Chicago based Saltans Architects_Intl., ltd (SA_I) and Shenzhen based Jaeger and Partner Architects, Ltd. design collaboration was recently selected for the second stage international design competition for the Skolkovo Technopark District D2 Residential Area. Their master plan design envisions the “concept of the city at human scale with a strong relationship with nature”. Five distinct Districts comprising this planning strategy are separated and linked by natural landscapes, while each District’s master plan is designed specifically for function. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Skolkovo Innovation Centre is a strategic initiative endorsed by the Russian government to create a research and innovation hub focused upon further integrating Russia into the global economy by promoting global innovation in five key areas of focus: IT, Biomedical, Energy Efficiency, Nuclear Science, and Space Technology. The overall master plan has been developed by France’s AREP, and selected through international competition, whilst the specific districts have detailed master plans prepared by well-known international design firms.
A phenomenon of 21st century, global economic competition – the necessary creation of the instant “new city” for innovation, finance, commerce, education, etc. The competitive desire for success against other challengers is often tempered by unpredictable and uncontrollable external forces. The design, realization and implementation of these visions demands and consumes extraordinary levels of intellectual, economic and natural resources. The architectural predicament is balancing these forces – to design creatively and responsively to meet such lofty ambitions, while creating urban environments with aesthetic temperament and social responsibility.
District D2 features the Technopark functional ensemble, with a supportive urban organization of housing dispersed amongst nature. Various housing types are positioned within circles inscribed in the landscape, creating “islands surrounded by forest. This proposal focuses on Quarter 6, containing apartment housing blocks and minimal social infrastructure. The design strategy respects the District master plan, and emphasizes direct connections with the landscape and the District’s adjacent functional Quarters. Acknowledging the prescribed roadway and building alignments, the site strategy features an enhanced realignment of the internal serpentine roadway – further accentuating its serpentine character. A more pronounced radial geometry keeps the roadway from becoming a direct means of traversing through this residential Quarter.
A central urban realm is framed by residential blocks and features pavilion buildings containing social infrastructure and public amenities – becoming visual termini to the roadway curvature and light beacons at nighttime. Given their small programmatic area, their presence is maximized by unique form and freestanding placement within the urban space, in lieu of being tucked away under the residential blocks. Additional public facilities are positioned directly at the east and west entrances into the site, defined by architecturally contrasting forms. The east building functions as community fitness and recreation center, and is linked by a proposed circular pedestrian route with the adjacent cultural/educational Quarter.
The residential blocks respect the master plan’s proposed north/south alignment, but provide an offset occurring at the site’s central serpentine roadway. Courtyard spaces are defined between buildings; thereby a tedious, rigid and open ended linear configuration is avoided. Internal site circulation includes pedestrian paths parallel with the ribbon buildings, but features a transverse route through them. This east/west path follows an arc echoing the site’s circular perimeter. Originating at the east and west site entrances, it cuts through the southern ribbon of residential blocks and connects Quarter 6 with the adjacent Cultural Quarter and also links to Quarter 1 and Technopark.
Comprising 45,900 m2 of building area with a FAR of 1.41, the residential program envisions around 500 units accommodating nearly 1200 people. With a site area of 32,500 sm, this equates to a density of 36,000 people per square kilometer – exceeding most urban centers. The design solution balances the rigorous demands of the program with the desire to create community identity, tempered by principles of sustainable design.
Dwelling units vary from innovative 1 and 2 room studios, to private multi bedroom units. Ranging from 30 m2 to 110 m2, apartments are dispersed in various combinations to meet the desired program or unit category leasing strategy. While similar category units are primarily grouped within common buildings, certain “higher-end” category units are dispersed in feature locations amongst the buildings, thereby avoiding social segregation.
Dwellings feature extensive daylighting along with accessible continuous balconies, which respond to climate and privacy demands. The terraces can be variously enclosed through sliding glass screen walls integrating a screen print image of forest – furthering an architectural dialogue with nature. These “interior gardens” serve several functions. When enclosed during winter periods, they provide an effective thermal buffer decreasing overall heating costs. In spring, summer and fall seasons, the modulated façade promotes controlled natural ventilation, while the balconies help shade the units to reduce cooling loads.
Seeking LEED Silver certification, the design solution features passive and active strategies to minimize resource consumption during construction, and deliver energy saving performance during the project’s lifetime. The triple glazed façade system combined with thick, insulated walls delivers high-thermal performance, maximizes daylighting within the units, and creates an expressive façade treatment. While the surrounding forest defines the site’s circular perimeter, the building design also engages this edge directly. Following the circular arc, a tapered vertical screen wall with vegetation rises the full height of the building, transitioning into a trellis screen above the building’s green roof. Incorporating sedum planting, this environmental solution acts as an additional insulating layer in the winter while mitigating the heat island effect of standard flat roofs in the summer. While portions of the roof are accessible to tenants as common amenity space, the green roof is also an integral part of the site’s storm water drainage strategy.
Unique to Skolkovo is the priority to minimize reliance on private automobiles, by promoting public circulation, alternative transportation, and natural environment. An opportunity to create an urban environment directly engaged with nature is presented. An enhanced living environment is created, which is fundamental to attracting future visionaries to the Skolkovo Innovation Centre. Architects: Saltans Architects_International + Jaeger and Partner Architects Location: Skolkovo, Moscow, Russia Principal at SA_I: Janis Saltans, AIA Principals at jaeger&partner: Johannes Jaeger, Wang Ling Jiang Client: Skolkovo Innovation Centre Project Area: 92,300 sm (stage 1), 45,900 sm (stage 2) Project Year: 2011 (stage 1 competition); 2012 (stage 2 competition)