As the city of Moscow plans for redevelopment, the renowned Strelka Institute has similar plans in store as the school faces relocation to a different part of town by 2015. After a one-month ideas competition for Strelka’s 2013-2014 research student body, Squadra Komanda was the winner out of nine teams.
In an ambitious proposal, Squadra Komanda argues that the Institute's negatively associated late-Soviet architecture can be rejuvenated with the help of local under-supported cultural organizations.
Scroll further down for project details.
"Project Summary: The Strelka Institute, Moscow’s most innovative school for architecture and urbanism, might be soon forced to leave its current venue in the heart of the Russian capital. In a competition organized to collect ideas for the relocation, the winning studio Squadra Komanda proposes a visionary program of development for the disputed and immense architectural legacy from the late-Soviet period.
Indeed, this architectural typology constitutes almost two third of all buildings in Moscow. As it represents an unpleasant reminder of the recent past, many Russians dislike this type of buildings. Suggesting to start a collaboration with the outdated cultural institutions hosted inside the 1966’s austere building of the All Russian State Library for Foreign Literature, the Strelka Unsettled plan offers new scenarios for one of Moscow’s most neglected type of architecture."
"A development strategy: More than a proposal for a new location, Strelka Unsettled is a strategy for developing the Strelka Institute. In its 4 years of existence, Strelka has become an exemplary cultural venue in Moscow. The Institute developed a popular Summer Program with a wide range of cultural events. It also successfully introduced critical topics like ‘public space’ and ‘the periphery’ to the urban agenda of Moscow.
Strelka achieved this operating from a rather isolated and apolitical post-industrial location in Moscow, resembling a strategy that has proven successful in many other cities throughout the world. However, to remain a pioneer and agenda-setter in the urban realm of Moscow, Strelka must unsettle. It should move forward and take on rougher challenges that are typical to the Russian condition. Only then Strelka will be able to realize its goal: to change the urban landscape of Russia."
"New challenges: The relocation of Strelka in 2015 provides this opportunity for taking on new challenges. Squadra Komanda identified two important challenges that Strelka needs to address: or are simply neglected by developers. Now, more than 20 years after the end of the USSR, time has come to develop new ideas for these buildings.
1. The post-war Soviet landscape: The vast majority of buildings in Moscow and other Russian cities are built after WWII and before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. For many people, these buildings represent an unpleasant reminder of the recent past. The buildings are regarded as outdated, uninviting and of poor quality. These negative associations are reinforced by the fact that many of these buildings host inefficient public organizations, are empty.
2. Outdated cultural institutions: Compared to their international counterparts, many cultural institutions in Moscow and Russia are outdated. As they prioritize preservation over presentation, most of these institutes are not aimed at providing visitors a high-quality cultural experience. They often have uninviting entrances, under- or unused spaces and many of these institutes operate in isolation of each other."
"Strelka x ВГБИЛ = post-Soviet & collaborative: Squadra Komanda urges Strelka to take on these challenges by moving into the All Russian State Library for Foreign Literature (ВГБИЛ), a building located on the banks of the Yauza river within two kilometers east of the Red Square. This imposing 20.000 m2 construction from the late 1960s is an emblem of post-war Soviet architecture. Although the building is in quite good repair, it houses a series of outdated and disconnected cultural organizations.
The Strelka Unsettled project proposes Strelka to lead the transformation of the ВГБИЛ, thereby:
1. breaking down the old association between Soviet architecture and uninviting institutions;
2. involving the current tenants of the building in a lively cooperation;
3. creating a vibrant cultural prototype in the unlikeliest of places."
"A new urban prototype for Russia: In ВГБИЛ, Strelka starts a process of cultural development based on an extended educational program and a cooperation with the building’s current tenants. These include the library for foreign literature and international foundations such as the British Council, the American Centre and the Japan Foundation. Strelka enhances the accessibility and public character of ВГБИЛ by creating new entrances and corridors, allowing access to the building’s courtyard directly from the Yauza river bank. A triangular green space in front of the building is developed as a public space for events and meetings.
From the courtyard, a publicly accessible Trajectory starts, which moves diagonally through the whole building and creates an in-between space that connects all the functions in the building. Strelka doubles in size, creating a series of new functions and expanding its educational program. Among the additional features, the ВГБИЛ venue will house a hotel with researcher residences, a Green Bar situated in the greenhouse on the top of the building, a library with individual workspaces, a co-working club, and a neighborhood-oriented Kindergarten. In the revitalized building, Strelka will cooperate with the current tenants by sharing educational facilities and coproducing parts of the public program."
"A model for cultural business development Strelka’s development strategy consists of a phased redevelopment process of the ВГБИЛ building. With this strategy, Strelka is expected to open its doors at ВГБИЛ directly after the summer of 2015. Strelka’s business strategy is based on a mutually beneficial agreement between Strelka and the Ministry of Culture, the owner of the ВГБИЛ building. The business model builds on Strelka’s existing model: profit from existing and new commercial activities will be used for the educational and public programs of Stelka."
"The scale of change: The academic and the fashionable, the commercial and the non-commercial, 20th century and 21st century Moscow; all will be consolidated in the ВГБИЛ building, generating an urban prototype that aims to inspire and provoke the cultural, design, and business fields. At the same time, relocating Strelka in ВГБИЛ is not considered as a development with a definitive end. When Strelka’s new prototype proves to be successful and is adopted by others, the institute will take on new challenges and move to new environments. In this way, Strelka continues to unsettle."
Competition Jury and Experts
The competition jury consisted of the following members:
- Reinier de Graaf, partner OMA/AMO
- Giovanna Carnevali, director Mies van der Rohe Foundation
- Alexander Mamut, chairman Strelka Institute Board of Trustees, chairman Rambler-Afisha-SUP
- Dmitry Likin, member Strelka Institute Board of Trustees, art director Channel One, co-founder Wowhaus
- Varvara Melnikova, CEO Strelka Institute
- Denis Leontyev, CEO KB Strelka
The jury brief included a technical evaluation of all projects, performed by the following experts:
- Yury Grigoryan, founder Project Meganom, educational director Strelka Institute
- Edouard Moreau, consultant KB Strelka, co-founder Technopolitan Studio
- Alexey Muratov, partner KB Strelka
- Jezi Stankevic, project leader KB Strelka
Strelka Unsettled is developed by the five team members of Squadra Komanda:
- Roel van Herpt, strategist (Amsterdam, NL)
- Daniele Belleri, journalist (Milan, IY)
- Olena Grankina, architect (Kiev, UA)
- Giulio Margheri, architect (Florence, IT)
- Nicolas Moore, architect (Providence, US)
All images courtesy of Squadra Komanda.
Click the thumbnails below to see diagrams and more images.
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