Roundtable Tallinn: Rethinking Public Buildings for a New Civic Landscape

Lawrence Barth, Professor, Housing&Urbanism Graduate School, Architectural Association, UK

His professional practice and core research interests bring architecture onto the terrain of contemporary urban strategy. Currently, Mr. Barth is coordinating a new research cluster entitled The Architecture of Innovation. This cluster integrates the architectural research of the Housing and Urbanism Programme into multi-disciplinary efforts to develop a dynamic urbanism for today’s knowledge economy. Mr. Barth works independently as a consultant urbanist for cities, design practices and research institutes. At INTA, Lawrence is leading a Community of Competence on Workspace Urbanism, linking the innovation economy to a new approach in planning and spatial development.

Presentation: Workspace Urbanism and the Architecture of Transformation (download pdf)
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How do we link the discussions on the new role of town halls and other public buildings to the innovation economy and workspace urbanism? Why is it important to look at the growing industries when redefining an area through a project like the new City Hall?
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Joost Beunderman, Partner, Research 00:/, London, UK

Joost Beunderman joined 00:/ in late 2008 to work on a wide range of researchand strategy projects. Prior to that he was a Researcher at the think tank Demos, where he co-authored publications such as BCN-LDN2020, a collection of essays on urban governance and citizen participation; Equally Spaced, a publication for the Commission for Racial Equality which explored the potential of public realm and social infrastructure strategies to contribute to interaction between diverse social groups; and Seen and Heard - Reclaiming the public realm with children and young people. He is also an Associate at Urhahn Urban Design. Recently, Joost has contributed to the publications "The Spontaneous City", that proposes alternative directions of design thinking and urban planning opposed to traditional rigid city planning, and "Compendium for the Civic Economy", on how local leaders can create the fertile ground for the civic economy to grow.

Tallinn_JoostPresentation: Re-making Place and the Emerging Civic Economy (download pdf)
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Research 00 just published a book called “Compendium for the Civic Economy” in which you describe several case studies of civic entrepreneurship, started by communities in their neighbourhoods. How do you think the projects you describe in the book will be affected by government spending cuts? To which extent is the civic economy still dependent on public money?
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Marek Bryx, Deputy Rector, Warsaw School of Economics, Poland

Marek Bryx is member of the Steering Committee on City Regeneration for the Preservation of National Heritage in Poland and head of the team responsible for preparing economic and financial processes of city regeneration. Marek Bryx was previously Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure. The Warsaw School of Economics is planning an international competition for the redevelopment of the campus into a public and multifunctional learning space.

Presentation: The case of the campus of the Warsaw School of Economics (download pdf)
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Janis Dripe, Former City Architect of Riga, Latvia
Architect and diplomat. Former Chief architect of Riga City. After completion of architectural studies at Riga Technical University in 1977, till the early 1990s he mostly dealt with urban design (master plans, reconstruction plans for several Latvia's cities and districts of Riga). From 1990 till1996 Dripe was lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture of Riga Technical University. He was vice-president of the Latvian Architects Association (1982-1992) and its President (1993-1996). Between 1993 and 1995 Dripe was Minister of Culture, from 1996 till 2006 he was Ambassador of Latvia to Great Britain and Sweden, and served as Head of State Protocol.

Interview: Do you think the collaboration between Riga and Tallinn will change in the coming years? What would be the advantages of increased Baltic connection and collaboration?
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Steven Geeraert, Project Manager Public Domain, City Planning Department Antwerp, Belgium

Mr Geeraert worked as an independent ir-architect and urban planner for Studio Associato Viganò Secchi (Milan / I) where he contributed to various projects and numerous international competitions. He was responsible for the implementation and monitoring of all the Belgian projects. He is co-founder of MAARCH with Andrea Carlesso and Stefano Peluso, a design group for architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. Since 2010 he is active at the Department of Urban Planning of the City of Antwerp, where he served as project leader of public domains for the master plan and the redesign of the Schelde quays, Park Spoor Noord and the Theater Square. Park Spoor Noord has had a profound impact on the neighborhood and the city. An old and decrepit railway land was transformed into a contemporary, sustainable and extensive urban landscape with an emphasis on interaction, green, light, space, recreation, culture and sport.

Presentation: Park Spoor Noord / Creating Identity: High-quality Spaces for Multiple Civic Functions (download pdf)
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Antwerp is known for its fantastic public spaces and the programmes that the City successfully assigns to them. People seem to appropriate the City’s motto: “The City belongs to everyone!” Park Spoor Noord, the Theater Square, the quays, the docks, the use of temporary vacant lands etc, they all seem to carry Antwerp’s commonly constructed identity. However, these places seem often so successful that around them we can detect a trend towards a single type of housing, the loft-urban living style associated with gentrification. Is this, as the sociologist Sharon Zukin argues, a threat to the diversity of communities, resulting in a dominating “sameness”? So maybe, eventually, these places do not longer belong to everyone, excluding people. Are you at the Urban Planning Department of the City worried about these trends? And what is the role of design in this?

