Speculative Project. The Vision of Heliorg in Harjuoru

‘Heliorg’ explores the possibilities for reviving the bastion belt surrounding Tallinn Old Town. The defence function of fortifications disappeared in the middle of the 19th century with the green belt gradually developing into a ring promenade. The industrial revolution brought increasingly more people into the city and by the turn of the century the population had doubled. The bastion belt became an artery of public life with new markets, churches, a railway station, theatres and pavilions built and studded with various exhibitions and sports events. Parks became a year-round meeting place connecting various city districts. The buildings were destroyed during the Soviet occupation and the bastions gradually turned into dangerous thickets, while some of the moat parks became merely the deserted and barren foreground on the Old Town postcards.

The given vision connects the Old Town with the surrounding street space turning the park landscape into a versatile and biodiverse public space to attract visitors. Just as it is important to maintain the architectural heritage of the Old Town, it is equally important to maintain also the operational heritage of the city centre. Both in the Old Town and in the bastion belt vision, streets are winding up and down with facilities accessible directly from the street. All businesses have a large display window and a terrace in front of it for serving drinks or products manufactured right here in the town centre. The main resident of the park area is the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra together with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir whose activities will flow from the building into the park filling the empty bandstands with music.

Aerial view of Freedom Square. Photo by Maa-amet.

PUBLISHED: Maja 107 (winter 2022) with main topic Evolution or Revolution?

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