Search graduate:

Carolyn Rennu

  • Faculty of Architecture
  • Architecture and Urban Design
  • ma
  • Defining the lakeside area of Viljandi. Applying local values and identity in small town planning.
  • Tutor(s): Andres Alver and Douglas Gordon

Viljandi faces the problem of an aging and decreasing population, as do many other small towns in Estonia. At the same time, the town has many potentials: internationally renowned companies & events, higher education, rich culture and the extraordinary nature & landscape surrounding the town. Lake Viljandi is like the town’s identity, according to which a stranger also recognizes the town. Historically, Viljandi has always wanted to be a summer resort town, but so far it has not earned that status. In a few years, the long-awaited spa hotel on the shores of Lake Viljandi will be completed, which can give a sharp impetus to Viljandi to become a holiday town as well as a year-round travel destination.

The lakeside of Viljandi is a favorite place for both residents and visitors, but the field of activity there is rather seasonal and sports-oriented. Everyday Viljandi has moved away from the lake area over time as the town center has moved more from the edge of the Old Town to the main street.
The aim of the master’s project is to strengthen the connections between the town center and the lake and to diversify the use by the lake due to the new spa hotel, providing opportunities for off-season activities.

There are 4 connections between the lake and the town center. Pikk street and Trepimägi connect to the lake from the Old Town. Tartu Street from the edge of the Old Town. These connections are all unique and work in the context of the old town. Hariduse Street is the wildest of these connections, but it meets the center / main street and passes several important buildings and places such as Ugala Theater, Highschool of Viljandi, Viljandi‘s Manor, Song Festival Grounds and Castle Hills. Hariduse street is the most socially insecure connection of the four, but one apartment building is already being built next to it.
Hariduse Street connects to the part of the town center / the edge of the main street, which has a sparser use, but where there are several potential plots so that the town center can develop in the direction of the market and the future hospital building, creating a larger social part of the city.

By developing the town center area in the direction of Hariduse Street, in the area between the main street and the Valuoja green corridor, we will add usage and density of the movement to the area, which will help direct locomotion along Hariduse Street between the town center and the lake. By activating Hariduse Street, we add a connection that is directly connected to the everyday part of the town and along which it is convenient to move by various means of light transport, as the route is smooth compared to other main connections.
Hariduse Street connects to Rannapuiestee, where the other three existing connections also go. Planning the Rannapuiestee as a beach promenade makes the movement there more versatile and provides a reason for circular moving between different connections.

The master’s project plans several new apartment buildings, commercial and office premises and a sports center in the town center part. Modernizes the existing market and offers a square / park between the office / commercial buildings planned in the master’s project and the sports center instead of the existing parking lot in the courtyard of Kaubamaja.
At the beginning of Hariduse Street, against Highschool of Viljandi, new office buildings are planned instead of the existing Soviet-era buildings, and a dormitory for students. The plan continues the line of apartment buildings planned on Hariduse Street and responsibly adds new single family houses to the route, to the Natura 2000 nature reserve, leaving the protected area on the Lossimägi side untouched in order to give social control to the journey.

The plots of single family houses planned by the lake and the apartment buildings planned on Huntaugu Hill will bring a critical mass to the lake in order to increase the movement there all year round. The strengthened connection between the lake and the town center and the housing units created by the lake create preconditions for planning a public building by the lake, which is intended for leisure and various social activities throughout the year.
Viljandi, which longs to become an inland summer town, also needs a complete beachline. The master’s project plans a new beach building and bridges for both sunbathing and going to the water. The beach building also offers activities for winter by renting skates, for example, to skate on the ice rink on the lake.
On the other side of the shore, the history center of the Hanseatic City and the Order Castle has been planned in the master’s project, which offers a view of the Lossimäed, and therefore the area between them has been left undeveloped. A Viljandi boatman invited from the beach area will take you to the history center.