Kärdla city center

Category: Competition, dialouge and detailing
Location: Kärdla, Estland
Year: 2015 - 2020
Client: Hiiumaa vallavalitsus (municipality)
Architect: Bornstein Lyckefors

Kärdla is the main town on the small Estonian island Hiiumaa. In 2015 MARLED together with architects Bornstein Lyckeforr won first prize in this general competition to redesign the outdated town center. The context is rurban, people from all over the island come here for services and shopping. Until now, the elongated place was dominated by traffic and parking. The challenge in the competition was to renew the square and create new life in the city center with, among other things, a new market hall and a new cultural center.

The project was successfully completed in late 2020.

Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Planting design with a blue and green strategy. Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Art work on the square inspired by the cones of alder trees that are found in the area. Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Photo: Tiit Veermäe

Detailed design started in 2017 with a dialogue process with the public and high school pupils. The suggestions and comments from this process helped to adjust the proposal to meet local needs even better. For instance, the market building was downsized and more activities for children and youths added. Our proposal divides the site into a park, an urban square, and a drastically smaller parking area. Public space in human scale where culture, market and greenery meet are created.

Situation plan
Situation plan

Dialogues were conducted during the design process
Dialogues were conducted during the design process
Physical 3D model was used to produce the artworks in the square
Physical 3D model was used to produce the artworks in the square

The proposal is inspired by the nearby stream and uses rain gardens with alders, water play and wetland vegetation in the design. Over 65% of Hiiumaa is covered by forests so wood was a natural choice as the primary construction material for the pavilion, street furniture and playground equipment. Abstract alder cones add local character and are used as play sculptures.

Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Planting in the pavilion. Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Photo: Tiit Veermäe
Close to nature playground. Photo: Tiit Veermäe