Workshop in Tallinn, Estonia

Kalarand – so near, so far

Urban planning often brings about arguments between different interests. Is it clear, for all the sides, what a straight line drawn in the scale of 1 : 5000 means in the real environment? What happens if the most important spatial decisions of the city are the result of an abstract and dualistic division of the land, not related to the actual space at all? What is the impact of these decisions on the potential and complexity of the resulting space?

This intervention is a tool to experience what the abstract space of a detail plan feels like in reality: how big is big, how close is close?

In the case of Kalarand, we would like to test if the proposed public space has the right scale for quality space. The built area of the plan is controversial, while the leftover empty space is less questioned.

By placing 1 : 1 scale human figures on the site, a specific number of meters away from a randomly picked viewing point, we can perceive how far from – or how close to – would we be to other people eventually using the space. Can we talk to them, or should we shout? Can we recognise their faces? Can we see the sign on the façade of the future building?

How does the scale determine the use of the space?

Size is relative. Scale is relevant, and defines the perception of the space.
Authors: Ines Aubert, André Baldisiute, Neeme Külm, Ralf Lõoke, Tõnis Savi, Anna-Liisa Unt
Photos: Reio Avaste / Goethe Institute’s archive