In Russia, hundreds upon hundreds of buildings are endangered. The work of making sure they don’t become extinct? That’s in the hands of a tireless few.
One of these crusaders is Natalia Melikova, the author of The Constructivist Project, an on-line web site that seeks to preserve the memory – and hopefully inspire the protection of – Russia’s avant-garde architecture. Although it began as her thesis project, it’s steadily become one of her life passions. In Melikova’s words, “By sharing photographs (my own and others), articles, events, exhibitions, and other resources on the topic of the avant-garde, The Constructivist Project unites common interest and appreciation of Russian art and history and makes it accessible to an international English-speaking audience. This is a way to initiate discussion not only of the perilous situation of Russian avant-garde architecture but also of cultural preservation and urban development in general.”
See 10 of Melikova’s images, snapshots into a part of Russian history quickly being forgotten, with her descriptions, after the break.
Russia has madly, passionately (and not a little blindly) fallen in love. And, as with any love affair worth its salt, this one will have its fair share of consequences when the honeymoon ends.
The object of Russia’s affection? The good, old-fashioned automobile.
It started fast and has only gotten faster. In 2005, Russia’s auto industry grew 14%; in 2006, 36%; and, in 2007, a whopping 67% – an exponential growth that attracted foreign investors, particularly after 2009, when the country welcomed companies like GM & Ford with open arms. Today, the ninth largest economy in the world is the seventh-largest car market, positioned to surpass Germany as the largest in Europe by 2014.
Nowhere is this love affair more evident, more woven into the city itself, than in Moscow. The city has a reputation (perhaps rivaled only by Beijing’s) for traffic, pollution, and downright hostility to pedestrians. And, ironically, because of its epic congestion, the city continues to expand its highways and parking spaces.
We’ve heard that story before, and we know how it ends – for that matter, so does Moscow. But passion, by nature, is blind – and stopping a love affair in its tracks is far from easy.
Imminent domain has a new justification and it’s called the Olympic Games. Once again, the anticipation of the Olympics brings to light the slew of human rights violations that are permitted by countries as they prepare to host the games. So what is the real cost of hosting the Olympic Games? We posed this question on ArchDaily last year in regards to Rio de Janeiro’s pick for hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Summer Games. And here we are again, looking at the controversies that surround building the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which has been preparing for the games for six years now since it won its bid in 2007. If Brazil’s practices with the favelas struck a nerve with human rights groups, Sochi’s is sure to spark more controversy.
More after the break.
Officially launched this month by Strelka Institute for Media Architecture and Design, the International Competition for Zaryadye Park in Moscow, Russia is challenging participants to develop an Architecture and Landscaping Design Concept that will form the basis for the creation of a contemporary Park with a high quality infrastructure that will be open for the public all year round. Zaryadye is a unique historic district in downtown Moscow, and after the demolition of Hotel Russia, the site has remained abandoned for over 6 years. In late January, 2012, Prime Minister and President-Elect Vladimir Putin proposed to turn this 130 000 sq. m area into a multi-functional public park. The application deadline is May 22. For more information, please visit here.
As we reported in December of last year, the Melnikov’s house 83-year old foundations have weakened considerably since the onset of neighboring construction. Unfortunately, the situation has only worsened “significantly” over the last few months.
Read more about the state of the Melnikov House, and what architects are doing to try and prevent its deterioration, after the break…
The construction of the city is something that goes beyond architects and planners. It involves the government, the citizens and the private sector. For the ArchDaily Interview series we have interviewed many architects with very different backgrounds, and we have started to include people outside the field that have played an important role either for our profession or the city.
During our last trip to Moscow, we had the opportunity to interview Alexander Mamut, businessman and investor who is involved in projects such as the Pioner Cinema, the Waterstone book chain, the blogging service LiveJournal and other projects related to culture, media and the city. He is also one of the founders of the Strelka Institute, a post graduate school located at the Chocolate Factory in the heart of Moscow and using the city as a laboratory, with an ambitious plan to raise the quality of architectural education in the country.
The founders of Strelka (who also include Sergey Adonyev, Dmitry Likin, Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper and Oleg Shapiro) invited Rem Koolhass to design the curriculum for this new school, who under the AMO research arm prepared the educational programme for Strelka, with a research agenda based on design, energy, preservation, public spaces and thinning. The institute brings together professionals from different disciplines to have a comprehensive approach to city and architecture, from architects to urbanists, writers, designers, scientists, and journalists.
The city of Moscow is facing tremendous challenges, due to the growth and changes it has undergone in the past few years, which will only accelerate as the result of its vibrant economy. The city is expected to double its population in the coming years, and many competitions, including the masterplan for the city’s expansion, are being held with this objective in mind.
In this scenario, architecture education is key in order to form the new generation of professionals that wil face the critical issues of contemporary Russia. And this is why we wanted to include Alexander Mamut, whose passion for the city led him to invest in the city in a particular way, in our interview series. He is a good example of what can be done from the private sector to develop cities with a long-term vision.
During the interview, we discuss with Alexander Mamut the future of Moscow, how education can improve the quality of life of its habitants, the importance of the private sector in the development of cities, and more.
