All over the Europe and world, there is process of factories moving out of cities, leaving old buildings behind. There is a need to find new functions. During gentrification process new owners are eager to demolish old architectural structures.

Fahle project is good example how to cherish and honor old buildings and to use them at the same time and how modern architecture techniques can be implemented in giving old buildings new life and usable function.

Main themes of our project are: in-between space, accessibility, semi-natural biodiversity, architectural heritage protection, sustainability.

Fahle Gallery Street is the heart of the urban space of Fahle Park, created in the area of ​a historic paper mill. The landscape for the gallery is unique indoor street in Estonia and in Nordic countries with year-round heating, based on an unusual concept that creates a feeling of nature breaking into the urban space. The wailed up historical street in Fahle Quarter has been given new life as a green gallery with a protective glass roof. The sturdiness of limestone walls is offset by slender steel.

To achieve a non-conventional solution, the approach should be non-conventional as well.

Therefore we assumed that for some reason the area has been unhabited by people for some time- ecological succession has reached a stage where a thick plant and shrub layer has emerged with the first pioneering trees dominating the vertical dimension. Just as the trees are about to take over, the community is replaced as human come back. The entire space is green and alive, as nature has come to use the man-made environment as a resource for clinging, climbing, rooting, nesting, hiding.

Every corner, crack and niche has a practical value: cracks and gaps allow climbers to cling on them, the humus under a loose stone protects delicate roots while scratches provide a home for fungi. People return to the environment and searching for a place in this richness, they remove only the necessary elements and retain most of the abundant greenery. It results in an exuberant, yet controlled and safe environment that is made comfortable and usable for people: you can sit, swing, eat, touch water and relate to plants – warm and light in any weather.

The lost and recovered environment resonates with the user who is always searching for something new but not necessarily scary. The tropical synergy dominating the indoor space refers to the opulent Estonian plants proliferating on wastelands as well as in forests and bogs: the safe, warm and green indoor gallery provides a model of this free wilderness on a convenient scale. New, but easily accessible as even most alienated person can be in harmony with nature, a place from they originate from.

The new public space is people-centred. Cars have been directed to the underground and above-ground parking garages on the outer perimeter of the quarter. Inside the block there is a space between the houses for pedestrians. It is often used for photo shoots, filming, public events, walks, afternoon coffees ect. Here you can sit, swing, eat, touch the water, interact with plants – in warm and white weather.

Similarly to the outdoor area in Fahle, also the indoor gallery reflects a situation where the spaces seem to have been uninhabited for decades. The strength of the project is the conceptual connection of the outdoor space and the indoor space and blurring of the boundary between these two.

This former industry area is many times larger than the current development and the client has expressed a desire to continue to expand this concept.

The project has received a lot of support, and many developers have expressed a desire to create such “semi-outdoor spaces”, because in our climate it significantly prolongs the time spent outdoors at any time of the year.

Architecture: Lumia, studioaArgus

Landscape architecture: Kino maastikuarhitektid

Project location:

Fahle Maja

Tartu mnt 84a, 10112 Tallinn, Harju County, Estonia

Design year: 2019

Year Built: 2021


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