Posts tagged with "Russia":

Open International Competition for Standard Housing and Residential Development Concept Design

The Open International Competition for Standard Housing and Residential Development Concept Design has been officially launched. Architects and bureaus from all over the world are invited to develop projects of innovative housing for future generations of Russians. Applications can be submitted at https://dom-competition.ru until December 25th. Competition participants are required to develop 4 types of houses for one of the urban environment target models: low-rise, mid-rise and central. Competition entries will be judged by compliance with the Competition Brief and the solutions they provide, the potential for application in different climate zones, and expected cost of construction and maintenance. In February, 2018, 20 finalists will be announced, each of them receiving 1 million roubles (about € 14,600). During the following six weeks, they will have to adjust their projects according to recommendations of the Competition’s Jury. Following the Second Stage of the Competition, winners will be selected:
  • up to five winning projects will be awarded 2 million roubles (about € 29,200) each;
  • up to five runners-up will receive 1.5 million roubles (about € 21,900) each;
  • up to ten projects will be granted a third-place prize of 1 million roubles (about € 14,600) each.
Terms and application forms are available at https://dom-competition.ru.
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MoMA exhibit will examine Constructivism during the rise of the Russian avant-garde

This December, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will showcase the role of Supremacism and Constructivism in Russia's art world between 1912 and 1934. The emphatically titled exhibit, A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde, will fall in line with the centennial of the Russian Revolution in 2017 and display works relating to the realms of painting, drawing, sculpture, prints, book and graphic design, film, photography, and architecture. A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Gard will feature works from some of Russia's leading figures within the aforementioned disciplines. These include Vladimir Tatlin, Iakov Chernikov, El Lissitzky, Kasimir Malevich, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Lyubov Popova, Alexandr Rodchenko, and Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, among others. The exhibition will use their work to show the sense of creative urgency, radical cross-fertilization, and synthesis that was present during the era. The exhibit will also illustrate the Russian avant-garde's impact on the sociopolitics and the production of art at the time. In addition, utilitarian objects that reflect that period's changing in production methods and social and political climate will be on display. Architecture–and in particular, Constructivist architecture—is due to feature in A Revolutionary Impulse. Work from renowned Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin will be exhibited; they were famously seen at The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10 (zero-ten), held in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) in December 1915. Nonrepresentational counter-reliefs–reliefs with a particularly pronounced tensionfrom Tatlin's rare Brochure for Tatlin’s counter-reliefs exhibited at 0.10 are due to be on display. Tatlin, though, isn't the only Constructivist architect who'll be featured. Iakov Chernikov's Architectural Fantasies: 101 Compositions in Color, 101 Architectural Miniatures–his work to imagine a future symbolizing the avant-garde culture within the Soviet Union, never realized due to Joseph Stalin's opposition to the Constructivism movement—will also be on view. As too will be Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist composition Airplane Flying which was exhibited alongside Tatlin and Chernikov's work at 0.10, 101 years ago. Malevich's later Suprematist compositional workWhite on White (1918), one of the iconoclastic paintings during its time, will also be exhibited. A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde will be open to the public from December 03, 2016 through March 12, 2017.
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Find the best of Moscow's constructivist architecture with this new map

The motherland of constructivist architecture, Moscow is home to many of the world's best examples of the former hallmark Soviet style. However, many constructivist buildings such as the Narkomfin and Shukhov Tower are now at risk of demolition. This map of Moscow detailing the whereabouts of the city's constructivist icons, which was released this month, makes viewing them (while they're still here) all the easier. "For us, the highlight, more than any individual building or architect, was walking for days across Moscow to find and explore these buildings," said Derek Lamberton, founder of Blue Crow Media, the company who published the map. "It was as good a way to see the city that I've experienced." Lamberton, in fact, focused his Master's dissertation at the University College London on the Russian avant-garde. The map's designer Jaakko Tuomivaara also did the same while at the Royal Academy of Art. Together, the pair travelled to Moscow, sampling the city's constructivist offerings to help them create and aesthetic for the map. The resultant map showcases 50 buildings. Working with preservation campaigner and photographer Natalia Melikova and Nikolai Vassiliev of DOCOMOMO Russia, Lamberton was able to identify the most critical and influential examples of constructivist architecture in the city. Many of these come from the prolific constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov. "The highlights, stylistically, are certainly Melnikov's buildings, but historically Ginzburg's Narkomfin with its early attempt to manifest the experiment of communal living is essential," Lamberton said. Poignantly, the Narkomfin's tenuous existence was recently in the news when it was announced that it's owners plan to transform it into “business class accommodation.” Lamberton added: "Constructivism is remarkable stylistically and as a representation of such an intensely rich historical moment. It embodies the spirit of the complicated and exciting post-revolution era in a dynamic manner that is easily comprehensible to an onlooker today. The highlights, stylistically, are certainly Melnikov's buildings, but historically Ginzburg's Narkomfin with its early attempt to manifest the experiment of communal living is essential." Up next is the "Brutalist Washington, DC Map," due out in October. The maps keep coming after that too. "In November we will release a 20th-century overview of Berlin," Lamberton said. "For Spring 2017 we have the following: Brutalist Sydney Map, Modernist Belgrade Map, Brutalist Paris Map." Those interested can find their maps here.
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West 8 designs landscape to revitalize a previously abandoned island in Saint Petersburg

