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Video: The City With the Most Constructivist Buildings in the World

Few Constructivist projects made it through the World Wars, but if you're looking for those that did, you'd be wise to travel to Yekaterinburg, Russia. With over a dozen complexes, the city probably has the world's biggest collection of Constructivist buildings—and it's definitely the only place with a hotel in the shape of a hammer and sickle.

The fascinating video above by Ural Life and Culture tours the city and surveys the elements common to Constructivist buildings. Yekaterinburg was a laboratory for Constructivist architects who started building there soon after the movement was founded in Moscow in 1921. Architects from all over the Soviet Union, Poland, and Germany designed 4-5 story apartment blocks and office towers to replace single story wooden houses. The Soviets also introduced new typologies like public baths, kindergartens, and a 14-building secret police complex called the "Little Town of Cheka Officers," with covered passages so residents could walk between buildings indoors. 

Venice Biennale 2014: Russia to Assemble Expo of Urban Ideas from Past Century

True to the country’s experimental past, Russia’s participation for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale will expose the continued relevance of historical urban ideas by applying them as solutions for contemporary needs. Titled Fair Enough, the exhibition will be presented as an international trade show of ideas, a “marketplace of urban invention” that is both “made in Russia and open to the world.” 

The full curatorial text, after the break...

Conceptual Framework for the Development of Sokolniki Park Competition

Sokolniki Park of Culture and Rest and the ArchPolis Centre for Territorial Initiatives, with support from the City of Moscow Department of Culture and the City of Moscow Agency for Parks and Recreation (Mosgorpark), announce a competition to generate a conceptual framework for the development of Sokolniki Park.

Open International Competition for the Design of Summer Residential Unit

Project Baltia magazine and Yarky Hostel & Space have just announced the Open International Competition for the Design of Summer Residential Unit. Five winning projects will be implemented on the territory of the Hostel by August 2, 2014. The units should enable temporary accommodation for one or two persons. Functions of these units are similar to those of a hotel room.

Plans Underway for “Russian Tate Modern”

Rumor has it that Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov’s Bakhmetevsky bus garage may soon be transformed into Moscow’s prime modern art gallery. An “equivalent to London’s Tate Modern,” as the Calvert Journal describes, the historic 1927 structure has been said to be the most likely location for the new museum, dubbed “Pushkin Modern.” 

4th Moscow Biennale Architecture

This year ARCH MOSCOW is held within the 4th Moscow Biennale Architecture. The Biennale fully reflects the latest architectural trends and promotes technical innovations, stylistic researches and experimentation in the field of design ideas. The best examples of domestic and foreign architectural achievements are displayed and the principles of development of the quality architectural environment are professionally discussed. Traditionally, ARCH MOSCOW is the best platform for establishing business contacts in the field of architecture, development and construction.

Strelka Unsettled: A New Future for Moscow’s Most Neglected Architecture?

The Strelka Institute, Moscow’s most innovative school for architecture and urbanism, "might be soon forced to leave its current venue in the heart of the Russian capital" due to proposed redevelopment of the area. Faced by the threat of this possibility, the school formed a competition in order to collect ideas for the relocation. The winning proposal, developed by Squadra Komanda, proposes a "visionary program of development for the disputed and immense architectural legacy from the late-Soviet period."

Late Soviet architecture constitutes "almost two third of all buildings in Moscow." As it represents "an unpleasant reminder of the recent past," many Russians dislike this kind of building. As a result, the Strelka Unsettled, with the possibility for collaboration with the outdated cultural institutions hosted inside the building of the All Russian State Library for Foreign Literature (built in 1966), seeks to offer new scenarios for this "neglected kind of architecture."

Three Teams Shortlisted to Masterplan New Finance Center in Moscow

Three teams have been chosen to advance in the third and final round of a competition to masterplan the new International Financial Center (IFC) in "New Moscow." Once complete, the 460 hectare mixed-use development will add offices, housing and hotels, as well as commercial and social infrastructure to the area of Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye. The finalists are...

15 Practices Shortlisted for Russian Cultural Center Competition

Fifteen of 100 hopeful practices have been chosen to move forward in the second stage of the international “Russian Character” competition. Challenged to design a multi-functional Culture & Education Center for the newly developed Butovo Park residential district, the applicants will now begin to envision their proposals for the new venue. Once complete, the center will provide space for lectures, film screenings, indoor (and outdoor) concerts and master classes, as well as various outdoor sports activities and a museum that will showcase exhibitions on the the area’s history. The 15 shortlisted practices are...

Melnikov House Listed As Cultural Heritage Site

UPDATE: The ArchCouncil of Moscow reports that the Melnikov House has been listed as a cultural heritage site of federal value, an important step in its conservation. The following article first appeared on ArchDaily on April 23rd, 2013. 

Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, and Rem Koolhaas are among the many architects who have signed a letter pleading for the preservation of one of Konstantin Melnikov’s greatest works, the Melnikov House. As we reported in December of 2012, 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...

Architects Rally to Save Moscow's Historic Shukhov Tower

Tadao Ando, Elizabeth Diller, Rem Koolhaas and Thom Mayne are among the many signing a petition to urge Russian president Vladimir V. Putin to reconsider the fate of the neglected Shabolovka Radio Tower (Shukhov Tower), “a structure of dazzling brilliance and great historical importance,” as Norman Foster once described. Designed by Vladimir Shukhov and completed in 1922, the 160-meter hyperboloid structure is a 20th-century engineering feat that has served as a landmark of modernist architecture. 

Three Finalists Announced for Moscow's Ukraina Hotel Entryway Competition

The Ukraina Hotel, with the support of the non-state educational institution Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, have announced the finalists for the Ukraina Hotel Entryway competition. Designs from ABD Architects (Russia) in cooperation with Werner Sobek Moskwa (Russia), TPO Lesosplav (Russia) in cooperation with Malishev Wilson Engineers (UK), and Studio 44 (Russia) have been chosen from a total of ten competing proposals, one of which will now be implemented by the client. Offering the chance to design a new entrance to one of Moscow's foremost landmarks, the winning scheme will provide a rare opportunity to work with an unique example of Stalinist architectural heritage.

Competition Entry: Moscow’s National Centre for Contemporary Arts / WAI Think Tank

Reaching the second stage of the international competition to design Russia’s National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), which was won by Heneghan Peng Architects, WAI Think Tank put forth a proposal that projects the NCCA as not just a center "for the creation, study, and support of contemporary art in Russia" but also "a building as manifesto." WAI Think Tank focused on giving a flexible autonomy to the enclosed and external spaces, designing the galleries as extensions of the city, in an attempt to design "the first archetype of Museum as City." 

Exhibition Hall: Kapoor. Image Courtesy of WAI Think Tank Children's Educational Centre. Image Courtesy of WAI Think Tank Creative Residence. Image Courtesy of WAI Think Tank Exhibition Gallery: Paintings. Image Courtesy of WAI Think Tank

Russian Character International Architecture Competition

The Morton Group announces the "Russian Character" International Architecture Competition to develop the concept for a Culture & Education Center.

The Stadiums of Sochi

The 2014 Winter Olympics has commenced in Sochi within the shell of Populous’ Fabergé egg-inspired stadium. Built solely to host the opening and closing ceremonies, the Fisht Olympic Stadium's translucent polycarbonate roof bears a slight resemblance to the nearby, snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. Once the Games are complete, the stadium’s 40,000-seat capacity will be expanded to accommodate the 2018 FIFA World Cup, before retiring as a scaled-down, 25,000-seat home venue for the local football team. 

Populous’ stadium is just one of eleven purpose-built venues within the “Coastal Cluster” Olympic park. Check out a few others that caught our eye, after the break...

Gillespies and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Win “Park Russia” Masterplan

A team led by London-based masterplanners Gillespies has been announced as the winner of an international competition to design the largest theme park in Europe. Planned for a 1,000-hectare site in the Domodevdovo district of Moscow, “Park Russia” aims to merge concepts of healthy living, entertainment and education into one commercially attractive tourist destination.

The winning Cushman & Wakefield-led UK consortium includes architectural design firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, engineer Buro Happold, cost consultant Rider Levett Bucknall and place makers Fourth Street.

Three Shortlisted for Contemporary Arts Center in Moscow

The Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation has unveiled three shortlisted proposals for Moscow’s National Centre of Contemporary Arts (NCCA). The competition, now in its second and final stage, has selected these finalists from a longlist of ten, leaving behind proposals from Steven Holl Architects and other well-respected practices. 

Planned to become Russia’s main national institution for contemporary arts, the NCCA will host a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as lectures, professional conferences, concerts, performances, studios, art education facilities and more.

The three shortlisted finalists (and projects) are: 

"Art Palace" Cultural Complex Competition Entry / TOTEMENT | PAPER

TOTEMENT | PAPER's competition proposal to design an international multipurpose cultural and leisure exhibition complex, close to Moscow's Kremlin, centers around resolving the aesthetic disconnection, or "visual conflict", between the image of a modern European city - defined by the Ismailovo hotel complex - and the historic context of the site. Their designs (two variations of each other of which one has won the competition) do not blend into the existing cultural monuments but rather offer a modern antidote to the issues of scale, perception and "grandiose historical stylization" that currently exists.