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Call for Applications: Space for Future Education Workshop in Russia

Contemporary education is changing rapidly and is evolving in response to the changing demands of society and technology development. The classical model where a professor stands at a lecturing desk and students sit in the auditorium has lost its relevance. New educational technologies are calling for a new approach to classroom setup and modern architecture has to come up with an adequate response.

Belyayevo Forever: How Mid-Century Soviet Microrayons Question Our Notions of Preservation

Belyayevo, which was based on the example set by the Ninth Quarter of Cheryomushki. Image © Max Avdeev
Belyayevo, which was based on the example set by the Ninth Quarter of Cheryomushki. Image © Max Avdeev

What are the characteristics of preservation-worthy architecture? In his book "Belyayevo Forever: A Soviet Microrayon on its Way to the UNESCO List," Kuba Snopek finds uniqueness in the seemingly generic Belyayevo microrayon, and argues that in spite of its pattern-book design it is worthy of protection. In this excerpt from the book's first chapter, Snopek examines Belyayevo's predecessor - the Ninth Quarter of Cheryomushki, which was constructed in the 1950s as an experiment that would transform Soviet housing policy - finding it to be a place which challenges our preconceived notions about architectural heritage.

A foreigner’s first contact with Moscow might begin with Google Earth. Its virtual tour through Russia’s capital starts with a view of its radial-concentric plan: loops of circular roads radiating from the Kremlin are cut through with the straight lines of prospects (avenues) and streets leading from the center towards the outskirts. This general scheme is familiar to any European architect: many other cities have circular boulevards, straight avenues and ring roads.

Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev

World Monuments Fund Releases List of 50 Endangered Cultural Sites

The World Monuments Fund has released its 2016 World Monuments Watch list of 50 cultural heritage sites at risk in 36 countries around the world. The list, in its twentieth year, seeks to identify sites “at risk from the forces of nature and the impacts of social, political, and economic change,” and direct financial and technical support towards them. 

The 2016 list includes the entirety of post-earthquake Nepal, an underwater city, the only surviving quadrifrons arch in Rome, and a structurally significant hyperboloid tower, among others. The Fund even featured an “Unnamed Monument” on the list, in honor of all sites at risk of damage from social and political instability around the globe.

Learn more about some of the featured monuments, after the break.

A Short History of Yekaterinburg's Constructivist Architecture

Constructivist architecture is most often remembered in writing and on paper. The movement’s two most radical and recognized structures, Vladimir Tatlin’s “Monument to the Third International” and El Lissitzky’s “Lenin Tribune,”  were never built at scales larger than models. Taking hold in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Constructivism was the result of Cubo-Futurist artists marrying their kineticism and abstraction to the social concerns of the Bolsheviks, in the hopes of using art as a platform to motivate changes in society. Viewing the museum establishment as a “mauseoleum of art,” in 1918 the new broadsheet Art of the Commune affirmed: “The proletariat will create new houses, new streets, new objects of everyday life...Art of the proletariat is not a holy shrine where things are lazily regarded, but work, a factory which produces new artistic things.”[1]

In spite of the predominance of "paper architecture" in the history of Constructivism, there is one city that experienced the fruit of this movement to an unrivaled degree. Yekaterinburg is Russia’s fourth-largest city, home to nearly 1.5 million people. It is also the largest concentration of Constructivist architecture anywhere in the world, with approximately 140 structures. To celebrate the importance of Yekaterinburg in the history of architecture, photographer Denis Esakov has shared his images of the city's architecture with ArchDaily.

© Denis Esakov © Denis Esakov © Denis Esakov © Denis Esakov

Sergey Skuratov Wins Competition for Multi Use Project on Moscow River Bank


A consortium led by Sergey Skuratov Architects (SSA) was selected over Steven Holl Architects and Miralles Tagliabue EMBT to develop a concept for a multi use complex on Moscow's Sofiyskaya Embankment. Planned for a historic area on the Moscow-river bank, opposite Kremlin, the winning concept calls for three "longitudinal units with roofs of different types and heights" that produce a "picturesque outline" and offers a "gentle transition" from the "old buildings to new."

Read on for a glimpse of the winning and two runner-up proposals. 

