Open Call: Competition Seeks Ideas for Königsberg Cultural Center

Courtesy of Urban Planning Bureau “Heart of the City”

The Region Government, in collaboration with the City Administration and the Non-Profit Partnership ”Urban Planning Bureau ‘Heart of the City’” has launched an open international design competition for an architectural design of the Governmental historic and complex on the grounds of the former order castle Königsberg in Kaliningrad (“Post-castle,” 4,5 ha). The competition aims to find a contemporary architectural image of Kaliningrad’s historic center, while accommodate for new functions, such as a concert hall, museum of archaeology, and history museum of the King’s castle.

FR-EE Among 6 Shortlisted to Envision Atomic Energy Pavilion in Russia

Site. Image Courtesy of ROSATOM

Six teams have been shortlisted in stage-two of a competition to develop ideas for Russia’s “Atomic Energy Pavilion” in Moscow. Planned for a site at the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy, the pavilion is intended to share the “history of the native nuclear industry” and its “contribution into modern economic development” as well as provide an open “communication forum” for the ROSATOM and the general public.

The six finalists are…

Moscow’s High Rise Bohemia: The International Business District With No Business

Moskva City. Image © Kirill Vinokurov

The Moscow International Business Center (Also known as Moskva-City) was meant to be Russia’s ticket into the Western world. First conceived in 1992, the district at the edge of ’s city center is intended to contain up to 300,000 inhabitants, employees and visitors at any given moment and, when completed, will house over 4 million square meters of prime retail, hotel and office space to create what the Russian government desired most from this project: an enormous financial district that could dwarf London’s Canary Wharf and challenge Manhattan. Twenty three years later though, Moscow-based real estate company Blackwood estimates that as much as 45% of this new space is entirely vacant and rents have plummeted far below the average for the rest of Moscow. The only press Moskva-City is attracting is for tenants like the High Level Hostel, a hostel catering to backpackers and other asset-poor tourists on the 43rd floor of the Imperia Tower, with prices starting at $25.50 for a bed in a six-person room. This is not the glittering world of western high finance that was envisioned back in the post-Soviet 90s; but what has it become instead?

Competition Entry: WE architecture and CREO ARKITEKTER A/S’ Proposal for New Medical Center Moscow

Courtesy of

WE architecture and CREO ARKITEKTER A/S have won one of three prizes in the first phase of an invited competition to design a new Moscow Medical Center. Combining the functionalism of today’s healthcare with the humanistic qualities of past architecture, the proposal introduces a facility fine-tuned for those inside.

Learn more about the proposal, after the break.

Last Call: Architects Summoned to Envision Public Space for Moscow’s Kristall City

© CENTER Agency of Strategic Development

Architects interested in proposing ideas for a new public space in , a former territory of legendary distillery, have until Tuesday (February 24) to submit applications. Organized by KRAYS development and the CENTER Agency of Strategic Development, the competition is calling on all architects and designers to consider three sites to host the cities premier public space. The newly developed area aims to “share the future look of the quarter” and establish a “new type of public space made out of form industrial city territories. Learn more and apply, here.

“A Message to Everybody”: The Red Square Pavilion Winners on Encouraging Tolerance with Architecture

Courtesy of HMMD

Announced in the summer of 2014 the Red Square Tolerance Pavilion, an international ideas competition organized by HMMD, was a deliberately provocative proposal before any teams had even entered - a statement planned in an envronment where tolerance is an increasingly urgent topic, for people both inside and outside Russia. In this interview, originally published by Strelka Magazine, the Italian winners of the competition discuss their proposal and its response to this charged context.

This January the winners of the ‘Red Square Tolerance Pavilion’ competition that was organised by international organisation HMMD were announced. The first prize was given to a team of architects from Italy. Their bold and daring project proposed to build the pavilion right against the Kremlin wall. Strelka Magazine caught up with , Marco Merigo, Alessandro Vitale and to discuss fluidity of space, the symbolism behind their design and the media image of Russia.

