uurimusi arhitektuurist ja teooriast
investigations on architecture and theory

Veronika Valk. Paljassaare kingdom or eco-business plan “Nude Beach Royal Development”

It is not necessary to draw a sign of equation between the words “green” and “ecological”. The topic of ecology is much broader than trees, bushes and blades of grass. The Gulf of Tallinn is “green” when it is filled with blue-green algae. At the same time, nature is most imposingly represented in Tallinn by the Gulf of Tallinn itself, in other words the sea. When viewed from the sea, Tallinn is green only in the summer, yet broadleaf trees create this impression. In winter they are bare – just when they are needed most as windbreaks. Evergreen species of trees could be planted along the waterfront and a tree nursery could be established in the shoreline area for this purpose. An experimental laboratory for ascertaining what would grow in such specific conditions like the soil and weather conditions of the harbour area and what would not. Why not black spruces, picea mariana, which each townsperson would plant in the tree nursery himself and look after all their lives. The urbanistic Christmas tree that the citizen looks after. Perhaps instead of bringing it inside and placing it in the corner of the living room for the holidays, it will be left to grow. Citizens will go and decorate the tree for Christmas on the spot. In this way, the city would even have its Christmas decorations taken care of. The result would be an evergreen winter park by the seashore sheltered from the wind, the concept and nature of which should suit the individualist nature of Estonians.

A rather ecological way of attracting Tallinners to the seashore would be a city-wide campaign “Quit fooling around, dress warm!” in the framework of which posters reading “Put your hat on!” would be put up in the city at the beginning of winter. Thus far, people simply did not know how to dress for the weather. What if one could buy a spacesuit-house for himself from the appropriate automatic machines in the waterfront area to serve as a modern suit of armour against the crackling severe cold, scoundrels, and storms. We could also experiment with a calypso-type winter collection that would retain warmth and breathe while being at the same time very lightweight, waterproof and super comfortable. Young Estonian fashion designers are doing well in the world. This potential should be applied. The collection would become a hit throughout Scandinavia. And who knows, if we imagine ourselves even farther into the future, then perhaps we will ultimately not even need houses anymore as we see them today. Rather, clothing will be integrated with future technologies and take over a large portion of the functions of buildings.

A unique residential settlement with symbolic meaning, though, should be built on the Paljassaare Peninsula. In terms of imagology, it should be as easily remembered as any other world-class icon, like for example the Sydney Opera Theatre. Its ecology will be achieved through the fact that it is not significantly more expensive to build these kinds of houses than it is to build ordinary box houses. Thus, a global sign for the same money. It should in principle be possible for a businessman or consortium of businessmen to buy Paljassaare in its entirety and build a dream environment there – Nude Beach Royal Development (NBRD), or the flagship of Estonia’s real estate development. The Kingdom of Paljassaare would come into being as an ecological experimental laboratory, which would at the same time be rather exclusive. Local and global simultaneously. Open and friendly, but independent and not subject to politics of the moment. It would be a free economic zone based on innovation, a port and a natural park, the living environment of the future – a modern Utopia of happiness.

Residential buildings resembling condors are 65 metres, or twenty storeys tall. Nowadays, much taller buildings are being built in the area of Maakri Street directly adjacent to the Old Town, intruding into the Old Town skyline familiar from tins of sprats. On Paljassaare, the condor buildings would be out of the way of the path of the old skyline and would not bother anyone. The theme of the Natura 2000 natural park and migratory birds would function as the background. Paljassaare is large and broad – those condors will not extend into the Natura 2000 area. Visually, the condors are a combination of the crane ballet of Tallinn’s ports and the iconography of migratory birds nesting on Paljassaare.

The new settlement could accumulate energy from the sedimentary mud of the sewage treatment facility located in the middle of the peninsula: the methane produced in the course of the treatment process is collected and directed to the local gas boiler houses of the apartment buildings. Perhaps the region will have its own artesian well, but perhaps desalination of seawater will take place instead on Paljassaare in the future so that the NBRD would be as independent as possible.

In terms of construction, the apartment buildings could have a so-called load bearing façade. They will not have a separate load-bearing construction and façade finishing material; rather everything is one integrated system. There are many possibilities here in combining “smart textiles” and nanotechnological composite materials. Since the lowest angle of inclination of sunlight in the winter is eight degrees, the exterior walls of the buildings are at a small angle. The angle of inclination of the façade surface ensures that maximum light passes into the buildings. The apartment buildings are also turned relative to each other in terms of site plan so that the variety of sun and shade would create a varied environment. This is also necessary to avoid whirlwinds.

Speaking of wind – the shoreline could be lined by windbreaks shaped like boat sails. Viewed from the sea, the luminescent triangles of translucent sailcloth melt into the seascape of masts and sails of yacht harbours. The windbreaks also capture wind energy and thus work in darkness as lighting.