Posts tagged with "Russia":

Video> Take a drone tour of a ruined city in the Chernobyl hot zone

Attention ruin porn addicts and post-apocalyptic disaster fantasists, this video is for you. British filmmaker Danny Cooke visited Pripyat, Ukraine—an abandoned city within the radioactive hot zone created by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster—while on assignment for 60 Minutes. Using a camera-equipped drone, Cooke soars above and through the city, which once housed 50,000 inhabitants, revealing a ghostly but remarkably intact landscape, including apartment buildings, hospitals, and an abandoned amusement park with a rusting ferris wheel. While the scene is remarkably tranquil, the underlying cause is unsettling. Following a manmade calamity, nature is slowly reclaiming the city. Humans will likely never be able to return. [h/t World.Mic]
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Eavesdrop> MVRDV Booted from Moscow Project, But Maybe So What?

The Architect’s Journal reported, somewhat melodramatically, that a “row” has broken about between MVRDV and the British firm LDA over the redevelopment of the Hammer and Sickle Factory in Moscow. MVRDV’s competition winning scheme, which respected the existing historic factory buildings, has been dumped in favor of LDA’s swoopier Shanghai/Dubai/Where-am-I scheme. Hurt feelings aside, MVRDV might have dodged a dictatorial bullet. Russia isn’t exactly the most stable or desirable or reputation-burnishing place to work these days.
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Moscow’s Shukhov Tower Will Be Dismantled, But Opposition Mounting [Updated]

After racking up a winning medal score at the Sochi Olympics, the host country is set to lose one of its most iconic pieces of architecture. It’s not an Olympic stadium, but the Shukhov Radio and Television Tower in Moscow, which dates back to the 1920’s. The engineer behind the project, Vladimir Shukhov, is credited with creating the world’s first hyperboloid steel structures, an invention that would influence the world of architecture for generations.
According to the Shukhov Tower Foundation, this structure’s 500-feet of latticed steel served as a communications tower for over 80 years in Russia. And it was the first major structure built after the Russian Revolution. But this piece of Soviet history has fallen into disrepair and could disappear entirely.
The Moscow Times reports that plans are in place to dismantle the building this year. The Communications and Press Ministry claims that the structure must come down to prevent the risk of it collapsing; they also contend that disassembling the tower might be the best way to protect its future. The Communications Minister told a local Russian paper, “the only possible option for a solution to the problem is a two stage reconstruction and renovation of the radio tower, which stipulates in the first stage its dismantling for the conservation and preservation of elements for later restoration.” These claims, though, are being challenged by preservationists, including Vladimir Shukhov, the great-grandson of the tower’s engineer, who also runs the Shukhov Tower Foundation. He has said the structure is in bad condition, but that it is stable. He also tells AN that the tower is a “unique and very important object of cultural, architectural, and engineering heritage.” He believes that if the tower is dismantled and reassembled elsewhere, “it will no longer be a monument of cultural heritage; it will become an art object, which will look similar to the Shukhov Tower.” [Update: On February 25th, the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting announced that they had agreed to dismantle the tower. While its demolition seems almost certain, The New York Times reports that Russian officials are expected to make a final decision on the tower’s fate on March 24th.  In a last-ditch effort to save the icon, leading architects including Rem Koolhaas, Tadao Ando, Elizabeth Diller and Thom Mayne have signed-on to a petition that urges Russian President Vladimir Putin to save the tower. “Respected President Putin, we are urging you to take immediate steps to assure the preservation of this essential part of Moscow’s heritage, a unique contribution of Russian engineering genius to world culture,” reads the petition, which was written by Jean-Louis Cohen and Richard Pare, and signed by many arts leaders, engineers and historians.]
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Preservationists Warn Russia’s Melnikov House at Risk

One of Moscow's most iconic pieces of architecture, the cylindrical home of avant-garde architect Konstantin Melnikov built in the 1920s, is reportedly showing signs of structural damage caused by rumbling from neighboring construction projects and is in danger of being demolished. The New York Times reports that preservationists including Docomomo have sounded the alarm that cracks have been forming in the structure and its foundation. Russian preservation group Archnadzor has filed an appeal to President Vladimir Putin in an effort to save the structure from potential collapse. Currently occupied by Melnikov's granddaughter, Ekatrina Karinskaya, the house has not been officially declared a landmark while an ongoing dispute over ownership plays out. According to the Times, Karinskaya said "the construction is part of a willful plan 'to simply destroy the house.'" Preservationists believe the biggest threat to the house is the underground parking garage at the nearby mixed-use construction project, that could, according to a report posted on Docomomo, cause flooding at the house as the garage structure acts as a dam, blocking the flow of groundwater. Other preservations efforts call for the house to be preserved as a public museum storing all of Melnikov's archival material that is largely inaccessible today. More interior views of the house can be viewed here.