A Wilderness in the City: How Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Zaryadye Park Could Help Fix Moscow

Courtesy of

In late 2013, Diller Scofidio + Renfro won first prize in the international competition to design Zaryadye Park, ’s first new park in 50 years. The project is a headliner in a series of high-profile schemes that aim to improve the city’s green space, including the renovation of Gorky Park and the recently revealed plans for the Moscow River. This article, originally published by The Calvert Journal as part of their How to Fix Moscow series examines how DS+R’s urban “wilderness” will impact the city.

In a 2010 interview, the critic and historian Grigory Revzin complained that Muscovites wishing to “walk in parks and get pleasure from the city” would have to “come out into the streets” before anything was done. Hoping that architects would respond to the problem, one of Revzin’s suggestions was a park to replace the site of Hotel Rossiya, which had become overgrown since being abandoned in 2007. This wild area in the city centre was, in fact, a harbinger of what is to come: Zaryadye Park, Moscow‘s first new park in 50 years, which the American design studio Diller Scofidio+Renfro won the international competition to design in November 2013.

Sergei Tchoban on the Importance of Drawing and Details in Architecture

Berlin Art Link recently sat down with Russian-born, German architect Sergei Tchoban. In the interview above, he discusses his career, including working on the design for the Vostok Tower, Europe’s tallest skyscraper, and the recent opening of the Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing. This building houses his extensive personal works, as well as exhibitions by other artists.  “What is very important for me is the quality of all details, so you create a building from outline, from the silhouette, to the door lever. This building brings out a lot of our and my personal ideas about architecture and about details in architecture,” Tchoban said regarding his design for the Museum for Architectural . The exterior of the building expresses Tchoban’s devotion to draftsmanship– the facade of the building is etched with a graphic pattern based on sketches from artists Angelo Toseli and Pietro di Gottardo Gonzaga. “I’m very active in drawings, as a draftsman myself.  is a result of our thinking process and our thinking process is not only a thinking process with the head, with the mind, but also the process where you think with the whole body.” 

Why Putin Likes Columns: 21st Century Russia Through the Lens of Architecture

Rendering of the proposed Lakhta Center in St Petersburg. Image Courtesy of www.proektvlahte.ru

In August 1932, Stalin, holidaying in Sochi, sent a memo containing his thoughts on the entries for the competition to design the Palace of the Soviets, the never-to-be-built monument to Lenin and center of government. In this memo he selected his preferred design, the colossal wedding cake of a tower topped with a 260-foot (79-meter) high statue of Lenin, designed by Boris Iofan. Just over 80 years later, again hosted the architectural whims of a powerful Russian leader for the 2014 Winter Olympics. An oversimplification? Probably. But it’s got nice symmetry to it.

Rem Koolhaas and Dasha Zhukova: “Art Partners” Reinventing Moscow’s Garage Museum

February Cover . Image © WSJ. Magazine

Rem Koolhaas and art philanthropist will be gracing the WSJ. Magazine’s February cover as “art partners” embarking on a transformation that will turn a ruined Brezhnev-era Communist landmark – the Vremena Goda in ’s Gorky Park – into the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s new home. “The building is basically a found object,” said Koolhaas, regarding his “raw” design and intent to preserve the structure’s decay. “We are embracing it as it is.”

The museum’s new home will “challenge the white-cube tradition of Western museums,” says Zhukova. A double layer of polycarbonate plastic will encase the intact structure so it appears as a translucent box hovering six feet above ground. Commissioned artworks will be presented on a backdrop of “raw brick and broken tiles.” Learn more about the Garage’s design, here, and read the WSJ. Magazine’s full report, here.

Red Square Tolerance Pavilion Competition Winners Unveiled

Space-ing Walls. Image Courtesy of HMMD

The results of the Red Square Tolerance Pavilion Competition, hosted by Homemade Dessert (HMMD), have been announced. Placed directly in the center of Moscow‘s Red Square, the competition asked designers to advocate the many facets of tolerance (social, religious, and political) by manifesting them in the form of a temporary pavilion. To further enhance these ideas, the pavilion is not only a symbolic space, but an educational one, with lecture halls and exhibition areas as its program, encouraging entrants to promote tolerance in all aspects of their designs.

View the winning designs after the break.

6 of Russia’s Best 21st Century Projects

© Ed Reeve, Adjaye Associates & AB Studios

Given the country’s rich architectural history spanning almost the entirety of the 20th century, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the fall of Russian Communism in the early 1990s might have sparked an exciting new era in design. That promise hasn’t exactly been fulfilled, but as The Calvert Journal reports, a few promising recent projects are hinting at a Russian Renaissance.