Exhibition: Russia on the Road. 1920 – 1990

Institute of Russian Realist Art in participation with the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the “Academia Arco” International Fund, The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism of the Italian Republic, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Italian Embassy in Moscow, the Ingosstrakh insurance company, Promsvyazbank and Lomonosov Moscow State University present the exhibition Russia on the Road. 1920 – 1990, which is dedicated to theme of transport, one of the most important themes for the artists of XX century.

Renzo Piano to Convert Moscow Power Station into an Arts and Culture Center

The V-A-C Foundation has selected Renzo Piano Building Workshop to re-develop a two-hectare area in Moscow, converting a former power station into a center for contemporary arts and culture. Located on the Moskva river in the city’s Red October district, the GES2 power station was built in the early 1900s and once supplied energy to the city. The project envisions the recuperation of the power station’s original form as well as the reconfiguration of the entire site into a 150 meter by 150 meter square. 

Gallery: OMA's Garage Museum of Contemporary Art Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has shared with us images of OMA's recently completed Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. The museum project repurposed the 1960s Vremena Goda restaurant in Gorky Central Park and transformed it into a modern exhibition space adorned with Soviet era tiles, mosaics and bricks preserved from its previous life. 

"The building offers a wide range of interior conditions for the exhibition of art beyond the ubiquitous “white cube,” described OMA in the project's description. Scroll down for more images of the museum by Ghinitoiu. 

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Moscow Urban Forum Announces Diverse List of Speakers

The annual Moscow Urban Forum is right around the corner. To be held from October 16-17, the theme of this year’s forum is “Moscow as a Dynamic Megacity: Flexible Management Practices.” The forum will feature two days of conferences, exhibitions and lectures with a focus on issues surrounding the development of Moscow. While in past years the conference focused on issues related to megacities in general, this year for the first time the forum will just focus on the capital city.

“The international political situation influenced the key aspects of the country’s life, bringing internal goals and tasks to the foreground. That is why we have decided to concentrate only on the Moscow agenda this year, and to dedicate the Forum to the presentation and discussion of projects related to the capital, a search for new Moscow development centres, outlining the problems and challenges faced by the megacity during the crisis, a search for the most optimal and effective solutions for further successful development of the city,” said Marat Khusnullin, the Moscow Deputy Mayor for Urban Development and Construction and the head of the Moscow Urban Forum executive committee.

Turenscape and MAP Chosen to Redevelop Kazan's Kaban Lake Embankments

Russian-Chinese consortium Turenscape and MAP architects was announced as winners of a major competition to redevelop the Kaban lake system embankments in Kazan, Russia. Their winning concept, “Elastic band: The Immortal Treasure of Kazan” aims to establish a "continuous system of landscapes along the bank line, which will preserve the cultural and historical memory and become a basement for future stage-by-stage development."

"The water is turning into a real living treasure and heritage of Kazan," said the competition's organizer.

Asymptote Unveils Plans for Hermitage Museum and New Tower in Moscow

Today in Moscow, Asymptote Architecture unveiled plans for the new Hermitage Modern Contemporary, alongside a 150-meter tower planned for ZiL - the city's oldest industrial area and former Soviet automotive factory. The State Hermitage Museum's newest outpost, the 15-story satellite facility was said to be inspired by El Lissitzky's "Proun" painting, which informed the building's "terraced interior."

“With so much museum work over the years, we’ve dress-rehearsed for the Hermitage,” Hani Rashid of Asymptote told the New York Times back in July. “We’ve done a lot of thinking about how art might be seen in the future, about how the museum building itself can provoke artistic responses.”

Nikolay Polissky Unveils His Latest Wood Installation in Russia

Russian artist Nikolay Polissky has completed yet another of his impressive, handcrafted installations. Located in Zvizzhi Village, in the Ugra National Park in Russia, Polissky’s newest creation—called SELPO, which stands for The Rural Consumer Association, in Russian—wraps around an abandoned soviet building, which used to house the village shop.

The project utilizes off-cut materials from Polissky’s previous work, which has ranged “from temporary pieces of landscape proportions, collectively created […] to public art works in city parks or sculpture parks […] in Europe and in Russia, as well as museum installations.”

© Alexey Naroditskiy © Kozhohin © Alexey Naroditskiy © Alexey Naroditskiy

CEBRA Wins Competition to Design Smart School in Russia

Denmark-based architects CEBRA have won a competition to design a Smart School educational complex in Irkutsk, Russia. Their winning design, dubbed Smart School Meadow, fulfills the competition’s call for a new typology of school that combines architecture and landscaping into a learning environment and local community center.