With the aim to be a meaningful building beyond its iconic form, the new Museum & Educational Center (MEC), designed by 3XN, is about connecting with people, while opening up the world of science, technology, innovation and Russia’s extraordinary achievements in these domains. Through both an internal and external architectural expression of flexibility, this proposal, which was a finalist in the international competition, recognizes that architecture shapes behavior. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed by Leeser Architecture their design concept for the Polytechnic Education Center takes its cues from the rich history of modern Russian architecture of the early part of the twentieth century. Located in the Lenin Hills section of Moscow, which play an important role in the history of Moscow as a place of radical experimentation, the new institute symbolizes this incredible energy and conflation of future inventions with past achievement as a new symbol of global importance. More images and architects’ description after the break.
On May 2, Russia’s preeminent Mariinsky Theatre will celebrate the grand opening of a new, 851,575 square foot addition on a neighboring site, just west of the company’s original 1860 theatre and 2006 concert hall, in the heart St. Petersburg. Designed by Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects, Mariinsky II will be one of the largest theatre and concert venues in the world, providing a 2000-seat auditorium, state-of-the-art production facilities, and naturally lit rehearsal rooms, along with a rooftop amphitheatre and terrace.
Museum and Educational Center of the Polytechnic Museum and Lomonosov Moscow State University Design Competition Results
Organized by the Polytechnic Museum Development Foundation, the team of MASSIMILIANO FUKSAS Architetto (Italy) and SPEECH (Russia) was recently announced the winner of Architectural Concepts Competition for the Museum and Educational Center of the Polytechnic Museum and Lomonosov Moscow State University. The challenge was to create a museum and educational center for demonstrating most recent scientific and technological discoveries using state-of-the-art multimedia technologies for accommodating multiple displays and exhibitions as well as for conducting scientific educational programs. More images and information on the winning team and finalists after the break.
Between March 15th and March 27th 2013 the Central House of Architects will host the Nordic Wood festival of wooden architecture in Moscow where the most interesting examples of wooden architecture in Scandinavia, the Baltic states and Russia will be on display. The festival is being produced by the nationwide ARCHIWOOD project. The main event of the festival is the photographic exhibition. Works by recent winners and runners-up of prizes for wooden architecture from Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Russia will be on show, along with other works by architects building in wood from these countries. More images and information on the event after the break.
Curated by Bart Goldhoorn, publisher of Project Russia magazine, the Belgorod City Centre International Competition is asking participants to design a large urban block (around 300 x 200 m) in the heart of the city in order to replace the low rise buildings that now occupy the site with a more dense development. Though the construction of high towers is very popular in Russia with developers, the city would like to limit the maximum building height limited to 15-20 meters. The main task is to find the optimum between density and quality and offer the city a recipe for redeveloping the city center as a whole, making it at an attractive place to live and work. The deadline for submissions is May 10. To register, and for more information, please visit here.
In the framework of New Culture Festival, ‘Art-Ovrag 2013: Garden City’, there is currently an open call for their open architectural international competition “Balancing Pavilion”. The event, which takes place annually in Vyksa, Russia, gathers the best modern art designers, architectures and artists in one place. The 30 best projects will be presented on the exhibitions in Vyksa city, Volga department of NCCA (Nizhny Novgorod) and State Museum of architecture named after Schusev, Moscow. The deadline to register is March 22nd and the submission deadline is March 30th. To register, and for more information, please visit here.
The third prize winning proposal for the design of art residences in the village of Nikola-Lenivets, Russia is based on the principle of ecological compatibility and convergence with nature. Designed by Megabudka, this is achieved by architectural solutions, volumetric-spatial structures, interaction with environment, and internal physical and mental filling. This new community for artists, and all creative people, will consist of dormitories, a nursery, community center, family houses, and private units. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Wilmotte & Associés recently won the competition to design the 2018 FIFA World Cup Stadium in Kaliningra, Russia. Their design features an urban facade that wraps the stadium, consisting of a series of orthogonal screens that respond to the surrounding urban context. The project will be constructed from a primary steel structure, but the upper tier of the stadium will be temporary. The stadium has been designed so that after the tournament completes in 2018, the stands can be dismantled and the upper canopy can be removed. Construction of the 45,000 seat football stadium will begin in 2014. More images and architects’ description after the break.
‘Soviet Modernism 1955 – 1991. Unknown Stories’ explores, for the first time comprehensively, the architecture of the non-Russian Soviet republics completed between the late 1950s and the end of the USSR in 1991. The research and exhibition project shifts the Russian-dominated perspective and focuses attention on the architecture of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, The Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
More information after the break…
A shortlist of six international teams has been chosen to advance to the second stage of the architectural competition for the Museum and Educational Center of the Polytechnic Museum and Lomonosov Moscow State University.
The competition’s objective is to create a Museum and Educational Center that will compliment the historic Moscow Polytechnic Museum – one of the largest and oldest technical museums in the world – on the new territory of the Moscow State University (MSU). The new center is envisaged as a meeting point for the Russian and international scientific community. It will demonstrate the most recent scientific and technological discoveries using state-of-the-art multimedia technologies, for accommodating multiple displays and exhibitions as well as for conducing scientific educational programs for over 1.3 million annual visitors.
The shortlisted design teams are:
Populous was recently selected as the designers of the new Rostov Stadium in Russia, which will be the fourth Populous-designed stadium in the country to be used for the 2018 World Cup, together with Kazan, Saransk, Sochi. Part of an overall landscape, this urban design is planned for the whole region. It is inspired by the ancient earthworks along the banks of the river, the Kurgans. These archaeological mounds of earth were used for burial pagan rituals, creating major forms in the landscape. More images and architects’ description after the break.