With a presentation by Dutch architect Winy Maas (MVRDV), the third edition of "Living Environment," organized by Russian Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector, DOM.RF and Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, was inaugurated today in the city of Kaliningrad, Russia. Also participating on the opening day are Martin Sobota (Holland), Elliot Eisenberg (United States), and Brian Mark Evans (United Kingdom).
This year's edition of the forum, entitled "All About Housing," brings together architects, urban planners, businessmen, and government officials to discuss and reflect on trends in the housing market. The forum's main objective is to establish a dialog between the state, real estate developers, and designers to improve the quality of life in Russia.
During the day Winy Maas, founder of the Dutch office MVRDV which is known for its variety of housing projects in Holland, France, China, and India, as well as for his co-authorship of the master plan of Greater Paris, shared his views on contemporary living environments:
There are four important points for contemporary housing development: diversity, community, green areas, and a mix of uses.
The architect placed a special emphasis on the importance of diversity when designing new homes:
It's necessary to create different sizes and types of housing so that citizens have the option to choose how they want to live—to create environments where we live together but with a diversity that allows each individual to develop their own identity. This can occur within a residential building, as in a mix of different houses that together make up a neighborhood. You bring your architect, I bring mine and we do something nice between everyone.
To this, Alexander Plutnik, the CEO of the corporation organizing the forum DOM.RF, added his words:
We are in favor of expansive density in place of tall buildings; we believe in the densification of medium height and in the use of a mix of typologies. Construction in Russia is building the economy of the country and this, in turn, is generating more attractive cities for our citizens. Our main objective is to put people at the center of all the urban changes.
The program also includes an educational festival called "Urban Weekend," featuring cultural activities such as live music, a market of food characteristic to the area, city tours, and an open-air cinema, through which citizens are taught the potential of their region and how to be a part of the change.
In addition, the winning projects of the international open competition for the Standard Housing and Residential Development Concept Design were presented.