Tallinn: Ülemiste Terminal should be built to Zaha Hadid Architects design

1st place,
1st place, "Light Stream." Source: Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan OÜ

The design submitted by Zaha Hadid Architects and OÜ Esplan should be used to build Ülemiste Terminal after it came first in the design competition, and detailed plans being drawn up for the other entries should be scrapped, Tallinn's Urban Planning Department said.

In November, first place was awarded to Zaha Hadid Architects and OÜ Esplan's design "Light Stream" to build the joint terminal of the Rail Baltic railroad. Out of four submitted entries to the competition the design was placed first, followed by Innopolis Insenerid's "Ülemiste Leaf" and third place to DBA Progetti S.p.A. and HML Project Management OÜ's "Videveik."

Despite the designs being ranked, "Light Stream" was not named the winner as it as said all three designs were of high quality. Instead, the drawing up of detailed plans and negotiations began to see which would be the most suitable design.

On Friday, Ignar Fjuk, head of Tallinn's Urban Planning Department, said this competition did not adhere to the best practices of the Architects' Union Architectural Competition, adding that organizing a design competition with multiple winners was extremely problematic.

"One cannot speak about consistent high quality among the top three works since it has not been possible to carry out the filtering out of the best works. After all, third place actually means finishing second to last, and second place finishing third to last," Fjuk wrote in a letter sent to Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ board member Marko Kivila.

1st place, "Light Stream." Source: Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan OÜ

Fjuk said the detailed plan for the construction of the Ülemiste Terminal must be based on the work of "Light Stream," which was recognized by a majority of the competition's jury.

"This design most closely matches the aim of the competition, which was to get the best spatial solution (design) for the building of Rail Baltic's Ülemiste Joint Terminal and the surrounding urban space," he said.

The jury selected "Light Stream" as the best design, and Fjuk is positive about the detailed plan and its design for the construction of the terminal and the surrounding public space.

"To the best of our knowledge, the jury 's decison was unanimous, and no member of the jury considered 'The Ülemiste Leaf' the best solution. The architectural solution of 'Videveik' was acknowledged, but it was found to be unsuitable for Tallinn because it does not tie the city space together but splits it further," he said.

Rail Baltic: Three designs are feasible

Kivila responded to Fjuk's comments, saying the negotiated tender procedure following the design contest will be carried out in accordance with the Public Procurement Act.

"According to Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ, all three design ideas involved in the negotiated procurement process are of a high architectural and functional level and are also feasible in light of the task set by the design competition," Kivila said.

He added that Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ cannot favor one of the three designs because it would violate the procedure for selecting the successful bidder in the procurement procedure. But he hopes for constructive cooperation with Tallinn City Council in the detailed planning procedure of Ülemiste Joint Terminal even if the preferred bidder does not win.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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