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Tartu Ülikool

Winning entry in the Maarjavälja green area competition has been announced

The design competition for the green area in Maarjavälja, which ran until mid-August, received three entries. All the designs were distinct and presented the park area from different angles. The authors of the entries were published on 5 September at the University café.

The jury comprising Karin Bachmann (Estonian Landscape Architects' Union, landscape architect, EstQF level 8), Kstina Vallimäe (University of Tartu, Director of Administration), Aveliina Helm (University of Tartu, Professor of Restoration Ecology), Anna-Liisa Unt (Tartu City Government Department of Urban Design, landscape architect) and Eleriin Tekko (Estonian Landscape Architects' Union, landscape architect, EstQF level 7) decided to award the prizes as follows:

1st place – "Kasvus" (8,000 euros)

2nd place – "Arhipelaag" (6,000 euros)

3rd place – "KolmVälja" (4,000 euros)

The prize money for the first-place entry is provided by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.


The authors of the winning entry, "Kasvus", are Häli-Ann Tooms, Róbert Schuck and Martin Allik (MARELD Landskapsarkitekter AB). The great advantage of the entry is the clever step-by-step formation of the mass of greenery to balance the surrounding open space. The organic solution is flexible regarding possible changes in the contact space and provides opportunities for changing the existing movement patterns and functions and creating new ones. The park area, which offers new experiences and anticipation at every turn, has been designed in a human- and nature-friendly way. The environment is nuanced but not overdone. Natural and artificial elements blend seamlessly into a single whole.

Director of Administration Kstina Vallimäe explained the rationale behind the choice. "Our wish is that the staff and students of the university would find themselves in a comfortable and pleasant place when they leave the lecture hall or the laboratory, and that teaching and research can also be carried out in the green area if necessary. The winning entry fulfils these objectives," said Vallimäe. The next step is the design phase in cooperation with the authors and the design company.

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The authors of the second-place entry "Arhipelaag" are Anne Vingisar, Johannes Madis Aasmäe, Ilmar Valdur, Terje Ong and Hannes Aava (TajuRuum OÜ and OÜ Kolm Pluss Üks).  The strength of this entry was the charming buffer strip designed between the park area and the planned buildings, consisting of a dense multi-layered green barrier and a belt of rain gardens. The layout of the park is inspired by the patchwork-like plot division of the surrounding area and blends seamlessly into the existing settings.

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The authors of the third-place entry, "KolmVälja", are Maire Suimets, Eda Vane, Anete Tammeveski and Kersti Lootus (Aed ja Park OÜ and OÜ Lootusprojekt). The entry stands out for its techniques that exhibit future trends and innovative solutions for outdoor spaces. The way in which research is presented to visitors to the park is very appealing.

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The Maarjavälja green area between Viljandi road, Ravila and Sanatooriumi streets belongs to the University of Tartu. The eastern part of the area, which stood empty for decades, is now home to academic and research buildings. A new COOP shop will soon be built in the northern corner. The university hopes to start creating the green space planned for the centre of the area as soon as possible.

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