For its 9th edition, the Moscow Urban Forum continues to consolidate as one of the world’s most relevant urban conferences, bringing together a diverse group of architects, urbanists, city mayors, government officials, economists, developers, academics, citizens, and professionals from diverse fields and nationalities.
While Pierre de Meuron’s main keynote puts focus on ongoing developments in the city of Moscow, by showcasing the ambitious scheme to redevelop the Badaevskiy Brewery, the lectures and presentations acknowledged the diverse areas that shape the city, including topics such as mental health, lifestyle of the millennial generation, evolution of work, or delivery platforms. The evolution of the role of the architect was present, with a growing number of professionals now working on startups in the tech, infrastructure, real estate, construction, and mobility sectors, the new city makers.
Pierre de Meuron’s keynote (video above) focused on his practice’s approach to urban projects, a series of strategies that drive the core principles of each project. These were explained through some of the firm's recent projects (Tate Modern, Elbphilharmonie, LA Arts District), as an introduction to the Badaevskiy Brewery development, an ambitious plan for the reconversion of a former industrial site along the Moskva River embankment. The scheme mixes the adaptation of the old heritage buildings with a horizontal skyscraper. The horizontal building sits on top of a slender structure, creating a “city lifted up in the air”, a radical scheme that creates a unique relation between the site, the park and the river.
We had the opportunity to moderate an interesting conversation between Winy Maas (MVRDV), Yuri Grigoryan (MEGANOM), Sergei Tchoban (SPEECH) and Reinier de Graaf (OMA), titled "Not Just Standardised, How Architects See Modern Housing". The participants shared their approaches to housing on their recent projects, from MEGANOM’s Manhattan skyscraper to MVRDV’s massive housing projects in India, and discussed the questions of market forces, density and the failure of the modern project, with contrasting views from examples such as the density and height of Saint Petersburg by Sergei Tchoban, or Reinier de Graaf’s survey on the wealth of NY’s skyline.
But it was a group of architects operating from the startup context that shared new ways of understanding the evolution of our profession. Michel Rojkind (WeWork), Oke Hauser (MINI Living), Marko Mihić Jeftić (PIK), and others shared how they are translating the rapid changes of our society into the new ways spaces are conceived, designed, fabricated, adapted, and operated over time. From millennial housing to subcenters and their relation with delivery platforms, to the current state of work and how it evolves from co-work into co-living.
The Forum expands to address the evolving nature of the city, incorporating diverse actors to generate an enriching knowledge exchange, for both the city of Moscow and for the rest of the world.