Sergey Kuznetsov: Skolkovo Is a Model Example One Can Learn On

18 July 2016

At Skolkovo Megaproject: New urban reality session of Moscow Urbanistic Forum, the leaders of the Innovation Center have told how over the past six years, one of the most ambitious projects of today’s Russia was developed and what tasks Skolkovo is setting for themselves today.

The ideologists and leaders call Skolkovo a city — why it’s a city and not a district of Moscow, is explained by its self-sufficiency in terms of infrastructure. In other words, the Innovation Center will be so designed as to have a complete lifecycle inside it. On 400 hectares of land, which were transferred to Skolkovo six years ago, it is planned to build about 2.5 sq. m of real estate: a third of it is administrative and research areas, another third is a social and residential part and the last third is for transport, event infrastructure, etc. Two million sq. m of this area are projects of investors who will build and are already building under a scheduled master plan, following its basic principles:

The housing, public spaces, service infrastructure, workplaces have to be located at a walking distance; buildings have to be low-rise and high-density, giving at the same time considerable part to public spaces

In the end they define the quality of life and will create the necessary ‘climate’ and community of citizens.

In less than five years a new city appears near Moscow. It took only half a year to determine its town-planning concept — one needs to remember that following the results of the international contest his developers chose a French company AREP.

Five months were scheduled for development of the master plan (with the assistance of SETEC Engineering and architect Michel Desvigne), and drafts of layouts of certain areas and buildings were created almost simultaneously. The construction began in 2012, and so far, according to Anton Yakovenko, CEO of the Skolkovo Developer — ODAS, about fifty percent have already been constructed.

It is no wonder that life has made certain corrections to the original concept, and Skolkovo, for example, discarded two brilliant projects of a guest zone developed by Pritzker winners Rem Koolhaas and Kazuyo Sejima. These are two hyper-volumes — a public lounge room named Rock that is a cube inside a cube and the hundred-meter Dome made of thin steel threads and glass serving as the city gate. ‘At some point we realized that these huge objects takeus away from the human-scaled environment. We have re-elaborated the concept — says Anton Yakovenko. — That controllable space that we dreamed about in this area zone has turned into a one-and-a-half-kilometer street we are building now. It takes all the visitors coming by the electric train from the Belarusian station to the Technology Park".

Chief Architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov believes that in spite of the difficulties and the limited time of realization of the Skolkovo megaproject, it is possible to call it a model and to learn on its example. ‘The experience obtained from this project, the principle of transition from master planning to sites, following the accurate design phasing and observance of procedures — all this is a guarantee of a high-quality result — says Kuznetsov. — Not everything, of course, is observed the way it was conceived, but we understand that the quality of procedures, decision making, recurrent workshops, discussions and reasonableness of these decisions instead of spontaneity, in the end, provide a correct and a very high result’.

A good example when correct actions lead to the correct results is the recent Sberbank’s competition on the Technology Park, — added Sergey Kuznetsov. ‘Sberbank is an example of a reasonable client’s attitude, where at the beginning the approach was, like everyone else’s, rather utilitarian, but the belief that the environment created by us is working and forming views, and behavior of the person, their productivity in work and creativity, has won. A decision has been taken to have this international competition with a very strong structure. Zaha Hadid has won the office, and, I hope, their project will be implemented’.

According to Anton Yakovenko, by summer of the next year the picture of the real situation in Skolkovo will strongly approach the render from the point of view of landscape, construction, and from the point of view of people who live there.

Next to come is the implementation of the project of landscape development in the Central Area by the partner of Maxwan, by architect Hiroki Matsuura. The project divides recreational spaces into several thematic spaces, connecting them with a rainbow theme. So, the Central area will have a Technology Park Garden, a Children’s, Family, and Central parks, the Avenue of festivals and fairs, Sports and Tennis parks.

As Renat Batyrov, the General Director of Technology Park of Skolkovo said, in autumn 2016, the Main Building of Technology Park can already open on nearly 100 thousand sq. m: ‘Now Technology Park has four buildings, 11 thousand sq. m each. In two of them startups are located, in the third — SkolTech, in the fourth — researchers, developers, R&D partners. This is where Russian Venture Company will be based.

The main ‘city-forming’ elements of the innovation center will be the University and Technology Park. Near them, by 2020, a Congress center, office and laboratory buildings, block of flats and cottages, and infrastructure facilities will be built. Today’s landscape of Skolkovo already features ‘Hypercube’, the first office center ‘TechnoPark’, the first stage of a research compound of Technology Park, the University of SkolTech, and some residential quarters. The construction of ‘Matrioshka’ business center, the Key Partners Zone and ‘Gallery’ business center is underway. As the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin reported on Mosurbanforum, soon, the first stone of the international medical cluster will be erected in Skolkovo.

Images: courtesy of Skolkovo press service



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