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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.