Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Strange things in Tallinn

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I was but a lass of 18 when I read “The Fountainhead” and was swept away by Howard Roark’s incorruptable rightness and the unusurpable power of architecture to define who we are. I’ve mellowed, wisened, thankfully matured with age – but my fascination with architecture in all its forms continues. Especially new architecture in old places.

This precinct in Tallinn, Estonia was particularly fascinating. It’s a small country, just over a million people, so there are no Trump Towers like you find in New York or Atlantis Hotels of the Dubai variety. Everything is small – human scale – nothing god-like. I was quite fond of this angular projection sprouting from the entranceway to these buildings. The man in the photo is about 5’6″ – so we have a bit of scale.

Even more interesting is this block of flats (which I shamefully chopped the top off.) No, it’s NOT a wide-angle lens – the building is leaning like that. Not sure what the plan is, other than a whimsically leaning tower of Tallinn. But you will note the turn of the century sandstone building beside it… There were dozens of them in the area and this one received a rather generous and subtle renovation.

But what the heck is going on here??? Three mini-tower extensions! Who thought this up? And who said OK? I’m not sure I hate it, but I’m pretty sure it’s architectural miscegenation. But as curious and inexplicable as these things were –

This is really the most baffling of all. A two story extension on top of a three story sandstone building.

To be fair, the whole area was full of experimental pieces – and whilst the Old City is virtually unchanged from the middle ages, there do need to be spaces for contemporary living and working.

Here in New Zealand, a very new place, anything over fifty years old is considered heritage. It’s a silly policy that results in a lot of law breaking. In Tallinn, these 100 year old buildings are virtually new.

Twenty-first century consruction – I’m pretty sure it will be gone in fifty years – no worry about making it to heritage status. But chances are, it will be easily recycled for the next generation.

In the meantime – I think it does the job. And I love those streetlamps.

Hüvasti!

(for now…)

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Written by Titirangi Storyteller

10/02/2010 at 9:52 pm

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