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Jakob Lange, Partner, BIG Architects, Denmark

Jakob Lange is has been collaborating with Bjarke Ingels since 2003.  As a project leader for several prize and award-winning projects, Jakob has been instrumental in several of BIG’s largest commissions. He has led design and development of The Mountain and most recently served as the project leader for the new Tallinn Town Hall in Estonia, which will be completed in 2012. In addition to his skills as a Design Architect, Jakob has led website designs for PLOT & BIG, which were nominated for a Cyber Lion at the 2004 Cannes Advertising Festival. Jakob has also designed the webistes and salesmaterial for both the Mountain and VM Houses. Tallinn's new City Hall, called "The Public Village" intends to be a public institution that reflects the 21st century participatory democracy. The architectural language of the building is aiming to stimulate a transparent and coherent governance.

Presentation: The Public Village: Tallinn's New City Hall
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Jakob LangeInterview: In what way does the design process of an “interactive” building, a public very accessible building, differ of the design of a more “representative” building? How do you see the potential that this project will bring to the city?

Teele Pehk, Linnalabor Urban Lab, Tallinn, Estonia

Urban Lab is a testing ground for urban innovations. We work on new solutions to improve and diversify the urban life. As the name tells, the Lab is all about experimenting. Our projects involve scientific, social and artistic methods. Urban Lab is the focal point for studying cities, urban issues and phenomena. Created in 2006 under the name of Urban Positive, the Lab has passed its trial period. We have laid down the principles of action and determined our main work areas: popularising urban studies, promoting citizen participation in urban planning, and enhancing sustainable city development. Each of these involves location-specific activities.

Interview: How should the civic society be involved in the regeneration of the waterfront area and what is the role for temporary interventions?
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John Worthington, Co-Founder DEGW, Director, the Academy of Urbanism, London, United Kingdom

Co-founder DEGW, an International firm of strategic briefing and design consultants , Board member the Academy of Urbanism, and chair of the Dublin City Urbanism advisory panel. Since Co-founding DEGW in 1973, John has focussed on strategic briefing and supporting both the public and private sectors in making the most effective use of resources, by matching available space and buildings to organisational demand. Recent publications include Managing the Brief for Better Design (Routledge, Second Edition 2010) co-authored with Alastair Blyth, and Reinventing the Workplace (Architectural Press Second edition 2006).  

Presentation: The Role of Design in Democratic Engagement / Managing the Civic Estate for the Public Good (download pdf)
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Interview: With DEGW you have built up a remarkable experience of making places and spaces work. How do you apply this to a City Hall? What makes a great civic space? Why do some civic buildings perform better than others? What are the keys to successful public buildings?
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Michel Sudarskis, Secretary General, INTA

Michel Sudarskis is responsible for the development of the exchange programmes and transfer of know-how in the many fields of urban development: new towns, urban renewal, mobility strategies metropolitan clusters, creativity and city innovation, housing and urban services, sustainable urbanism, renovation of historic centres, tourism and leisure as levers for development and urban integration, etc. Michel Sudarskis has a PhD in Political Sciences and a MS in International Economics; he received numerous academic awards in statistics and economics. Recently created, INTA's Communities of Competence are addressing new challenges that are emerging in present-day urban development to find practical and sustainable responses to the needs or issues expressed by members as part of their professional practice.

Presentation: Rethinking Public Buildings for a Civic Landscape (download pdf)
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Endrik Mänd, Chief Architect of Tallinn, Estonia
Endrik Mänd started his career as a practicing architect in 1994, since 1998 has been working on different posts in the Tallinn Urban Planning Department, including the regional architect for Nõmme and Inner City districts, head of Planning Unit, director of Comprehensive Planning Office, Since September 1st, 2007 he is the Chief Architect of the City of Tallinn. The Chief Architect’s main areas of responsibility in today’s fastly changing social and economical landscape is to reduce the influence of urban sprawl and stand for improvement of multifunctional urban space in Tallinn in order to make the city an attractive living place for different social groups. For the last 4 years strong emphasis has been put to completion of several comprehensive and thematic plans of Tallinn.

Presentation: Tallinn in 2011: Cultural City (download pdf)
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Interview: How do you feel the Estonians feel towards the project of the new City Hall? Do you feel they are behind you? How are you involving them when planning the new activities that will take place at this newly revived neighbourhood?

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