Competition plan for the area around the Patarei prison and Seaplane Harbour 

Tallinn, Estonia
Client: State Real Estate Ltd
Open architecture competition: 2007, honourable mention
Size: 70,000 m2

Riigi Kinnisvara AS held a competition for the spatial planning of the area of the former Patarei prison and seaplane harbour in Tallinn in 2007. The area in question lies right next to Tallinn city centre and is one of the most important junctions in the city layout. The area is dominated by many spectacular buildings – the seaplane hangars that form part of the Maritime Museum and the Patarei defence barracks.
The building of the Patarei coastal fortress on a territory of 4 ha was commenced by order of the Russian Tsar Nikolai I in 1828. After completion in 1840, it functioned as an artillery battery.  The Crimean War, which started in Europe and Asia in 1853, also reached the Baltic Sea and made it clear that all of the Russian coastal forts on the Finnish Gulf were hopelessly out-dated: the large barracks were easily overrun by landing operations. The defence barracks were made into regular barracks and the embrasures built into windows in 1862. World War I left the barracks fairly untouched without any noticeable traces, but in the meantime a great deficiency in prisons had arisen in Tallinn, and so a detention institution was established there in 1920, and by the end of the year the buildings had been converted into the central prison. The central prison continued to operate there until 2002. Since 2007, a culture park has been open there and guided tours offered. The quest to enliven the historical Patarei buildings continues.

The aim of the competition entry was to create an attractive urban space and tie it logistically with the present city structure, to preserve the important views of architectural monuments and the sea, to create a new housing plan that suits the urban space and connects with existing dominant buildings. The recurring idea was to make the seaside area a contemporary environment that is welcoming and multifunctional with a seaside promenade, town squares, museums, cafes, office premises and apartment buildings.