Grimshaw Releases Video on Construction of Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg Russia

Grimshaw has released a video in which firm partner Mark Middleton along with several members of the project team take viewers to the construction site of Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg, Russia. Appearing in and around the cavernous terminal, which will one day service 17 million passengers per year, the architects break down the cultural and geographic inspirations behind the design (golden onion domes, the city's islands and rivers) as well as its environmental and structural considerations (low-angle sunlight, expressive steel vaulting). The result is as clear and concise a description of the motivations and preoccupations of contemporary international architecture as can be found anywhere.
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Populous Designs a 45,000-Seat World Cup Stadium in Russia

Global architecture and design practice Populous, designer of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, has been selected as architect for a large new stadium in the compact town of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, a city of just over 1 million people about 650 miles south of Moscow. Designed to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018, the stadium is Populous' fourth design for a sports venue in Russia and will contain an anticipated 45,000 seats under a cloud-like, seemingly-floating canopy. Set along the Don River, the Rostov Stadium design takes into account the surrounding landscape by drawing inspiration from kurgans—archeological mounds of earth formed along river banks and once used for pagan rituals—with artificial hills pushed up around the stadium's perimeter. Populous took an environmentally conscious stance in their proposal, aiming to protect wetlands south of the River near the stadium site. The stadium itself is sheltered by a balloon-like roof consisting of two long panels around its perimeter—each resembling a smooth, curving paintbrush stroke from above—with a central opening allowing light onto the playing field. External paths and entrances to the venue continue this theme with more curves and soft winding lines. For the World Cup, the stadium will have a capacity of 45,000 seats, which will later be scaled down to 25,000 seats.
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Extreme Commutes: Architects Build “Fast Track” Trampoline Sidewalk in Russia

There are countless ways to get around cities these days—on foot, bike, or skateboard, by transit or car—but Estonian firm Salto Architects has imagined what could be the next dedicated lane to hit a street near you: the Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. The 170-foot-long trampoline was built earlier this year in Russia for the Archstoyanie Festival, sending leaping pedestrians through Nikola-Lenivets Park, about 120 miles southwest of Moscow. According the the architects, Fast Track "is a road and an installation at the same time. It challenges the concept of infrastructure that only focuses on technical and functional aspects and tends to be ignorant to its surroundings. Fast track is an attempt to create intelligent infrastructure that is emotional and corresponds to the local context. It gives the user a different experience of moving and percieving the environment." Just take care not to spill your coffee on the morning commute! [Via Knstrct.]
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Protesting for Pussy Riot at the Venice Biennale

The Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale has in recent years been a bit of a snore. The space has been filled most recently in 2010 with unconvincing drawings of older Russian cities and earlier (2008) with models of Ordos McMansions. But this year the pavilion's interior was spectacularly reconfigured with walls of glass QR codes in its central space forming a digital dome, but the display's heavy-handedness brought to mind earlier periods of Russian single mindedness and even totalitarianism. It seems those in charge of this year's Venice effort finally realized what kind of pavilion makes an impact in the giardini on harried biennale visitors and journalists and went for the full design monty. But the tensions in contemporary Russian society were also highlighted on Thursday during the Golden Lion awards presentation ceremony when a few hundred feet away a crew of cocktail-dressed and balaclava-wearing young Russian women "occupied" the exterior of the pavilion to make the case for the Pussy Riot band back in Russia recently jailed for hooliganism. A rumor quickly spread that actual members of the band who had escaped Russie were present at the protest. Were these actually Pussy Rioters or sympathizers? No one was sure but it sure beat listening to the Biennale directors and bureaucrats drone on about Common Ground as the press rushed over from the dreadful press conference.
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On View> Russian Posters–Rodchenko 120 in Indianapolis through August 24

Russian Posters – Rodchenko 120 Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis Herron School of Art and Design Marsh Gallery 735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN Through August 24 In recognition of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Rodchenko, Moscow Design Week organized a poster campaign honoring the Russian avant-garde artist, graphic designer, and photographer. Commissioning work from twenty prominent Russian poster artists, the campaign sought to create a dialogue between contemporary graphic designers and a master of the discipline. Sergei Serov, curator of the project, writes, “The posters are not only a tribute to the great artist, but a reflection on the historical destiny of graphic design.” The posters all bear Rodchenko’s influence in unique ways. Elements from some of his most notable designs are repurposed, utilizing Rodchenko’s own language of collage and geometric composition. These strict geometries inform Nikolai Shtok’s entry, above, where simple geometric forms are abstracted and composed as a Rodchenko-inspired typography.
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Quick Clicks> Domed City, Guggenheim on hold, Google’s Secret Project, No-bin experiment

City of Scientists. Russian Prime Minister Putin has recently reviewed plans for a potential $6.4 billion project that could build a 5,000-person—scientists and researchers, specifically—domed village in the Arctic called Umka, about 1,000 miles from the North Pole. Plans call for an isolated artificial climate inspired by “an imaginary Moon city or a completely isolated space station." More on the Daily Mail and Foreign Policy Blogs. Abu Dhabi Adjourned. The new 450,000-square-foot Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum planned in Abu Dhabi has been put on hold pending contract review. A similar fate awaits Jean Nouvel's Louvre satellite previously scheduled to open near Gehry's site next year. More at Mediabistro. Sergey's Secret. Due to his prolific work ethic, the insider joke at Google is that co-founder Sergey Brin is really Batman. More believable, the latest Google rumor is that one of Brin's secret pet-projects may very well be architectural, with blueprints and all. Business Insider has details. No bin, no trash. The NY Times reports on the MTA's seemingly counter-intuitive enviro-social experiment to remove trash cans from subway platforms. The idea: no garbage bin might be the way to achieve no litter. A trial run in Queens and Greenwich Village left some people very unhappy.
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About that pipeline project…

Sarah Palin isn't the only one with pipelines on the brain: The Estonian installation in the Giardini recreates a section of Gazprom's proposed Nord Stream pipeline, that would run directly from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Naturally, some of the Baltic countries aren't wildly enthusiastic about this. Estonia doesn't have a pavilion of it's own, but that may be a good thing. The group placed a 63-meter-long yellow pipe running from the entry of the Russian pavilion: Goes straight past the Japan pavilion (hey, geographical accuracy isn't the point): And spits out—you guessed it—directly in front of the imposing German pavilion: Gas Pipe 3 Maybe it's a one-liner, but like every good joke, it is sharp and to the point.