Fahle Gallery Street | Tallinn, Estonia

Emerging as a result of the captivating metamorphosis of a historic cellulose and paper factory area in the centre of Tallinn, the Fahle business estate garners widespread acclaim for its seamless fusion of time-honoured limestone walls from industrial structures dating back a century, alongside modern glass elements and abundant greenery. Originating predominantly between 1908 and 1915, the site, once home to a paper factory until the 1990s, has undergone a remarkable transformation, shedding its industrial past to embrace a contemporary post-industrial identity.

A prominent outcome of this rejuvenation is Fahle Gallery Street, a covered passage that breathes new life into the surroundings. Formerly a narrow alley between factory buildings, it was enclosed and abandoned before reemerging in 2021 as a glass-roofed, tropically vegetated oasis, impervious to the wintry elements outside.

The resilience of the aged limestone walls now finds synergy with slender additions of steel. The greenish-toned solar control glass above gracefully rests on the Art-Nouveau-inspired roof structures of the historical factory complex. The beams of the glass roof are directly supported, sans columns, by new concrete girders integrated into the cornices of the existing buildings. The roof’s slope and height vary to encompass all the Art Nouveau frontispieces on the interior walls. A connecting bridge spans the airspace of the lofty gallery, unifying the buildings on both sides of the passage and the entire indoor street.

The passage is adorned with offices, shops, restaurants, and terraces extending into the oasis. Light and airy terrace furniture in varying shades of green imparts a street-like ambience, while elements reminiscent of a park and barely discernible boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces evoke a shift in mindset, endowing the gallery with a distinctively dreamy atmosphere—a favoured destination for special events and casual meetups.

Inspired by the notion of nature reclaiming urban spaces, the landscape architecture of the Fahle estate boasts luxuriant greenery finding a home in every available crack. Grass flourishes beneath trees and bushes and within the joints of the white granite slab pavement. This recurring theme of nature’s resurgence breathes life into the Fahle estate, animating the dense limestone environment with seemingly wild vegetation.

Design: studio ARGUS Architecture and Interior architecture alongside with LUMIA

Photography: Terje Ugandi

About Damian Holmes 3288 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/