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Conference: Urban Routines 2013/14

Russian city dwellers live their daily lives, drive cars on busy streets, sit in front of computers in offices, buy groceries and other goods in supermarkets and shops, bring up their children and watch television at home. This decidedly typical Lebenswelt, routine, everyday, the gigantic and complex world of the ordinary, is under-researched and poorly analysed. The theme for Strelka’s 2013-2014 research school year is Urban Routines

Shukhov Tower's Fate Put to a Vote

Despite severe corrosion, with almost 70% of one its six sections “thoroughly corroded” according to the government, Vladimir Shukhov’s 1922 radio tower has never been restored. Earlier this year, a large group of international architects petitioned the government to save the tower, one of only 20 or so of Shukhov’s 200 towers still standing in Russia. Now Moscow’s government has put the fate of the landmark tower to a public vote. 

Until July 6 Moscovites can use the  “Engaged Citizen” app to support one of four actions: hold an open competition to restore the tower, move the tower to a new location, move it to its historic location on Shabolovka street, or invent a new solution.

Inside Russia's "Fair Enough" - Special Mention Winner at the Venice Biennale 2014

The Russian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale is selling the most important architectural ideas from Russia. Curators Anton Kalgaev, Brendan Mcgetrick, and Daria Paramonova selected twenty ideas that offer solutions to contemporary architectural issues and designed the pavilion as a commercial fair. It's even got generic furniture and salespeople manning the booths.

They talked to us about their project Fair Enough and why their contribution to the Biennale is a market where Russia's originally socialist ideas are sold as updated "products."

Check out the full curatorial statement, flip through the 160-page pavilion catalog, and see a full gallery of images after the break.

Fair Enough. Venice Biennale 2014. Image © Nico Saieh Fair Enough. Venice Biennale 2014. Image © Nico Saieh Fair Enough. Venice Biennale 2014. Image © Nico Saieh Fair Enough. Venice Biennale 2014. Image © Nico Saieh

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.

Russian Character International Architecture Competition

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

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

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...