

  1. Objective of the architectural competition

    1. The objective of the architectural competition is to obtain the best architectural and urban space solution for the state of the art complex of facilities for the structural units of Tallinn City Government and Tallinn City Council.

    2. The winning work of the architectural competition will become the basis for the detail planning and construction design documentation of the new building of Tallinn City Government and its close surrounding.
  2. Concept of new complex of facilities

    1. Current situation of structural units of Tallinn City Government and Tallinn City Council

      1. Structure of Tallinn City Government and Tallinn City Council is currently divided between 11 facilities and it makes functioning of Tallinn City Government as an integral organization difficult.

    2. Objective of building a new facility

      1. The objective of a new complex of facilities is to strengthen the connection between the citizens and officials of the city and change the whole service package provided by the structural units of the city government easily available for the citizens.

      2. The new complex helps to economize the administration costs of administering Tallinn.

      3. The new complex should strengthen the mutual relations of the officials (independent of the rank of position) and favour exchange of information with the help of well organised room (canteen, partially public areas for having a rest, also the design of urban space around the facility).

    3. Summary of formation of the institution

      1. Tallinn Town Council

Establishment time of Tallinn local government, i.e. Tallinn Town Council is not exactly dated. It might date back to 1230ies when a settlement area occupied by permanent residents of craftsmen and merchants started to form at the place of lower town of Tallinn. Tallinn Town Council (consilium consulum civitatis) was first mentioned in the historical document issued by King Eric IV Ploughpenny of Denmark on 15 May 1248, which granted the Lübeck Charter to Tallinn. From this time on Tallinn Town Council remained a leading institution in almost all areas of the life of the city for almost six and a half centuries. The task of the Town Council was representing the city in the international arena – i .e. conclusion of agreements with foreign governors and cities, taking care of fulfilling the obligations of Tallinn as a member of Hanseatic League, participating in Hanseatic Days, conducting commercial negotiations, protecting the rights of the citizens abroad, ensuring justice and order, responsibility for defence capability of the city, accountancy on real estate of the city, collection of citizen taxes and other taxes, partial accountancy on costs and revenues of churches and almshouses, etc. The Town Council kept accountancy, rent, land and citizen registers and correspondence with other governors in homeland as well as abroad, and worked through the requests and claims of the citizens.
The Town Council consisted of burgomasters and aldermen. As a rule, all of the latter had a position in the Town Council. At the latest from the middle of 16th century, a syndic also belonged to the Town Council. After that there was paid labour employed in the service of the Town Council, who did not belong to the membership of the Town Council, like parish clerk, bailiffs, janitor etc.
The Town Council co-opted its members by closed elections. The number of aldermen varied from 19 to 25. Initially the position of alderman was an honourable post and the Town Council acted in two shifts year by year. Only half of the members of the Town Council worked at a time. They formed the so called sitting Town Council (sit ender Rat). The half of the Town Council retired for a year was called old or resting Town Council (alter Rat). Aldermen used their free year for administering their private business.
In its activities the Town Council followed the Lübeck law, and in addition it issued its own regulations and orders (bursprake, willküre), which were proclaimed in public to the citizens. When making most important decisions the Town Council had to take into account the opinion of major guilds, whereat the most powerful guild was the Great Guild.
The sittings formed the usual working method of the Town Council and as a rule they were held in Town Hall, in the clerk’s room situated near the market-place (Town Hall Square) or in the Church of the Holy Ghost, where also the Town Council’s religious services were held.
Change of the seigneur did not cause relevant changes in the activity of the Town Council. So called regency period, when in 1785 the Towns Law (so called pardon letter to towns) issued by Cathrine II, replaced the Town Council as a town government temporarily by City Duma, forms a separate interim chapter in the history of the local government of Tallinn. Former functions of the Town Council were restated by the emperor Paul I in 1796.
Breaking stage in the history of local government of Tallinn started on 26 March 1877, when by the ukase of the emperor Alexander II the 1870 General Russian Town Law was established in the Baltic towns. The Town Council was replaced by the elective city council (Duma) and government (Uprava). The city council also elected the mayor. The first elections to Tallinn City Council took place on 24–25 November 1877. The first meeting of the new council was held on 22 December 1877. Oscar Arthur von Riesemann was elected the first mayor of Tallinn. The Town Council remained only as a court institution.
9. On 9 July 1889 Russian court law was established in Baltic provinces by which Tallinn Town Council was liquidated. The last festive meeting of the Town Council was held on 17 November 1889.

