Zaha Hadid Architects win design competition for Ülemiste terminal

"Light Stream", the winning entry in the Ülemiste rail terminal design competition. Source: Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan OÜ

The design project for the Rail Baltic Ülemiste Terminal was won by Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan, the same work that was selected as the most appropriate in the architecture competition in November.

On Friday, the second round of negotiations for the design of the Ülemiste terminal ended and the joint project "Light Stream" by Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan was declared the winner, Rail Baltic Estonia announced.

The first round concluded in November but despite the top three designs in the competition 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.

During the process entrepreneurs at Ülemiste campus complained to Rail Baltic Estonia that after the results of the architectural competition had been published in November their actions had not suggested they were committed to following through with the winning design. Entrepreneurs considered Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan's design to be the only viable plan.

Entrepreneurs of Ülemiste campus who contested the decision represent the Ülemiste Center, T1 Mall of Tallinn, Technopolis Ülemiste and Mainor Ülemiste, the companies who will be situated next to the new terminal.

Ignar Fjuk, head of Tallinn's Urban Planning Department, agreed and said that the joint terminal of the Rail Baltic railway at Ulemiste in Tallinn should be built on the basis of the winning design of the architectural competition and added that the department believes that the other works of the competition do not deserve to have a detailed plan drawn up and implemented. 

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

Marko Kivila, the acting member of the board of Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ, said he stuck by the company's decision and the action it had taken.

"Claims regarding the pushing out of one or other work are absolutely inadequate as the successful bid was selected on an objective basis by combination of the points of the panel of judges and the price bid submitted by the bidder. An unbiased panel of judges determined the points on October 1 and the latest bids made by bidders were received this morning," Kivila said.

It was also possible to successfully negotiate the cost of designing the Ulemiste terminal of Rail Baltic with the bidders and achieve a significantly lower price compared to the initial bids. The successful tender was selected on the basis of the points awarded by the panel of judges of the architectural competition, which accounted for 40 percent, and the price bid submitted, which accounted for 60 percent.

Postimees reported the price was €660,000 lower than initially estimated.

Rail Baltic Estonia announced an international design competition in May to find the most suitable architectural solution for the Rail Baltic joint terminal to be built at Ülemiste. 

Rail Baltic is a double track, European standard 1,435 mm gauge electrified railway for passenger and freight transport to be built from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border. The overall length of the railway will be 870 kilometers. The infrastructure to be established will enable passengers to travel from Tallinn to Parnu in 40 minutes and from Tallinn to Riga in two hours.

Zaha Hadid Architects also won the competition to design Tallinn's Old City Harbor.



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Editor: Helen Wright

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