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Moscow’s Chief Architect Envisions a City’s Future

For many years, Triumfalnaya Ploshchad was a nondescript block opposite from Moscow’s violence heart. It was an occasional assembly indicate for anti-regime protesters, a space to get opposite to reach somewhere else. Today, however, it is an example of modern design, a beautifully illuminated Scandinavian oasis lined with swings and pavilions.

The square’s renovate is the pet devise of Moscow’s arch designer Sergei Kuznetsov. His business now sits on the block itself, with breathtaking views stuffing the window behind him. He says he is happy with the result. “There is this myth that a city’s design, how gentle it is for people to live there, is all a matter of chance. In reality, all is delicately suspicion out in advance,” he says.

Kuznetsov, 38, has already had a dazzling career in Russia. At 23, he was already co-owner and CEO of the S.P. Proekt architectural agency. In 2006, the company became partial of the SPEECH Choban and Kuznetsov architectural bureau, one of the many successful in Russia. Now Kuznetsov looks really many at home in the purpose of government official.

Kuznetsov’s goals have altered small in his 6 years as Moscow’s arch architect. He is still essentially focused on developing walking areas, open spaces and traffic flows. It’s a vision he shares with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a man Kuznetsov is clever to credit regularly during the interview. “It is wholly his project,” Kuznetsov says. “Everyone understands utterly clearly that there is usually one ideological leader, and that he is the one who sets the direction for the city’s development.”

“In a Soviet era, a waterfront was deliberate a marginal area, a arrange of backdrop for a city,” Kuznetsov says. He is now operative to make a Moscow stream a city’s categorical thoroughfare.

Still, the Moscow supervision has also been criticized for an spasmodic rambling proceed to planning. From controversial new landmarks to general snub at the city’s kitsch choice in Easter decorations, debate and urban growth clearly go palm in hand. The Easter decorations elicited such a strong recoil that the authorities relocated the largest nomination divided from the city center.

While such decorations are partial of the civic sourroundings for which Kuznetsov is responsible, he is penetrating to stress that improvements to city streets do not tumble underneath his department’s jurisdiction. He answers for individual — despite important — points such as Triumfalnaya Ploshchad or Ulitsa Novy Arbat, as good as formulation in a some-more ubiquitous concept.

Neighborhood Planning

Moscow’s Novy Arbat is an ode to socialist pattern and Soviet planning. In the mid-1960s, metropolitan authorities plowed a highway by aged Moscow and built skyscrapers along a path. Today, city planners are perplexing to cope with the results.

Kuznetsov argues that the best approach to transform Novy Arbat is by the use of trees, walking zones, building replacement and proper lighting. The city supervision creatively wanted to turn Novy Arbat into a Russian Times Square and flood it with splendid lights. “But there are residential buildings there and bright lights would have finished it unfit for people to sleep,” says Kuznetsov. “So we took the opposite approach: We combined trees and fill-lighting, that creates a greater clarity of intimacy in the dusk and reduces the sense of mega-space.”

Soviet mega-spaces are one of Moscow’s categorical civic pattern problems. “The tellurian eye can heed sold faces adult to 60 meters away,” Kuznetsov explains. “People are means to distinguish leaves on a tree, a branch, a bench, elements of a certain scale. But open spaces of any good distance emanate associations of danger. Spaces should be compact. That is because we motionless to restore lindens on Tverskaya and plant trees along the Garden Ring,” he says.

The area around Patriarch’s Ponds is one of Moscow’s many gentle civic environments; many residents observant it doesn’t feel like being in Moscow at all. Kuznetsov explains what creates it work. “It is really accessible, something to which we aspire: The first floors of buildings are clinging to businesses. Cafés and shops can usually seem where space is physically available, so if an architectural devise creates no sustenance for them afterwards that area will never attract visitors,” he says.

One of Kuznetsov’s large ideas is to allow augmenting numbers of Moscow neighborhoods to exist autonomously. Like in Berlin, for example, where residents of Mitte, Kreuzberg or Prenzlauer Berg consider of themselves as denizens of those specific districts. No longer will Muscovites need to cross half the city in order to reach the nearest good restaurant, bar or park.

Soviet mega-spaces are one of Moscow’s categorical civic pattern problems. Kuznetsov believes spaces should be compact.

River embankments are one of the many muted areas of the city. “In the Soviet era, the waterfront was deliberate a peripheral area, a sort of backdrop for the city,” he says. “They put garages and garbage dumps there. As for the river, there was zero to be finished with it. It was simply a transportation hub. Now, we trust that the river should be the city’s categorical thoroughfare.”

The chief designer believes that the construction of a new park opposite from the Kremlin will assistance revitalise the river embankment. The Zaryadye Park is to be built on the site of what was once the Soviet Union’s largest hotel. When it is finished in 2017, it will embody an approach to the H2O and a café.

Kuznetsov is also bustling revitalizing the embankment in the area of the former ZIL bureau in the south of the city. The factory itself is now gone — a huge empty lot in its place. Kuznetsov promises the site will turn home to bike paths and pedestrian zones. He hopes that changes will make the embankments unrecognizable within a decade. “For a project of this size, 10 years is nothing,” he says. “Even in terms of a singular tellurian life, a decade is not a long time. That gives means for optimism.”

Upheaval to Continue

Optimism is in short supply among Muscovites these days. The city’s magnanimous residents who mostly welcomed civic remodel 3 years ago now increasingly hail changes with hostility. Many on-going Muscovites now perspective the creation of Western-style bike paths as a change for the worse, as a symbolic lapse to Soviet policies. The general response to any new construction is resentment.

The recent argumentative preference to erect a 16-meter relic to Prince Vladimir in one of Moscow’s many distinguished locations — Borovitskaya Ploshchad, a location stable by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee — is usually one such case. It is an important domestic undertaking, and one over that he has no influence. Kuznetsov says that his usually purpose was to choose the landscaped pattern around the monument.

“Twenty immature Moscow architects took partial in the [landscape] contest,” Kuznetsov says. “The winning devise by AI Architects is a visual reference to the ancestral benediction of Rus. It will seem as if H2O is issuing around the monument, while the stone stairs will designate diverging ripples of water. we consider that, with the right lighting for the relic and stairs, it demeanour pleasing at night.”

U.S. architectural organisation Asymptote has designed a skyscraper to go in a aged ZIL bureau complex.

Greater snub is voiced over the dismantling of famous open landmarks. As many as 35,000 people sealed a petition opposite the demolition of a write sell building on Pokrovsky Bulvar, creatively built in 1929. A legacy of the famous Moscow constructivism movement, the building never gained central nomination as an architectural landmark. When the building’s owners motionless to raze it and build a residential building it a place, the public was outraged. Several dozen architects, including Sergei Choban, Kuznetsov’s former architectural partner, demanded that the mayor hindrance the demolition. None of that helped. Kuznetsov, again, argues that this sold occurrence is outward his office and comes underneath the authority of the Urban Heritage Department.

Aside from complaints about sold reformation decisions, the main dispute from Muscovites has to do with the capital’s consistent construction. Kuznetsov counters that “any collateral is a major construction site and the transition from the firm Soviet indication to a some-more stretchable complicated collateral is fundamentally painful.”

Major new hubs are set to appear in the city, Kuznetsov says. Luzhniki Stadium will turn the center of a section clinging to sports; stream embankments will turn a paradise for runners, cafés and parks; while VDNKh will renovate into an egghead and educational center.

“Temporary inconveniences,” as Kuznetsov calls the construction, are the price residents will have to pay for large-scale change. “Of course, if we live in the city core and workers are digging right outward your window all summer, that isn’t many fun, though there’s no removing around the fact a lot of the work has to be down there.”

At the heart of it all is credentials for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the engine pulling Moscow to change so rapidly. “I consider the whole feel of city life will ease down after 2018,” Kuznetsov says. “Everything will go behind to the common routine. This is usually proxy work, though the results will be long-lasting. We need to have patience. That is the only recommendation we can offer.” 

Contact the author at newsreporter@imedia.ru

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/567455.html

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