Vallikraavi street that winds below the slopes of Toome Hill in Tartu will get three new capacious apartment buildings this year, doubling the number and area of living spaces on this short street that has merely a couple dozen houses altogether. Systemic densification of old towns enhances the possibilities of urban life and helps to save energy through more economical mobility.
Kaija-Luisa Kurik gives an overview of the results of a 30-months-long partnership project between the Estonian National Heritage Board and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, titled ‘Historic Town Centres Revitalised Through Heritage-Based Local Development’, and tries to decipher the increasingly close connections between heritage preservation, urban studies, and sustainable development.
Ewa Effiom dives into the significance of conservation in the debates surrounding contemporary architecture, beauty and functionality.
Preservation has achieved cultural significance as a lens through which various urban experts have come to imagine what a socially and environmentally sound future might look like. As an approach, preservation has been applied to disparate phenomena ranging from historic neighbourhoods and natural environments to democracy and identity.
Replies by Ott Kadarik (Kadarik Tüür Architects, author of Kalaranna 8 buildings) and urbanism-related Facebook group ‘Mitte_tallinn’
The genesis of Kalarand is a search for novel urban ideals. Amidst arduous planning and controversy, a number of urban activists matured and professionalised. In a prototyping-like process, several expectations we consider fundamental today on the subject matter of public space and spatial justice were made visible, and solidified. Johanna Holvandus writes on the changes in urban activism and urban processes.
The Kalaranna development in progress was preceded by a controversial, landmark planning process lasting from 2008–2016, during which the Telliskivi Society and a large variety of urban activists stood for the spatial qualities and interests of the seaside promenade and the popular ad hoc sea-bathing spot. The urban space and architecture that took shape as a result is reviewed by the capital’s city architect of the time, Endrik Mänd, who was directly involved in the processes.
A sense of mission is what drives the centenary Estonian Association of Architects to act as a replacement agent for the institution of the state architect that is currently missing in the Estonian architectural arena. Andro Mänd, Chairman of the Association, writes about what it takes to organise cross-disciplinary collaboration, an integral part of spatial design, based on the example of site selection for Paide State High School.
Indrek Allmann discusses landward- and seaward-facing small harbours.
In the search for architectural strategies in times of a worsening climate crisis and diminishing resources, vernacular architecture has moved into spotlight. This is mostly due to its ability to passively respond to the local climate and make use of the ‘as found’—not only in terms of natural resources and building materials, but also in terms of available craftsmanship and local communities’ skillsets. Valuable knowledge of vernacular architecture, a pragmatic yet poetic, and in fact a scalable concept, is mostly passed on through buildings themselves as epistemic artefacts.
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