Zaha Hadid Architects has won an open international contest to design a major new transit hub in Tallinn, Estonia.

Rendering of a futuristic-style rail station
A futuristic transit hub is coming to Tallinn, Estonia ©Zaha Hadid Architects

The famous London design firm was awarded the €28,000 first prize and will now work alongside local firm Esplan to design the rail terminal for Rail Baltica Estonia. The station will be the starting point for Rail Baltica, Europe's new electrified, high-speed railway line. Spanning 870km (540 miles), it will connect Finland, Estonia, LatviaLithuania and Poland with the high-speed train network in Europe, making the eastern part of the continent more accessible than ever.

A rendering of the terminal for Eastern Europe's new high-speed rail network
The terminal is the first stop in the Rail Baltica network ©Zaha Hadid Architects/ZOA Studio

The competition sought sustainable and pedestrian-friendly design concepts for the transformation of an existing station in the city's Ülemiste area. Once complete, the space-age transit station will include a hub for national, international and local rail services, along with buses, trams and coaches next to the city's airport. A curved pedestrian bridge will link everything together.

Rendering of the curved bridge at Rail Baltica Terminal
The station is designed in the firm's typical curved fashion ©Zaha Hadid Architects/

Construction will take place in phases, so as not to disrupt ongoing operations in the existing station. According to the architects, sustainability is at the forefront of the project as Ülemiste has been designed and planned to BREEAM environmental benchmarks and sustainability guidelines.

Rendering of a train arriving at the new Rail Baltica Terminal in Tallinn
The new station is located beside Tallinn's international airport ©Zaha Hadid Architects/

The practice, founded by the late Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid, is famous for designing iconic buildings like Beijing's Daxing International Airport, Glasgow's Riverside Museum and the Guangzhou Opera House. In 2017, the firm was awarded the Port of Tallinn Masterplan 2030 - a major redevelopment of the city's Old Harbour, which will incorporate civic and community spaces with green areas and urban spaces.

Explore related stories


Road Trips

15 of the best road trips in Europe

May 13, 2024 • 13 min read