Geological studies show that it is possible to build an underwater tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki. On the Finnish side the tunnel will be built into the hard bedrock, which is a very good environment for the tunnel. But on the Estonian side the crystalline basement meets a layer of sediment an average of 150 m that consists of water-saturated loose, soft deposits that poses a challenge for tunnelling.1
The problem for this workshop is not the solution of the tunnel itself but rather to envision the space around the tunnel and to draw up proposals for architectural solutions in relation to the fixed link between Tallinn and Helsinki.
Is Viimsi peninsula the best location for the tunnel entrance? How does the tunnel affect the surrounding area? What could the city around the tunnel look like? Should there be an additional terminal in Viimsi? What could the railway crossings look like?
Novarc Group and Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen examined the planned location for the mouth of the tunnel in Viimsi Municipality and what sort of impact the new route would have on the existing residential areas. The team proposed to design the tunnel access as an elevated route high above homes and roads, and to turn the tunnel’s pipes into futuristic-looking attractions in their own right by using vertical fences.
The railway tunnel would emerge from the ground around Äigrumäe amidst large empty fields. The tunnel entrance should not disturb anyone: the location is really in the middle of nowhere. But after that, the railway still needs to cross the Muuga and Iru districts to reach the existing railway network.
We found this to be the most important task: to design the railway between the tunnel and the existing railway.
Our design creates a landmark bridge between the tunnel and the existing railway.
The bridge rises from the green Äigrumäe fields and travels along Viimsi’s green belt towards Laiaküla.
The bridge is transformed into a vertical garden, which continues the natural environment of Viimsi’s green belt.
The trains move within a transparent glass tube, which blocks the traffic noise of the surrounding urban environment but allows for views. Around Iru, the bridge rises even higher to be able to cross the St. Petersburg highway on a two-level bridge. Iru will develop into a lively high-rise area which benefits from the high vertical garden. The Viimsi bridge will become a landmark which can be seen from Tallinn’s historical centre, illuminated by night and green by day.