Estonian Landscape Architects Union / public space 2018 winner
Special award

Idea and spatial concept
Karin Bachmann (KINO maastikuarhitektid)
Kerli Irbo (Maastikuarhitektuuribüroo TajuRuum)
Small objects
Tõnis Arjus, Anna-Liisa Unt
Program and project management
Maris Peebo, Katrin Vask (Tartu Linnavalitsuse kultuuriosakond)
Commissioned by
Tartu Linnavalitsus
Project management of construction
Ragnar Kekkonen
Cooperation partners
Palmako / Lemeks Grupp, Saint - Gobain Glassolutions Baltiklaas
Uku Peterson


When they erected the Christmas town with glass cottages on Town Hall Square in December 2017, I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy the peace and smell of the forest in the city centre and drink mulled wine while swinging under the fir trees. But then I noticed the carousel pigs and the hay for resting your feet and nibbling on the freshly baked waffles. If in the previous years, the forest and the barge used in the design had made the most actively used area in the city somewhat distant and mysterious, then this time I seemed to have stepped into someone’s warm and comfortable living-room. Being in a glass cottage filled with straw on the vast and chilly Town Hall Square – it made the public and anonymous space pleasantly cosy and comfy.
Hanna Linda Korp, literary criticism editor of journal Värske Rõhk and an enthusiast of Tartu

This time the success and emergence of Tartu’s Christmas town required an entire village. There were more people involved in the development than ever before. Only the best and most helpful ones – various authorities, departments, craftsmen, supporters who all participated in inventing a “smart interim space”.

One of the main challenges was the invariable in the initial assignment, in other words, the living room of Tartu – the main square oblong in shape. Very cute but vast and pretentious, and also hostile to the budget on top of that. Wavering thoughts – is glass cute and Christmasy enough or will people just rush through the designed area and remember only the cold wind corridor of the Town Hall Square? To counterbalance glass, we included straw, timber, animal carousels, gingerbread, candles, fire cauldrons, Santa Clauses, fire dancers and singing children

Will the solution survive the opening night? At least until the day after tomorrow?

We were happy to see that people look after things made with care. And Christmas spirit may be brought to the urban space also without selling souvenirs.


Mari Peebo