Flagship of world architecture

26 July 2014

Sergey Kuznetsov, chief city planner of the capital, told what Moscow could be by 2018

— What are the large-scale architectural projects planned for Moscow in the next 5 years?

— To enumerate all would take a very long time, Moscow is in this sense a fulfilled city. I’ll name only the most important: the development of the ZIL industrial zone, Moscow River territories, the Mnevnikovskaya floodplain and the Tushino airfield, where the Spartak stadium is almost built, the areas around the Moscow Ring Road, as well as the administrative and business center in Kommunarka and the International Financial Centre in Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye.

— And what about the “Luzhkov” projects: a tunnel under Pushkin Square, the Formula 1 track in Nagatino?

— The tunnel and Formula 1 track are no longer on the agenda. There will be an amusement park in Nagatino, and there are plans to develop an industrial park, business centers, residential and public space.

— In what other spheres will architectural competitions be announced, say, within 5 years?

— Frankly speaking, we do not plan for such a long period ahead. There are several topical issues, such as the development of Moscow River territories, which definitely will become the subject of competitions. Also we have a number of projects on which we are now actively cooperating with investors. I should note that conducting architectural competitions is ceasing to be exotic. Customers have appreciated the opportunity to select the best architect and get a choice of several scenarios of what can be done on the same site. When we were only starting to introduce competitive practice, we spent a huge amount of time and effort training people to conduct the architectural competitions. Now to do the same already requires much less effort: competitive practice has confirmed its viability, and it has been appreciated by the professional community, including investors.

— What project can make Moscow a capital of world architecture?

— One site is unlikely to do this, but in the July edition of The Huffington Post Zaryadye Park was included in the top ten projects of architecture of the future, for example. It is exactly these kinds of sites that ultimately form the city’s architectural reputation, and make them attractive for millions of tourists. In my opinion such promising projects in Moscow, in addition to Zaryadye Park, include the new building for the National Centre for Contemporary Art along with Khodynka park. In general, all the reconstruction projects of museums that have been launched in Moscow today are capable of multiplying the attractiveness of the Russian capital manifold: including the Polytechnic Museum, and the development of the Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum Town. Cultural objects as well as public spaces play a key role in shaping the city’s reputation, and it is their development that we are focusing on most today.

— What is there in Moscow that would you like to do, but you realize that it’s impossible?

— The meaning of an architect’s work is to consider, first of all, actual urban realities and challenges of the present and not hypothetical possibilities, so I do not like speculation in the subjunctive mood. No project is born with a wave of a magic wand — it is painstakingly created with all the initial constraints. I believe that the main task of an architect is precisely to create high-quality projects, parameters which define life, and not the architect himself or anyone else. And I always direct my main efforts towards that what is done, is done at the highest level.

— Who are the three to five architects who are forming the new image of the city?

— It is impossible and wrong that the image of a city such as Moscow would be determined by only a few people. We have many good and very popular architects of course, and I think we all know their names so it makes no sense to list them. Specific names I do not even want to name because someone is always offended if they do not find themselves among the ranks of the very best. In addition, we are working so that the circle of architects that actively work for the city steadily expands: there cannot be too many of them, but also there should not be too few. In this sense, for me the concept of European cities is very close, where many small architectural firms work and together they are doing one thing — developing and improving their city. It is exactly this way that the most interesting, truly uniquely designed architecture is born, which is sensitive to time and context. I think that Moscow should not be an exception, because in addition to major design institutes, we have many good bureaus of all sizes.

Full article available on the publication’s website.

Images: Alexander Korolkov

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