The global landscape architecture and urban planning firm, West 8, is designing a masterplan for New Holland Island, an island in the center of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The first phase is set to open this August 2016. The triangular artificial island dates back to the early 1700s when the city created two canals. The island originally served as a naval port, naval testing ground, and also hosted a naval radio station. Much of the original historic buildings were abandoned after the 1915 Russian Revolution. In 2000, city officials gained control of the island, opening it to the public for a public art exhibit. (One leading artist was the Philadelphia-based Roxane Permar.) In 2010, Saint Petersburg officials gave New Holland Development redevelopment rights to the island. In 2011, the IRIS Foundation started hosting a summer program on the island to help activate non-historic spaces, bringing in gallery-organized temporary exhibitions. The West 8 masterplan covers 2.2 hectares (that's a little over 5.4 acres) and features over 200 mature trees (a linden-flanked alley, willows, oaks, among others) as well as a central green and an herb garden. In winter, the central green will hold an ice skating rink. Other parts of the design opening this summer include a children's playground shaped like the hull of the ship Petr and Pavel, and locally-designed temporary pavilions (a stage, gallery, and visitor's center) by architects Sergey Bukin and Lyubov Leontieva. Three restored historic buildings that were once a naval prison, a blacksmith's building, and a naval officers house will also open by the end of this year, converted into a variety of programs—shops, a bookstore, cafes, exercise studios, a children's creative makerspace, and more. The second, third, and fourth phases are expected to open in 2019, 2021, and 2025. These subsequent renovations will finish the historic warehouse renovations and add just over 3.7 acres of landscaping near Labor Square and Kryukov Canal. The Saint Petersburg Investment Committee and the Council for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage approved the West 8 plan in 2014. (Originally WORKac won an earlier competition in 2011 to design the site and create a cultural center, but their proposal was abandoned in 2013 in favor of a more landscape-centric focus, spurred by the success of the New Holland Island summer programs.)
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Jack Masey dies at 91, 57 years after he displayed American culture to Russia and the world

In 1959, Jack Masey caused communism and capitalism to collide thanks to his kitchen design that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon. His re-creation of a Long Island kitchen at the American National Exhibition amplified American pride and stirred up tensions between Russia and the United States during a difficult period. After 30 years working as a designer for the United States Information Agency (not a branch of the CIA), Jack Masey passed away on March 13 in Manhattan.

In a rare public meeting of the pair, things appeared to be going swimmingly until Khrushchev's gaze fell onto Masey's Long Island Kitchen. In what would come to be known as "The Kitchen Debate" the world leaders clashed in a bitter exchange. "You must not be afraid of ideas!" Nixon spat, only for the Russian President to smugly retort: "That's what we're telling you - don't be afraid of ideas."

Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Masey worked out of Manhattan for most of his life. During the Second World War, Masey was part of an elite 1,100-man unit that used visual and sound effects to impersonate larger forces. Mastering the art of deception, much of his time was spent designing inflatable rubber tanks and jeeps. “Three guys could blow up a Sherman tank in a half-hour,” he told The New York Times in 1969. “Two guys, a jeep in about 15 minutes.” 

A trained architect, also studying graphic design at Yale, Masey worked with R. Buckminster Fuller and Charles and Ray Eames at numerous exhibitions where he incorporated fashion shows and art by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. With these artistic devices at his disposal, Masey was able to articulate the flamboyant image of the American proletariat, just as the Information Agency wanted. Mundane appliances such as washing machines, dryers and electric ranges flaunted the fruits of capitalism. Ford car designs, films, Pepsi, Levi jeans, hairstyles, and even a mechanical talking chicken all featured as Masey told the world what the Soviet Union was missing out on.

The concept of a World's Fair today seems unnecessary and outdated. During the Cold War, when the world was a lot bigger, Expos informed the public of how others lived. For Expo '67 in Montreal, Masey filled Buckminster Fuller's iconic geodesic "biosphere" with space technology and the arts. Two years later, America landed on the Moon.

