Estonian Academy of Arts graduation show
Faculty of Architecture
Architecture and Urban Design
Urban wilderness / Co-living of animals and humans at the example of Astangu region
Katrin Koov ja Kadri Klementi
Wilderness has found ways of adaption in the urban space, making our living spaces more diverse. Wildlife acts as an indicator of wilderness, who does not see the cities as separated from the natural, but as part of their habitat. Perhaps the human kind should see our living spaces as connected – not separated – to the wilderness and the created cityspace could support ways of experiencing it. For this, the thesis explores Astangu, the most biodiverse region in Tallinn. Bringing forward the values of the wild in urban space through an urban hiking route and creating green planning, in which also offering typologies for living together, the project deals with the challenges that the fastest growing habitat, cities, is creating.
The project raises the question of how to combine the wilderness and human-made together in a supporting manner.
The relation between human and animal depends on what kind of role they are given in the space.
The project is approaching biodiverse Astangu in two methods: through-out finding ways of co-habiting, using planning as a tool and creating typologies, but also introducing the area through creating an urban hiking route. The importance of both lies in enhancing the human experience of the green area, using different kind of spatial examples through supporting the wilderness and wild animal habitat.
PLANNING For co-habitation the project offers three typologies: firstly coliving building, secondly using roof as a landscape binder for a public building and thirdly a shared viewtower, which is closer to the hiking route. With the planning the green areas are divided into three groups (lower, wet, higher), which each offers different opportunities for nesting-and feeding areas. For both, human and other animals, the project highlights the possible movement routes.
CO-LIVING BUILDING // bird and human
In Estonia there is generally enough feeding areas, but a lack of suitable nesting spots, which is why I offer them in my coliving-building. The grene roofs offered are divided into types by the nesting boxes created for different species. For the human user is created different kind of green roof use.
GRID USAGE For different kind of bird species, one edge of the nesting box is often sized as 15 cm. In the project this measurement is used as the width of the post in construction, to use it for the birdbox and beam location.
SOUTH SIDE Is the supporting grid, wherein the birdboxes are located with necessary direction and height, combined together with the green rooftops. NORTH SIDE Are french balconies, which are landscaped, helping to absorb the rainwater and support bird feeding-and hiding spots.
ROOF AS A LANDSCAPE BINDER The front facade is parallel toward Astangu street, humans walkway brings them through the building towards the planned pond and hiking route.
The building also acts as a walkway for animals, connecting the areas living spaces diagonally with the forest area.
The green roof is offering food sources as well as nesting spots for the visiting bird species, combining those essential for life together.
Viewing tower is divided within use between human and animal. The building is situated as a mediator between planning area and Astangu green area, onto the land created by electricity lines.
The wildlife user would be mainly winged, like bats, but also different birds, for whom the openings in the facade are suitable.
In the created nesting box are suitable nooks for bats. This nesting option is created for the common visitor of Astangu – bats, for the summer use.
MOUND Military-made mound offer habitat for different kind of animal species, enabling foxes and raccoon dogs to dig dens inside and also supporting amphibian and reptile habitat. With the project I bring forward the animal use to introduce to humans, leaving the mound itself untouched, creating the info point of the trail in the ruin.
Second point on the trail is the roof of birds, in which the project uses the second biggest military ruin on the site. The rooftop is turned into brown roof, using the surrounding materials, to let the local nature take over. The project also creates a supporting environment for birds, who often use roofs as nesting places. For example seagulls, for whom it is usual to nest on flat roofs that the urban environment provides. For them it is possible to create shelters. For the second user might be starlings, who could use the rooftop but in addition there would be nesting spots provided fixed onto the edge of the roof. Third user might be a bird like the common buzzard, for whom are provided elements attached high on the side of the building, where it is easy to observe the surroundings and hunt.
The third location brings the visitor from the ditch to the cave, including two characteristics of Astangu – as a wet region its many ditches, which in that point are human-made and the under-protection former ammunition tunnels, which are second most important wintering place for bats in Estonia. For the ditch, the project offers a pier with a wider seating area in the end, wherein the visitor can place themselves into different kind of viewpoint onto the waterscape, relating to it and its inhabitants more. Secondly, the project offers that during the time of the wintering of bats, the tunnels are closed for the public, but for a possible experiencing space an abandoned building could be used, which is placed in front of the tunnels. It could provide a peek into the bats like through using live-camera feeds in their nesting areas.
For the fourth spot, a secret garden is offered, which differently from the other urban trail objects is situated in the middle of Astangu green area, keeping its secretive status but still being discoverable. It is created in a place, where the nature has taken over a former military building, having already taken apart elements like the roof of the structure. The project allows only wildlife to move around on the building footprint, giving viewpoints into the structure for the human visitor. The animal habitat is mainly supported by allowing better access into the structure and not changing the existing stone piles and overgrowing habitat.