The design integrates buildings and landscape together through a ring of individual structures connected by a large, ridged rooftop. With this roof, spaces between the buildings can be used as multifunctional, semi-covered learning spaces, activity zones, and flow areas, all of which diffuse into the central and outer landscaped areas.

Courtesy of CEBRA architecture Courtesy of CEBRA architecture Courtesy of CEBRA architecture Courtesy of CEBRA architecture

Enter Russia's Tiny Mud-Clad Museum for Rural Labour

Standing tall in the expansive landscape of Western Russia, the monolithic Museum for Rural Labor is an architectural beacon for the Kaluga Oblast region. Built of local straw and clay, the eight meter tower is comprised of one round sunlit room adorned with the instruments of manual labor. Jarring, unexpected and mysterious, the museum was conceived by Russian architects Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova to pay homage to the region's deep agricultural history. Defined by a stark and unorthodox form, the tower disrupts the Russian landscape while simultaneously serving as a wayfinding device for residents from the nearby village of Zvizzhi.

Enter the rudimentary world of the Museum for Rural Labour after the break.

© Dmitry Chebanenko © Dmitry Chebanenko © Dmitry Chebanenko © Dmitry Chebanenko

Examining OMA's Two Latest Venues for Contemporary Art

In an article for DesignCurial, Shumi Bose visits OMA's new galleries in Milan and Moscow: the Fondazione Prada and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Noting that "the mythologies [between OMA and Miuccia Prada] have become inextricably intertwined" over recent years, "the purpose of [the Fondazione Prada] was to produce a range of spaces for the creation, display of and engagement with art; what results is the built realisation of a particular ethos, affording the protean OMA a return to form. And it was always going to be stylish." Bose's flowing description of the building and its spaces, which she ultimately praises as "a place which will bear return," leads into an equally compelling description of Garage for which she recognises its clear "contribution [...] in supporting, indeed composing, the very narrative of Russian contemporary art."

Spotlight: Konstantin Melnikov

Best known for the Rusakov Workers’ Club and his own house, Russian architect and painter Konstantin Melnikov (August 3rd, 1890 - November 28th, 1974) has only recently received his due, now more than forty years after his death. He spent much of the twentieth century shunned by the Soviet architectural establishment, having refused to capitulate to the increasingly conformist (and classicist) prescriptions of Stalinism. As a result, he was forced to end his career only a decade after it started, returning to his other avocation as a painter and leaving in his wake only a precious few completed works.

10 Shortlisted to Re-Envision Kazan's Kaban Lake Embankments

Ten finalist have been shortlisted as part of an open, two-stage competition set to redesign the Kaban lake system embankments in Kazan. Held under the authority of the Republic of Tatarstan Government, the competition will now ask the remaining teams to work on other town-planning projects in the Republic of Tatarstan held within the three context of the Water-Conservation Zones Year - in Kazan, Naberezhnye Chelny, Nizhnekamsk, Almetyevsk and other cities. Visiting sessions with the President of the Republic will be organized to introduce the context of the competition to the finalists.

The Winner will receive one million Rubles and a contract for the design project development of the future embankment.

The 10 remaining finalists are...

Nikolay Polissky Creates Towering, Handcrafted Structures Across Russia

Born in 1957 in Moscow, artist Nikolay Polissky creates impressive, handcrafted structures in the middle of Russia's vast landscapes. Mostly carried out in the town of Nikola Lenivets -- located 200 km from the Russian capital --  his works are built entirely by the area's residents, using local materials, such as branches, trunks and wooden tables. Traditional construction techniques are used as a starting point for the projects. 

His work is inspiring not only because of its imposing form, but also because he managed to re-activate a semi-abandoned village through art and architecture, involving residents in the creative process and transforming the region into a sort of open cultural center. Since 2003, his work has been part of Archstoyanie, the largest Land-Art festival in Russia.

Gates of Perm (2011). Image © Tima Radya Hyperboloid / Volcano (2009). Image Courtesy of Nikolay Polissky Lighthouse (2004). Image Courtesy of Nikolay Polissky Media tower (2002). Image Courtesy of Nikolay Polissky