Threat to the Tallinn skyline (5)
Archived Articles 15 Jun 2006  EWR
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 - pics/2006/13523_3_t.jpg


As the photograph clearly demonstrates, old Hanseatic Tallinn¹s skyline is threatened by a new and seemingly inexorable siege. Assuredly we are not speaking of the depicted advancing weather front, for Tallinn has weathered advancing and receding fronts, both meteorological and martial, both blustery and bellicose, for centuries and survived. However, now this
skyline may have met its final and mortal foe: Mammon, flanked by its twin allies Vulgarity and Shortsightedness. This trio has already erected its ugly bastions and more are in store. Although successfully able to withstand
the onslaught of the petty utilitarian architecture of the Soviet era, the venerated Old Town is now about to fall prey to high rises every bit as obscene.

The photograph was taken from the new Museum of Art, KUMU, living proof, if such were needed, that modern architecture need not be tasteless or jarring but by fitting into its setting, can reach a new level of the sublime. The only criticism of KUMU the photographer has heard is that artistically the building and grounds may have reached a higher pinnacle than the art they
house. Were that the high rises could become such sources of inspiration instead of sullying the beauty of their environs!

Apart from new construction like KUMU, the Old Town is replete with imaginative reconstructions and artful renovations, both residential and commercial, that demonstrate time and again that with taste and talent the
old and the new can be married to the enhancement of both, that function need not be the slave of form but can be its equal partner in a union where the whole becomes greater than the totality of its parts. Unfortunately,
greed, coupled to the philistine mind, is a formidable adversary.
 
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