My recent visiting to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia,in August 2016, brought to light important questions about architectural integrity and preservation particularly as façadism gains favor in Seattle. Both Paul Allen’s classic example of façadism at his eponymous institute at 615 Westlake between Mercer and Valley or the struggle to preserve the Space Needle have recently shown, Seattle folks and Queen Anne neighbors alike are just beginning to grapple with the issues.
Estonia is the northernmost of the three Baltic states. Along with Lithuania and Latvia, it has had a long history of occupations by Danes, Russians, Swedes, Germans and just about all the conquering peoples of northern Europe including the Vikings. Tallinn, across from Helsinki on the Strait of Finland, has a few excavated bits of Viking history in its museums. More dramatically though, it has real examples of 13th, 14th and 15th century buildings surviving in appropriate contexts exactly where they were first built. …Continue reading “Preserving Integrity: an International Comparison”