On October 26th, 2019 the jury of the Second Russian Architecture Biennale for Young Architects announced the winners of this year’s competition. The jury members chose the best four of 30 projects by the finalists for the Gold and Silver Prizes. Special prizes were presented by the Russian Ministry of Construction and Housing and Communal Services and the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan; there were also two special mentions awarded by the jury.
The Gold Prize for redeveloping the site of the former Santekhpribor factory was presented to Alexander Alyayev (Moscow); Silver went to KB11 from Ufa. For the Port Elevator site, Leto (Moscow) took the Gold Prize and Megabudka (Moscow) was awarded Silver.
The Russian Ministry of Construction and Housing’s special prize went to Ilya Obodovsky from Simferopol. The special prize of the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan was awarded to Kseniya Vorobieva, also from Moscow. Projects by CHVOYA (St. Petersburg) and Azat Akhmadulin (Ufa) were awarded special mentions by the jury.
“This year we saw some important changes. The briefs we set involved working with specific sites, not abstract spaces. This way we can influence the development of key sites in our capital city. Essentially, we are creating a catalogue of concepts that can be used in other similar projects. We intend to commission real projects from all the prize winners and winners of special awards.” -- Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova, the biennale’s director.
The competition entries were assessed by: Sergei Tchoban (jury chairman): Michiel Riedijk, founder and partner of Neutelings Riedijk Architects and professor at Delft Technical University (Netherlands); Philip Yuan, founder of Archi-Union and professor at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Shanghai University; Kristin Feireiss, curator and co-founder of Aedes Architecture Forum, an independent architectural gallery in Berlin; and the three winners of the First Russian Architecture Biennale for Young Architects: Mikhail Beylin and Daniil Nikishin, founders of CITZENSTUDIO (Moscow); Nadezhda Koreneva (Moscow); and Oleg Manov (FUTURA Architects, St. Petersburg).
“In evaluating the projects, the most important criterion for us was how they would be carried out. We wanted to see a clear understanding of which elements could be preserved, which could not be preserved, and how they would be transformed to ensure truly sustainable, long-term development of the sites. Deciding on the winners was difficult, but in the end we were all pleased with the final decision and are eager to make it public.” -- Sergei Tchoban, the curator of the Second Russian Architecture Biennale for Young Architects
Aleksandr Alyaev, Moscow
The principal aim of this revitalization project is to radically transform the site’s urban structure in order to make it as permeable and accessible as possible. The excessively extensive northern part of the Santekhpribor factory site is to be split into two parts matching the size of the standard urban street block (100 x 150 m.); three similar street blocks will be created in the southern part of the site. In addition to softening the scale of the development, this layout approach makes it possible to create a new vehicular and pedestrian axis in Admiralteyskaya Sloboda. Both parts of the site will have a mix of functions, but each will have its own ‘specialization’: the northern part of the Santekhpribor site will be mainly residential, while the southern will have a creative and manufacturing cluster comprising office spaces, workshops, small modern manufacturing units, etc. The morphological similarity of the street blocks is to be emphasized by their compositional design and layouts: each will consist of small blocks forming a system of consistently developing public spaces which differ in degree of seclusion and intimacy. All the historical buildings on the territory of the old factory are to be preserved and given mainly public functions. Around them buffer zones will be created, allowing the listed buildings to ‘resonate’ as freely and fully as possible. The design of the public spaces will also include street furniture and installations making metaphorical allusions to the site’s industrial past. The residential development will mostly consist of 4-storey houses; only the most important spatial axes are to be marked out using taller landmarks of up to 24 metres in height.
KB 11, Ufa
The proposal by KB11 looks to culture, not manufacturing and industry as the motor for development of the territory of the Santekhpribor factory. Previously monofunctional, this site will now have a wide range of different functions, spurring transformation of the extremely rationalistic freestanding volumes into flexible urban structures. The northern part of the site is treated as a mainly public space bounded by the existing walls of the industrial buildings and by temporary pavilions. Here an extremely lively terrain is to be created by conserving the historical layer of manufacturing waste; the latter will be deliberately left on the site in memory of its past and of the tragic decline with which we are confronted here today. The boundaries of the site are to be denoted with columns and decorative areas of water whose configuration will repeat the outlines of the buildings that once stood here. Between these elements the existing well-worn path is to be upgraded; this will be backed up by a system of bridges and passageways. A kind of city-utopia will be created in which people will undergo a unique spatial experience, including through the erosion of the boundaries between outside and inside space and between urban and domestic furniture. In order to make the ruins suitable for all-year-round use, inserts are to be created inside and between them in the form of understated glasshouses and mobile luminous volumes on vertical tracks. During the daytime the luminous structures will serve as hospitable lounge areas at ground level; in the evening they will be raised above the site and provide it with illumination. Counterbalancing this space, the southern part of the site is to be treated as a concentration of striking emphases and energetic spatial forms.
Chvoya, St. Petersburg
Here KHVOYA proposes creating a so-called ‘light-industrial cluster’ with a prevalence of spaces for small local manufacturing enterprises that combine ‘pure’ manufacturing, warehousing, and showrooms for factory products. The creation of this manufacturing centre will provide an impulse for development of the surrounding territories, especially in the northern part of this site. The layout for the latter is based on ‘power lines’: walls which have survived from the transverse pre-Revolutionary blocks will determine the transverse routes of the streets, while the chimney of the boiler house will provide the main longitudinal axis; and this grid of coordinates will be used to design three street blocks. The existing ruins are here to be preserved and conserved, while the new street blocks are to be built directly adjacent to them. At the spot where the new development meets the house of Alafuzov the new building will stand on the boundary of the building that once existed here, revealing the latter lost volume and turning this phantom building into a garden. The same approach is to be taken to the surviving buildings along ulitsa Klary Tsetkin. This strategy makes it possible to create a large green buffer zone which on the one hand separates the new development from the noise of the street and on the other increases the clearly insufficient width of the pavement. In terms of function, the street blocks are housing intended for long-term rental; they include both free-standing houses and small apartment-block modules. The layout designs offer scope for varying the buildings’ functional content: the housing may be replaced with offices or hotel rooms.
THE GRAIN ELEVATOR
This project aims to develop the site and all adjacent territory in accordance with the urban-planning principles for Kazan’s historical centre, where the dense urban fabric consists of mid-rise multifunctional development. High permeability and a coherent system of visual links with the embankment are to be ensured by a rectangular street grid and the compact character of the street blocks which are to be erected here. Each transverse street will have its own identity and atmosphere. The project treats the elevator as a valuable item of industrial heritage and the main symbol of the local centre. Rethinking its function and place in the structure of the city, the architects have interpreted it as a new church: like the religious buildings in medieval cities, it enters into interaction with the surrounding smaller-scale development, forming a system of squares abutting each of its four façades. Each square is to have its own identity deriving from the functional content of the elevator blocks and the adjacent development. The ‘aquatic square’, situated in the north-west, will have a market, an amphitheatre leading to the water, and a public pool, making this a kind of buffer between the city and the river and allowing the latter to approach the building as gently as possible. The ‘sports square’ abutting the elevator’s south-west façade is to contain a sports centre, a climbing centre, and a skatepark. The north-eastern façade will look out onto a ‘science square’; this will be overlooked by a mediateca situated in the elevator building and a school opposite it. The ‘city square’, onto which the museum faces, will be the heart of the entire local centre and its main transport hub; this will have a public-transport stop, a taxi stand, and an underground car park for private vehicles. The fifth and most spectacular square will be situated on the elevator’s roof and will be the principal recreational and viewing area for the entire district.
All buildings on the spit, with the exception of the elevator building, are to be dismantled, and on the spit’s perimeter a continuous embankment, 50 metres wide, with vegetation, a cycle path, and a chain of entertainments and public functions (cafés and bars, sports areas, playgrounds, recreational areas) will be created. This linear park will be echoed by a large semi-circular park on the promontory of the spit. Since clearing the water of the effects of the operation of the freight port will inevitably be a time-consuming process, Megabudka proposes for the purpose of summer recreation creating a ‘dry’ beach and preserving the existing retaining wall on the spit, while providing a capacious floating pool on an old barge for swimming in. The architectural design for reconstruction of the elevator is to be entirely dictated by this building’s geometry and structural characteristics. While carefully preserving the overall brutal character of the elevator, its original proportions, and the circular shape of the silos, Megabudka will cut tall arched windows into all the external cylinders; the two central rows are to be removed in their entirety in order to create an atrium. The top storey of the elevator is to be glazed, yielding attractive views of the Volga and illuminating the atrium. The centre of the building will contain a multifunctional space with vaulting consisting of cylinders held in place by a metal framework. The building’s programme will also be emphatically diverse, including both cultural and educational institutions, commercial spaces, and an apartment hotel. Along the elevator’s long façades landscaped pedestrian squares will be created; here the original railway tracks will be preserved as an important element of industrial identity. In memory of the tracks’ previous function a composition consisting of freight wagons will be installed; the wagons will contain a children’s playground, a café, a recreational area, and a bookcrossing facility.
Azat Akhmadullin, Ufa
This project involves preserving as much as possible of the elevator while tactfully adapting it for functions that are needed today. The building’s initial function as storage for strategically important reserves of grain is to be symbolically recast in the approach adopted by the master plan for development of the adjacent territory. The base shared by all the elevator blocks becomes a spacious public zone fringed by an open gallery and containing numerous small cafés and exhibition spaces. The largest part of the elevator – the 12-row block – is to be structured around an atrium with towers that cut through the upper gallery above the silos; the towers will provide the interior with evenly distributed light. This part of the building will contain a diving pipe, a wind tunnel, and a climbing centre; the architects say that this is an interpretation of the technological processes of cleaning and drying to which the grain used to be subjected in the elevator. The history of the site will also be the subject of the Museum of Grain, which is to be situated in the central part of the elevator. Permanent housing will take the form of two urban villas, townhouses situated near the main building, and coliving spaces in the elevator gallery above the silos. The space between the elevator and the embankment is interpreted as a landscape park containing a prevalence of grain cultures. The architects’ idea is that in time this will become a golden field symbolizing the new life of the grain which was once stored in the elevator. The ships and freight trucks that were used to bring the grain here will become elements in a tourist route which will link numerous play and sports areas, an amphitheatre intended for public events and concerts, and the main pedestrian square in front of the elevator itself.