CITY UNFINISHED: International Conference in City Planning

CITY UNFINISHED: International Conference in City Planning
30th August 2017, Kanuti Gildi SAAL (Pikk 20, Tallinn)

Every decision has a spatial dimension, an impact and a consequence apparent in the future. To a large degree, cities are a result of decisions from a broad spectrum of disciplines and ongoing processes. We seek to explore who are steering us towards these results and how is the future shaped, or what we want from a future city.

At the conference, we will ask:
*How do different practices construct futures?
*Are long term strategic plans plausible and possible or have we shifted towards swift tactical decisionmaking?
*If cities offer a high quality of life for the whole society, then who in particular? Who do we negotiate this with?
*How do we plan the indeterminable? Can one perceive the future by rolling dice?
*How do we enact the future? Can it be pre-determined – drawn up, described, scheduled and ruled?

There’s no participation fee for the conference, but we kindly ask you to register at


THOMAS AUER started his career in 1994 shortly after Transsolar was founded and his outstanding engineering aptitude and leadership qualities brought him onto the management board of the company in 2000. Based on his deep understanding of integrated building systems and energy efficiency in buildings, Thomas has developed energy and building service concepts for projects around the world noted for their innovative design and energy performance. His concepts are an integral part of signature architecture. Thomas has collaborated with world known architects on numerous international design projects and competitions. His projects have become milestones in the history of the company, as KfW Bank in Frankfurt, Lycée Charles de Gaulle in Damascus. Manitoba Hydro, an office tower in downtown Winnipeg Canada, is considered one of the most energy efficient high rise buildings in North America.

MARKUS SCHAEFER (MSc, MArch, SIA) has a Masters of Architecture from Harvard University. In addition, he also has a Masters in Neurobiology from the University of Zürich. At Harvard, he first collaborated with his current partner Hiromi Hosoya on the Harvard Guide to Shopping, edited by Rem Koolhaas et al. and published by Taschen in 2001. Prior to founding Hosoya Schaefer, Markus Schaefer was a director of AMO in Rotterdam. AMO is the think tank and research department of OMA, the architecture office established by Rem Koolhaas. Both with work at OMA and at Hosoya Schaefer, Markus Schaefer has won several international awards. He lectures and publishes regularly. He is also partner and head of research at CityTrackerX AG, a privately funded research and development company aiming at a real-time performance analysis of cities.

JOHANNES KUEHN founded Kuehn Malvezzi in Berlin in 2001 together with Simona Malvezzi and Wilfried Kuehn. Since 2016, he is professor for building construction and design at Bauhaus University Weimar. Exhibitions and museums are a focus in the work of Kuehn Malvezzi and more generally a point of departure in their design strategies: at all scales, from exhibition design to the city, they follow a curatorial approach to architecture. Kuehn Malvezzi realized the architectural design for Documenta 11, the Flick Collection in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin as well as the Julia Stoschek Collection in Dusseldorf, which was nominated for the international Mies van der Rohe award. The firm has designed the reorganization of a number of art collections, such as the Museum Belvedere in Vienna and the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Brunswick. The curatorial approach to urban architecture and public spaces are a second focus of the practice. Kuehn Malvezzi won the international competition for the interreligious House of One on the historic foundations of Berlin’s earliest churches at Petriplatz in 2012. Being a significant element of the city, housing projects have become more and more important for Kuehn Malvezzi in the recent years. In 2017 the practice completed Villengärten am Relenberg – a new residential neighbourhood in Stuttgart and is currently working on housing projects in Mainz and Baden-Baden. Kuehn Malvezzi’s critical approach to reconstruction shown in their entry for the Humboldt-Forum competition won the special prize and was also awarded with the 2009 German Critics’ Prize in the architecture category. Their projects have been shown in numerous international exhibitions, including the 14th Architecture Biennial in Venice and the 1st Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015.

DOUGLAS GORDON is an architect and spatial planner. He was educated at the Bartlett, UCL and worked for nearly 15 years in urban planning in London with major projects on Covent Garden, Kings Cross, and Camden Town regeneration, before deciding to come and live in Helsinki with his family. Douglas works for the City of Helsinki’s Environmental Services department where he has responsibility for coordinating EU urban projects such as the Helsinki-Tallinn-St Petersburg Spatial Vision, North South Interface, and the Helsinki-Paris Location Dynamics and Clusters formation research. Currently Douglas works on the Baltic Space 2050 project with Stockholm and Tallinn as well as the NSB CoRe EU spatial planning project for the North Sea Baltic core regions. Douglas oversees international planning affairs for the City’s new City Plan and recently contributed to many core issues on the Plan, including reports on Transnational Helsinki, Urbanism, Social Cohesion, the new City Plan brochure and other key strategic elements for the City Plan. Douglas has been involved with Tallinn and the Academy of Arts over many years, including the new spatial planning competition for the Port.


“City, Unfinished” is a research project initiated by the Estonian Academy of Arts Faculty of Architecture with the support of E.L.L Real Estate. Invited researchers and specialists alongside faculty members, researcher fellows and doctoral students will look into the spatial scenarios and visions for future urban developments exemplified on Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

The research focuses on six major topics: planning practices, structure of the urban fabric, density, the border of the city and large scale infrastructure. A core group of five researchers will dedicate half a year to each of these topics. Next to the research an international professional workshop with invited guests is held and parallel student courses are tackling similar problematics at the faculty of Architecture and City planning, and the department of Urban Studies. The three year research project will kick off with an opening conference and conclude in a book and exhibition, accompanied by a final, international conference addressing the wider public and professionals.

Estonian Academy of Arts Faculty of Architecture research project THE UNFINISHED CITY is made possible through the partnership with E.L.L Real Estate and in collaboration with Tallinn Municipality.

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Posted by Triin Männik