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. http://www.archdaily.com/214726/rio-de-janeiros-favelas-the-cost-of-the-2016-olympic-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. Every time the International Olympic Committee sits down to choose the next host city, cities all over the world jump at the opportunity to impress, hoping that they will be chosen for the global celebration of human feats and accomplishments. As spectators, we are assured that cities can only benefit from being chosen to host the events. They bring tourism, new architectural projects, and global recognition. They encourage city infrastructure to develop and upgrade. They inspire measures that clean up a city, make it "presentable"; and eventually they raise the standard of living for residents. However, they also have the capacity to infringe on the rights and dignity of the very people whose land is being leased to this global event. The massive buildings that host the events have to be built somewhere, and often they are built in the disadvantaged neighborhoods that haven't the political leverage to fight against imminent domain. We've seen this happen in different versions to varying degrees, and we're seeing it now in Sochi as neighborhoods are destroyed, homes are razed, and life becomes unbearable for those still living among the construction and pollution with no means to relocate. The global community looks on in horror as reports like Anna Nemtsova's for ForeignPolicy.com (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/11/russia_s_olympic_city) reveal the treatment of citizens to make room for the infrastructure that supports the Olympics. Nemtsova gives some insight into the status of these projects and their affects on communities: The rising concrete wall (set to be 12 feet high upon completion) is about to cut off Acacia Street's view of the mountains -- and, indeed, of the rest of the world. During rainstorms, bulldozers push mud into residential courtyards, where the dirty water floods residents' basements, destroying floors and furniture. Mold is creeping up the walls in homes, filling the air with a rotten-garbage smell. Last month, Sochi City Hall filed a lawsuit against Acacia Street inhabitants who haven't been willing to demolish their own outhouses, kitchens, and water pumps that happen to be in the way of the construction of a new federal highway. But what happens here is not just a human rights issue that leaves people disenfranchised. This otherwise idyllic get-away city has been transformed by the massive construction undertaking and in some cases has become an ecological disaster as well. Greenpeace an World Wildlife Fund have both expressed concern over the construction that is poisoning the lakes which are a crucial ecological site for migrating birds. And community protest and activism in regards to their own condition has gone unregistered by President Putin, according to Nemtsova. The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/12/sochi-2014-an-olympic-preview/100422/) posted some progress photos from the construction late last year. These images are bittersweet. On the one hand they show growth, construction, progress and the majesty and grandiosity that we associate with this celebration. On the other hand, we see photos of demolished, scattered rubble, and construction sites where there once were neighborhoods. It's sad to think that this global celebration has so many casualties. Is this something that was always the case, the unmentionable part of the Olympic Games? Or has it become more acceptable to bulldoze neighborhoods for the sake of the games and declare imminent domain without regard for the people or the place? And what can we do differently next time? While the global community watches and comments, it largely turns a blind eye to these developments, permitting them to perpetuate year after year.
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 deadline for submissions is May 22. For more information, please visit here.
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.
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.
Team Shishka shared with us their 1st prize winning proposal in the International Art Residence Design Concept Competition in Nikola Lenivets, Russia. As stars in the cosmos, buildings and residences are spread on the site while connected with basic infrastructure. This system takes maximal advantage of the landscape, yet has minimal impact on nature. Within the flexible framework of plan, Nikola Lenivets can be experienced during every moment of the day, the whole year long. More images and the team’s description after the break.
The Independent reports that nearby construction (which visibly moves the ground the building sits on) has weakened the 83-year-old foundations dangerously. Konstantin Melnikov’s grand-daughter (and current resident of the house), Ekaterina Karinskaya, further told The Independent that, due to broken heating pipes, the wooden house spent more than 50 days without heating in what were often sub-zero temperatures.
Although there have been interests expressed to turn the house into a museum, a tense legal debate between Ms. Karinskaya and a developer has put any plans on stand-still. Meanwhile, time is running out for the architectural icon.
More on the Melnikov House debate, after the break...
Located in Nikola Lenivets Park in Kaluga, Russia, this proposal for the Artist Residence, which was shortlisted in the design competition, suggests the typology of a campus, a condensed layout providing the facilities for all of the artist residence community– living, learning and creating. Designed by Talmon Biran Architecture Studio, in collaboration with architect Ana Leschinsky, the proposed scheme is open ended, allowing flexibility and future growth while integrating the buildings within the landscape. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Museum and Educational Center of the Polytechnic Museum and Lomonosov Moscow State University Design Competition
The Polytechnic Museum Development Foundation recently announced the international architectural design competition for the Museum and educational center of the Polytechnic Museum and Lomonosov Moscow State University. The project provides for a total project area of 35,000 square meters on the land plot with a total area of 1 Ha located on the new territory of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The objective is 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. The deadline to register and for submissions is November 19. For more information, please visit here.
The Kuntsevo Centre, designed by The Jerde Partnership, will provide a new stage for dynamic public activity and distinct commercial offerings in central Moscow. The pedestrian-oriented center will establish a vibrant leisure, shopping, business, and residential complex reconnecting the urban fabric of the historic Kuntsevo district, while creating a new landmark for the city. Delivering a modern community gathering destination rooted in art, nature, and urban connectivity, the project’s design enhances its potential to become a continuously active public realm. More images and architects’ description after the break.