The last twenty years of architecture has added little but bog-standard steel-and-glass office blocks to the limited palate of the Russian cityscape — the usual glinting onion domes, pompous Stalinist neoclassicism and crumbling tower blocks. But lately some architects have dared to differ and turned bold blueprints into bricks and mortar. Read on after the break for our pick of the best Russian buildings of the last decade.

Milan Expo 2015: Russia to Exhibit Expansive Timber Pavilion

Courtesy of Eventica Communications

has released designs for their participation at Milan Expo 2015. Taking in consideration Russia’s most successful world EXPO pavilions, of which the country has been producing since 1851, and the importance of “green technologies,” SPEECH has designed an expansive 4000-square-meter timber structure with a pronounced roofline that features a mirrored canopy extending 30-meters over the pavilion’s main entrance.

The Growth Of “Hipster Stalinism” In Areas Of Moscow

Door19 / P H. D. Image Courtesy of ArtKvartal

In an article for The Guardian, Maryam Omidi explores ’s Door19, a place where “Damien Hirst and David LaChapelle artworks adorn the raw concrete walls,” “flair bartenders serve up gem-coloured cocktails,” and “a rotation of Michelin-starred chefs flown in from around the world curate new menus each week.” It is indicative, she argues, of what Kuba Snopek (a lecturer at the Strelka Institute) describes as “hipster Stalinism” – a surge of redevelopment in certain parts of Moscow that cater to the ‘oligarchs’, wealthy creatives and Muscovite ‘hipsters’. At Door19, for example, apartments sell for between $15,000 and $20,000 per square metre.

Project Meganom Wins Contest to Transform Moscow Riverfront

Fishing on Kremlin © Courtesy of Project Meganom

Russian practice Project Meganom has been announced as the winner in a competition to drastically transform the Moscow riverfront. Their masterplan proposal aims to create a series of linear green spaces, while also incorporating new cultural and education spaces along the waterfront and improving the surrounding public transport. Announced at the IV annual Moscow Urban Forum which opened earlier today, the goal of the competition was to return the Moscow river from a “barrier” into a “link” in the city, restoring its historical status as the city’s heart and most important transportation route.

Read on after the break for more details of Project Meganom’s masterplan

Cybertopia: The Digital Future of Analog Architectural Space

2. Cybertopia. Death of analogous cities. Image © Egor Orlov

“Cyberspace, filled with bugs and glitches – the components of its natural habitat – will form a completely new and previously unknown location when released into a real city  – Cybertopia,” says Egor Orlov, a current student at the Strelka Institute in Moscow. According to Orlov, the physical world is on the brink of a major technological breakthrough that will revolutionize the way architects conceive of space – closing the gap between analog and digital.

Cybertopia - completed while he was a student at the Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering under tutors Akhtiamov I.I. and Akhtiamova R.H. and nominated for the Archiprix Madrid 2015 - exists as another dimension for Orlov, where fairy tales come to life and science harmonizes with engineering and architectural design. “Future of an Architecture Space. Cybertopia. Death of Analogous Cities,” delves into a fantasy world where the “possibility to fly or walk from one planet to another” becomes an illustrated reality using a combination of drafting-based techniques and a wild imagination.

Enter the hybrid technological-analog world of Cybertopia after the break

IV Moscow Urban Forum: “Drivers of City Development”

The IV annual Moscow Urban Forum is quickly approaching. To be held from December 11-14, the forum is an international conference on city planning, urban development and related subjects. With the overarching theme of “Drivers of City Development,” this year’s forum will feature talks by Uma Adusumilli, Pablo Allard, Dan Hill, Sergei Kapkov, Maksim Liksutov, Antanas Mockus and Hui Wang, among many others.

The Forum will look at infrastructure, economy, social development and culture as the main drivers of city development, with day one starting by discussing the global development of megacities as well as the agenda for Russian city development. Day two will focus specifically on ’s city agenda, while days three and four will feature the Forum speakers as well as special events for urban communities.

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

(Central Pavilion): Ceiling. Image © David Levene

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas’ earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”