One wonders what Masey thought of all this glorified attention seeking. In a interview with the Guardian in 2008, he colloquially described work for the Information Agency laid out on his desk as "the whole shebang," reflecting a laid-back attitude.

An exhibition of his work, “Make-Believe America: U.S. Cultural Exhibitions in the Cold War,” is on view now at the Museum of Design Atlanta.

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Love your city? These rings let you wear your favorite skyline on your finger

Ola Shekhtman, a Serbian goldsmith trained in St. Petersburg, makes rings of iconic cityscapes. Shekhtman forms the rings by hand, melting, rolling, sawing, and soldering the metal into architectural figures from renown cities. Her collection includes London, Paris, New York, Berlin, Washington D.C., Charleston, Boston, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Edinburgh. Four Ola Shekhtman Cityscape Rings. (Courtesy Ola Shekhtman) The Serbian goldsmith developed her craft in 2011, studying in jewelry school in St. Petersburg, Russia and has moved to a different city each year. Her constant departure from cities inspired her collection. "Do you buy a single cup of coffee and sit at a Starbucks for an insane amount of time daydreaming of Paris? Do you miss London when none of your friends want to grab a pint on a Tuesday? Do you yearn for New York when you smell the faint scent of urine first thing in the morning? Here's something that'll make you light up like a city skyline at night," said the Huffington Post on Shekhtman's cityscape rings.  The Serbian goldsmith's Instagram page exhibits her rings accompanying her on her various travels. "Amsterdam says Shalom from the bay of the DeadSea, Israel," Shekhtman captioned the image above on Instagram. Seattle and Chicago are Shekhtman's most common requests and should be the next cityscapes added to her collection. For more information on Ola Shekhtman's handcrafted cityscape rings, check out her Etsy page here.
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Koolhaas' Garage opens in Moscow with a social media narrative

Last week another point was scored for social media as the de rigueur disseminator of architecture with the opening of Rem Koolhaas' Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow’s Gorky Park. As new media takes over old, images of Facebook’s new headquarters by Frank Gehry hit Instagram first, the announcement of BIG replacing Norman Foster at Two World Trade Center came through on Wired, and it may have reached its natural apex with the Garage designed by OMA. The first images of the museum flooded Instagram several hours before the June 10 press event—the museum officially opened on June 12. Feeds from photographer Iwan Baan—@iwanbaan—Nadine Johnson PR, and of course Garage’s own account @garagemca, all captured the guts and glory of a building that still seemed to be finishing up construction. A more traditional press event with architect Rem Koolhaas, museum founder Dasha Zhukova, museum director Anton Belov and Garage chief curator Kate Fowle complimented the social media onslaught. The team sat under a giant mosaic from the building’s previous life as the 1960s pre-fabricated restaurant Vremena Goda where OMA cleverly (when are they not?) retained the generous interior spaces and replaced the exterior with a translucent polycarbonate enclosure. Koolhaas, like Gehry, seems to be returning back to his early projects for inspiration, utilizing low-cost materials for both economical reasons and to subtly subvert expectations of taste. Now, that off-the-shelf approach applies to media and storytelling. By revealing the project via a purely visual medium like Instagram, Koolhaas liberates the architectural narrative from the traditional modes of transmission much like he has altered our preconceptions of what types of buildings materials can be used for and to what purpose. These well-known architects are not the only ones taking charge of their own narratives via social media and using those platforms to create exposure that might not otherwise occur. Los Angeles–based Warren Techentin of WTA created the La Cage Aux Folles installation in the courtyard of experimental gallery Materials & Applications. Collective posts on Instagram led to digital coverage in before appearing in print. Leave it to OMA to most seamlessly integrate old and new media (intentionally or not) to build a narrative for the Garage Museum, an institution positioned to transform from an outpost of the art world to one that spawns its own curatorial efforts.
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Pictorial> Twenty-one of the best pavilions from Milan Expo 2015

Milano Expo 2015 is rolling along, with 145 countries and a host of international organizations, civil society organizations, and corporations displaying their food-centric traditions and the latest sustainable agriculture and food production techniques. AN reported on the Expo when it opened:

a handful of designs...stand out as attempts to rethink the way we build and how it relates to modern agriculture and sustainable food production for the next century. Most of the pavilions use sustainable materials and construction methods that utilize national building techniques. Inside, exhibitions—often interactive—showcase biodiversity, culture, and food traditions of each nation.

Beyond the focus on food and agriculture, there is also a wealth of eye-catching architecture at the Milan Expo as well. Here is a collection of some of our favorite pavilions from this year's rendition. And be sure to check out our coverage of the Expo here.

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.