Streets as Public Domain

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Site as potential street

Street is a powerful linear spatial organizing device for the physical urban fabric as well as functionality of city metabolism and circulation. Street not only works as leaner infrastructure to channelize vehicular traffic, but also creates a site and a sense of place for pedestrian and surrounding community. However in reality and planning, street space is often over emphasized for motorized accessibility but ignored as public domain and a site creating vibrant urban living and community identity. We propose to establish a new street for this site as a hybrid urban element for multimodal transportation and urban living.

Street as a monumental megastructure

Rather than a leftover space by buildings, the potential street could be a monumental mega-structure channelizing motorized traffic and public transport, hosting pedestrian activity and street life, creating a landmark for local identity and providing a landscaped zone for the community. This street could act as a bridge to connect various activity and district.

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Proposed Layers + Movement Patterns

Transportation Center: A multimodal transportation center provides trolley and bus service with convenient connections throughout Tallinn. It is the only freestanding element acting as a front gate of the “bridge” at this major intersection.

International Market: A food market supports both residents and tourists for satisfying a wide range of daily needs. Courtyards bring natural light to the middle of the market, with a tall glass prism housing vertical circulation and a café on the deck-level as an entrance to the market.

International Exhibition Hall: Space for media arts, digital equipment and digital design products and demonstration stations to promote international trade-shows and celebrate Estonia’s innovation in digital technology and electronic communication. As in the market, a tall glass prism is inserted to provide vertical circulation and house a learning center for digital technology above the deck level.

Indoor Public Atrium/ Event Space: A large space is dedicated to public use as a heated indoor city square to promote socialization and artistic activities throughout the year. An indoor bamboo garden located the eastern end is a key feature of the atrium. The bamboo’s refreshing shade of green at the water’s edge is a comforting feature, especially during the cold winter months. A tall prism-like greenhouse is situated to take advantage of natural light from the southern sun, and the greenhouse features an observation deck at its peak.

Bamboo Garden/ Observation: During good weather, the entire glass wall between the interior and exterior spaces on the north side could be opened to encourage spontaneous interaction between indoor and outdoor activities. An indoor bamboo garden located the eastern end is a key feature of the atrium. The bamboo’s refreshing shade of green at the water’s edge is a comforting feature, especially during the cold winter months. A tall prism-like greenhouse is situated to take advantage of natural light from the southern sun, and the greenhouse features an observation deck at its peak.

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Street as a monumental urban feature

The upper deck is for public use where people can stroll, promenade, jog, ride bicycles or just enjoy a lunch break. The space consists of alternating linear and undulating patterns of landscape design made of precast concrete planks. Its natural landscape consists of plantings such as shrubs, small trees and other landscape features. During the summer, colorful flowerbeds will be planted in patterns suggesting traditional fabrics of Estonia. The proposed landscape features are informed by a set of sustainable design principles to promote native planting materials for ease of maintenance and longevity.

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(Collabration with  Prof. Hiro Hata and Yi Chen, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo)