Voices from Russia

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Moscow Architectural Biennale Opens

Filed under: architecture,economy,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Architectural rendering of the Russia Tower, under construction in Moscow, due for completion in 2012. It shall be 612.2 metres (2,009 feet) in height, have 118 stories, accommodate 30,000 people, and have an underground parking area for 3,680 automobiles. It shall be the tallest building in Russia, and the second-tallest in the world.

A month-long biennial architectural fair opened last Tuesday in Moscow. It brings together architects of 18 nations. This way-of-life biennale comes on the crest of an unusually high wave of construction projects that are sweeping Russia, and, of course, the nationwide “Affordable Housing” programme. The man who runs the Russian section of this event, David Sarkisyan, put the limelight on architects and urban designers with new solutions to the problem of constructing inexpensive housing. He said, “The biennale does not focus on glamorous projects, but, on social projects of Russian origin. The whole world is curious about Soviet social projects of the 1970s. A wave of experimental construction swept the Soviet Union in that period. The Soviet Union was the first to launch a sweeping effort to provide people with affordable housing units and it blazed new trails in doing this”.

The Russian section of the architectural biennale features blueprints for construction projects in the suburbs of Moscow and other sprawling urban areas. There are quite a few suggestions for the renovation of old neighbourhoods and the redevelopment of former industrial zones. One has to admit that Russian architects refuse to shy away from efforts to plan sizable developments. They take all things into consideration, environmental protection and creature comforts included. Vasili Bychkov, the Biennale Director, said that the better part of the exhibited blueprints have little to do with day-dreams; some of them are commissioned projects. Mr Bychkov said, “The steering committee tried to add a touch of versatility to the Moscow biennale so as to make this architectural forum comprehensive. A traditional Arch-Moscow exhibit is a component part of this event. It presents quite a few architectural studios and design centres of foreign nations in the mainstream of the Moscow biennale”.

Dutch architect Bart Goldhoorn feels Russia can cash in on the European experience in large-scale construction ventures. The biggest construction project in Germany was launched in a suburb of Frankfurt. Blueprints for it can be seen in the international section of the Moscow biennale. Plans for the extension of old Poundberry were put on display by Britain. They and blueprints for construction ventures in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Utrecht, and Helsinki can also be seen in the international section. A modern view of urban development is supplemented by a bit of history. An exhibit of communal housing units of the 1930’s highlights masterpieces of Russian constructivism. It shows how people’s vision of an ideal way of life has changed in less than a hundred years.

30 May 2008

Voice of Russia World Service



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