      1. Mayors of Tallinn

    1. Future vision

    2. The purpose is to improve the availability of the functions offered by Tallinn City Government to the citizens. Mostly it is done by improvement of e-environment, but it is also important to make the whole package of services available to the citizens and partners at the same place.
  1. Tallinn

    1. Natural conditions

      1. Geographical coordinates – at latitude 59°26´ N and at longitude 24°46´ E.

      2. Landscape factors – coastal shallow of Northern Estonia, flagstone of North-Eastern Estonia, and clint of North-Eastern Estonia.

      3. Natural resources – clay, flagstone, sand, groundwater, lake sediments.

      4. Water bodies – Gulf of Finland, Lake Ülemiste, Lake Harku, Pirita River.

      5. Drinking water – mostly from Lake Ülemiste, a little from groundwater. Climate – average air temperature +5.0 °C, rainfall 550 mm, vegetation period 175 days.

      6. Natural vegetation – pine forest, mixed forest at clint. Bogs – bogs of Pääsküla and Tondi, Suur-Sõjamäe and Õismäe.

      7. Nature preserves – birds reserve Natura 2000 at Paljassaare peninsula, landscape reserves of Pirita and Nõmme, several parks (the largest is Kadriorg).

      8. Climate – there is transitional temperate climate which is a mix of continental and maritime climate. The weather is softer than in inland. Yearly rainfall is about 55–880 mm. Yearly average temperature is about +5 °C or a little bit higher. The coldest month is usually February, when the average temperature is -5 °C. The warmest month is considered to be July, when the average temperature is +18 °C. But major variations from the norms occur quite often (which concerns both coldness and warmth). Western winds are dominating.

      9. From east the border of the city centre is formed by clint of North-Estonia and at that clint the biggest park – Kadriorg is situated. Ülemiste and Lasnamäe are situated above the clint.

Scheme of natural and scenic factors of Tallinn

1 Absolute altitude of plateau Toompea is 47 metres.

      1. Formation of Tallinn (on the basis of D.Bruns “Tallinn. Development of Urban Construction”; schemes and photos are from the same book, also the ideas from the article of P. Lehtovuori “Catching the Opportunity of Tallinn Bay. Formation of an Urban Icon” (Maja 1/2008) have been used.

Development of the urban construction of Tallinn has been very closely related to the development of sea and ports. Gradual elevation of the ground has changed the coastline so that probably the port initially formed somewhere at the place of Kalev swimming-pool; a foreland situated in the north from the old town and protected this way a little bay reaching the coast from northers and north-westers. Favourable geological location (port with Toompea castle) probably caused the creation of urban community here. In the 13th century the coastal territory was about 2.1–2.6 meters lower than nowadays and therefore the sea reached about 1 km and in 11th–12th century about 1.5 km more forward into the city territory; the coastline reached especially far to inland from eastern part of the old town, from the present area of Kalev swimming pool and Viru square. Only at the place of Kadriorg park the coastline was approximately at the same place as it is today.

water conduit of the port



water conduit of the city

Natural situation of Tallinn in the Middle Ages and its partial change in the following centuries (by R. Zobel)


Scheme of the area of Tallinn in the middle of the 16th century (by R. Zobel) Possible location of the ancient suburbs

1—Kalamaja, 2—Köismäe, 3—Kalarand, 4—Tõnismägi, 5—Härmapõllu, 6—Kivisilla, 7—Pleekmäe, 8—Settlement around the mills near the headwaters of the river Härjapea

lready at very early stage of development of Tallinn some settlement areas were created near the city – those were the initiations of the oldest suburbs. Their location was mainly determined by landscape peculiarities and ancient roads went through these places. One of the oldest suburbs was Kalamaja – area of fishermen, boat-men and pilots, which was situated at north-western side from the old town at the high coast of the Tallinn Bay. There are different opinions about the formation time of Kalamaja and other suburbs. Between Kalamaja and old town there was the living area of rope twisters (Reperbahn) – suburb of Köismäe with its workshops and long funicular railway for making ropes; the first written notice about it is from the year 1352. It was located between current Suur-Patarei (earlier called Reperbahn), Vana-Kalamaja and Suurtüki streets and reached the fortification of the old town. Close to that place, on the low coast of the bay, the oldest fishermen port was probably situated. With time, Kalamaja, Köismäe and Kalarand grew together and the urban community was called Kalamaja.