Plans for new main street connecting Kalamaja and Old Town unveiled

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Designs for a new Vana-Kalamaja tänav. On the right are temporarily opened garden spaces. Source: Kavakava

In addition to the extension of Vana-Kalamaja tänav to Old Town and renovation works to its surrounding areas, the area between the Balti Jaam train station and its bus station will be reconstructed.

Long discussions about reconstructing Vana-Kalamaja tänav have now reached a point where a construction project will be drawn up in June. A construction procurement is planned for the second half of the year, Tallinn deputy mayor Kalle Klandorf told ERR.

One of the goals of the reconstruction works is a better connection between the city center, the Kalamaja district and the sea, Klandorf added.

"For this purpose, the street will be designed around pedestrians and cyclists in order to connect Old Town and Kalamaja into one urban space. The architectural solution of Balti Jaam Square also sees street crossings over Toompuiestee and the area between Balti Jaam and the bus station will be extended," he added.

A view of Balti Jaam and Toompea Castle from the end of Vana-Kalamaja tänav in 2019. Source: Google maps

The construction project will be based on the winning project of an idea contest. "Kasvulava", designed by Kavakava architectural bureau, was initiated in 2019, but the final deadline is set at June 19 this year. As of Wednesday, an application for a building permit has been processed.

"The deadline was moved because such changes to the street space and use caused differing opinions and reaching a consensus took a little time," Klandorf noted.

"Kasvulava" sees Balti Jaam station becoming a connecting part of the Kalamaja district, which will make the district a part of the city center. The new station square is designed to be a central hub for movement and public transport transfers.

According to Kavakava bureau, the station square's design is a simple and functional one as it is an active logistics hub. The open square is covered with granite tiles, roofs will be provided for the bus station. A small square-shaped garden will be added between Toompuiestee and the station pavilion.

Design of the new Balti Jaam station (building to the right) square. Source: Kavakava

The extension of Vana-Kalamaja tänav to Nunne tänav will move along a classic two-lane boulevard, pedestrians can move from the Vana-Kalamaja extension to Nunne tänav with ease.

Kalamaja Square and "Community building"

Pedestrian movement and the street space in the middle of the renovated Vana-Kalamaja tänav is divided asymmetrically: the road is taken off the center axis of the street and is planned as a tight, 2.5 m asphalt strip. The street will also have a strip for street furniture and landscaping. Landscaping boxes will be left to the locals to take care of.

The street is capped off on the other end by the intersecting Kalaranna tänav, where a three-meter high viewing platform will be constructed.

The viewing platform on the end of Vana-Kalamaja tänav. Source: Kavakava

Another square called the Kalamaja Square will be developed with a building called Community building (Kogukonna maja) in the center. The building is set to host business and community activities and is designed with inspiration from greenhouses. The building will have a common kitchen bar, toilets and presentation equipment and it will be built out of reusable elements and will be replaced in 5-10 years. The square is separated from traffic with high landscaping.

The project also reads that the directions of Suur-Patarei tänav and Väike-Patarei tänav should be interchanged in order to make Vana-Kalamaja tänav safer for pedestrians.

"Kasvulava" sees 50 parking spaces on the street, but those would change in time: the construction would begin with more spaces, which would eventually become stopping points with limited times and exchange points for shared-use rental cars.

The designed Kalamaja Square. Source: Kavakava

Parts of Vana-Kalamaja tänav will be bordered by gardens that can be opened with panels, which will allow for private gardening areas to be connected to the street temporarily.

Kavakava's designs took into consideration the local community and its future directions, with keywords such as shared economy, sustainability, alternative modes of transport, urban culture and social diversity.

According to the architects, the space solution is not final and will improve with the local community's touch. "The final shape of the rhizome space will be born in the process," the architects wrote. The bureau also proposes that the street could have a work group of curators that would consist of local residents, the district architect and landscape architect.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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