Zaryadye Park, a massive landscape located across from the Kremlin along the Moskva River, opened last September to the public after a dedication ceremony from Russian President Vladimir Putin. DS+R’s $245 million design was selected out of 90 submissions in an international competition in 2013. In the project description, the architects describe the park as a place featuring “Wild Urbanism,” with intertwining sections of landscape and hardscape, natural and artificial. The parkland includes a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces with a 229-foot cantilevering river overlook, a media center, nature center, restaurant, market, two amphitheaters, and a philharmonic concert hall to come next spring.
Charles Renfro, head architect on the project, said he’s thrilled at the park’s overwhelming popularity. “I love this!” he told Artnet in an email. “What freedom our park has brought to Moscow and what tolerance it seems to be engendering from the authorities.”
The Moscow Times reported that the city’s chief architect, Sergei Kuznetsov, is apparently okay with the sexual escapades happening within the public park and attributes the unprecedented uptick to the safety and comfort that Moscow offers visitors and residents. Some local lawmakers, however, feel the opposite. Getting caught for having sex in public in Russia means up to 15 days in jail.
DS+R’s 14,000-square-meter vision takes up a quarter of downtown Moscow and is the first large-scale park built in the city in 50 years. The site was formerly populated by a Jewish enclave in the 1800s, and once served as the foundations of a never-built Stalinist skyscraper. For nearly 40 years, it was the home of the largest hotel in Europe, the 21-story Hotel Rossiya, until it closed in 2006.