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ZHA wins Port of Tallinn contest

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Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has won an international competition to remasterplan Tallinn’s historic Old City Harbour

The practice defeated a six-strong shortlist which included Alejandro Zaera-Polo’s studio, AZPML, and Helsinki-based ALA Architects to win the prestigious commission in the heart of the Estonian capital.

ZHA’s Stream City masterplan, covering development up to 2030, will upgrade passenger facilities within the historic harbour, enhance surrounding residential districts and deliver new public transport and pedestrian facilities for the area.

Port of Tallinn chair Valdo Kalm said: ‘ZHA very skilfully created a balanced connection between urban space and the port area with some carefully considered access roads and traffic solutions.

‘What stands out in their designs are the diagonals running through them of the pedestrian footpaths, around which a very diverse and memorable city space has been established.’

He continued: ‘Interesting details include the water features they’ve designed along Reidi Street and their partial – and very smooth and effective – raising of the areas for pedestrians up to another level.

‘Adding to the overall feel of integration in their designs is the urban square and greenery they’ve come up with for the area around Admiralty Basin, stretching all the way from the front of Terminal A to the front of Terminal D.

‘Their entry was also marked out by strong logistics and property development analysis and a convincing and realistic projection of the implementation of the masterplan stage by stage.’

The appointment comes nearly 10 years after ZHA won a contest for the Vilnius Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in fellow Baltic State Lithuania, which is currently on hold.

ZHA completed a new harbour terminal in Salerno last year and has also drawn up a large-scale waterfront masterplan for Bilbao’s Zorrozaurre district.

For AZPML, the shortlisting came 22 years after its founder Alejandro Zaera-Polo won a competition for the Yokohama International Passenger Terminal with his former practice Foreign Office Architects.

Riga-based Witteveen+Bos Latvia won a separate contest for a new harbour bridge in Tallinn in July.

Judges for the masterplan competition included Kalm, city architect Endrik Mänd, and the vice-chair of the Estonian Association of Architects, Peeter Pere.


  • Alver Arhitektid OÜ (Estonia)
  • ALA Architects (Finland)
  • City Form Office with KCAP Architects & Planners (Estonia and Netherlands)
  • KavaKava OÜ with AZPML (Estonia and UK)
  • Terroir ApS with Karres en Brands landschapsarchitecten (Denmark and Netherlands)
  • Zaha Hadid Architects (UK)
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