Train station and transportation hub, Tallin

A birch leaf from the Estonian nature inspires, PLH's design proposal "The Ülemiste Leaf". The leaf motif refers to the Estonian forests while at the same time creating an easily recognisable design language and linking the city together.


  • Infrastructure
  • Urban


Tallinn, Estonia




Competition proposal


3,500 m²


Rail Baltica Estonia


Engineers: Innopolis Insenerid og Rambøll

PLH Arkitekter is the lead architect behind the design proposal ”The Ülemiste Leaf” – a new station in Tallinn on The Rail Baltica. The proposal is one of three winning proposals submitted in the open, international design competition. All three proposals have moved on to the second phase of the competition where dialogue based negotiations precede the final election of the proposal that will be realized.

The Ülemiste Leaf
The design concept draws on nature, and a birch leaf inspires the organic design language. The proposal draws parallels to the Estonian natural heritage and visualizes the significance of the Estonian forests that cover about 50% of the country. The terminal building is easily recognizable and the organic design language will be very visible for travellers arriving to Tallinn by train or airplane – the aim is to create a new iconic landmark. The leaf covers the railway and creates easy access from both sides of the tracks while at the same time connecting the North and the South. The design proposal also creates a natural connection in between airport and city.

The design proposal includes a new terminal building on the Rail Baltica Line and the immediate traffic environment. The future terminal building will both function as a public transportation hub as well as a local city centre. The proposal includes a terminal building, a public square, a train station and a bus station as well as an underground tunnel for pedestrians and cyclists.

Sustainable Materials
The palette of materials is kept relatively simple in order to keep the focus on the organic design language of the building. Roof cladding is in light aluminium, as are the closed partitions of the glass facade. All materials have been chosen with a long life span and with a low emittance of unhealthy compounds – and all materials are evaluated by how much they pollute in production and transport. This makes wood an excellent choice for the roof construction, all interior wall constructions, the ceiling and most wall surfaces.

To minimize the need for heating the project is divided in two zones: a fully heated zone for working, dining and shopping, and a semi-heated zone for the waiting area.

PLH Arkitekter also designed the winning proposal for the future Rail Baltica station in Riga. Read about the project here.

The Competition
The three winning proposals in the competition are Zaha Hadid and Espaln OÜ with ”The Light Stream”, PLH Arkitekter and Innopolis Insenerid with ”The Ülemiste Leaf” and DBA Progetti and HML Project Management OÜ with "Videveik." All three proposals have moved on the negotiations about which design is to be realized.