Design contract signed for Ülemiste terminal of Rail Baltica

Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ entered into a contract on 16 January with Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan, the joint tenderers who won the architectural competition for the design of the Ülemiste terminal of Rail Baltica.


“The solution that was chosen for the design of the Ülemiste terminal is not only functionally very well thought through but will also gift the surrounding area and Tallinn as a whole with an eye-catching architectural landmark,” said Marko Kivila, a deputy member of the management board of Rail Baltic Estonia. “Signing the contract today is a key step towards ensuring that Estonia has a new and evolving transport hub in 2026.”


“We’re excited to be starting on the design of such a strategically important site for Estonia,” said Zaha Hadid Architects CEO Gianluca Racana. “It will be an innovative transport hub that looks to the future and places high value on the passenger experience. The new terminal and the public space we’re designing around it will also breathe new life into an historical part of the city.”

“As one of Estonia’s leading design companies, we choose the best skills and knowledge that international practice can provide to ensure that the buildings and residential and working environments we create are as well designed as possible,” remarked Esplan CEO Kadi Metsmaa. “We offer world-class solutions, and our partnership with Zaha Hadid Architects is a reflection of the enormous responsibility that comes with the work our team takes on.”


Today’s signing of the agreement also marked the commencement of the design phase for the terminal, which will serve as the starting point for Rail Baltica. Construction of the railway infrastructure for the project is planned to be completed in two stages. According to the contract, the design phase will last for around 18 months, with the railway infrastructure itself being designed in parallel with the terminal. The construction procurement for Stage 1 of the terminal will be launched in the first half of 2021.


In order to find the most suitable architectural solution for the project in terms of use, ideas and urban space, Rail Baltic Estonia launched an international ideas competition in May 2019. The deadline for entries was 3 September, with the winners announced on 6 November. As a result of both the competition and the second round of negotiations held on 13 December, the work ‘Light Stream’ – a joint entry by Britain’s renowned Zaha Hadid Architects and the Estonian design company Esplan – was selected as the winner.


The aim of the work is to create a bustling, multi-faceted transport hub and a new landmark in urban space that integrates commercial premises, public services and architectural solutions. The focus of the building from an architectural perspective will be on movement and smooth connections between traffic flows. A dynamic, open environment, it will be guided by the trajectories of people’s movements and allow for a great deal of light. The most challenging aspect of the project will be the construction of the main level of the terminal across the existing railway line.


The cost of designing the Ülemiste terminal for Rail Baltica is 2.6 million euros.


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