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Flexible, Comfortable and Rational: Young International Architects to Create Alternative Standard Housing for Russian Cities

The results of the Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing in Russia were announced. The competition’s main objective was to test Russia’s newly proposed Integrated Guidelines for Urban Development by expanding the typology of comfortable apartment layout solutions for standardized housing complexes. Strelka KB, a Russian urban consultancy, ran the competition, with a total prize fund of over $700,000.

Moscow, Russia, January 31, 2019 --(PR.com)-- Architecture bureaus from 37 countries presented 689 projects, with 5 solutions winning a 1st place mention: AKVS architecture (Serbia), atArchitecture / Avneesh+Neha (India), SIDEREAL (Spain), STVX+Maria Eizayaga+Emilio Lopez (Mexico), and The Center for Spatial Technologies+Leverage Strategy (Germany).

According to the Guidelines, such demands as adaptability and flexible layout, ergonomic efficiency, and functional diversity were stated key factors for increasing the comfort of residents’ living conditions. In fact, the participants were challenged to face a paradigm shift in urban territory development and residential construction in the Russian context. The competition was held in two stages. After a popular vote and a jury decision in September 2018, 20 finalists were chosen, each of whom received grants of about USD 15000 and recommendations for improving their projects. In total, the 20 finalists developed 111 buildings and 320 model apartments. In the second stage in December 2018, first, second, and third category winners were chosen from among participating bureaus and got additional grants. The competition participants proposed solutions that accounted for the various demands of future users: from basic, everyday needs to socializing and self-realization.

An innovative sustainable augmented reality app was developed especially for the jury’s meetings, giving panel members an opportunity to judge participants’ 3D models in an environmentally friendly way: no resources were wasted on producing and transporting physical models from all over the world. An international jury consisted of co-founder of the MVRDV bureau, Natalie De Vries; architect, professor at the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich and winner of the Golden Lion at the 2018 Venetian Biennale, Alessandro Bosshard; chief architect at the TPO "Reserve," Vladimir Plotkin; curator of the ARCH Moscow exhibition and the Moscow Architectural Biennale, Bart Goldhoorn; co-founder of TA.R.I-Architects, Claudia Ricciardi; junior partner at Sheppard Robson Architects bureau, Anna Shapiro; co-founders of Buromoscow, Olga Aleksakova and Yuliya Burdova; co-founders of the "Tsimaylo Lyashenko & Partners" architectural bureau, Nicholay Lyashenko and Alexander Tsimailo; an established PhD Architect, specialist in Consultancy and Management of International Contemporary Architecture Institutions, and Curator, Giovanna Carnevali.

“Strelka KB is a platform for high-profile competitions in Russia, used by emerging Russian architects and more than 5,000 bureaus around the world. Any big challenges that clients come to us with, whether they are the creation of from nanotech laboratories and high-tech buildings to public spaces, housing and sports facilities — we conduct competitions to suit their needs. For us, competitions are a crash test for the functional models that we ourselves create for a territory or a housing complex,” remarked Denis Leontyev, CEO of Strelka KB.

About the competition operator Strelka KB was founded in 2013 to offer strategic consulting and comprehensive urban solutions. The company is currently working across Russia as a multi-disciplinary and multi-national team, covering 9 central competencies and collaborating with both Russian and international experts from 45 countries. The company features expert centers on Urban Anthropology, Urban Economics, and GIS Analysis. Distinguished projects include a renovation program and development guidelines for 3,000 streets in Moscow, Integrated Guidelines for Urban Development and the data-driven Urban Environment Quality Index for 1,114 Russian cities, the functional model for Zaryadye Park, and architectural competitions, including Nike’s first outdoor sports center in Gorky Park, Moscow, and Tel Aviv University’s nano lab. In 5 years, Strelka KB has managed 35 Russian and international architectural competitions. Over 2,500 professionals from 50 countries in the fields of architecture, urban planning and landscape design have already taken part in Strelka KB competitions. Most of the projects that were submitted to Strelka KB competitions have been implemented or are currently underway. Strelka's KB expertise was demonstrated by the holding of the competition for the development of the Zaryadye Park concept. Diller Scofidio + Renfro won the international competition held by Strelka KB, while the park itself has been ranked among the main world public spaces. To date, Strelka KB has managed to form a culture of industry-specific competitions with high-quality briefs, international juries and prize funds.

About the Integrated Guidelines for Urban Development
Of Russia’s 656 industrial cities, only 17 are responsible for 38% of the country’s present day GDP. Regulations for housing are outdated 20-25 years on average, and new developments are effectively governed by Soviet-era regulations. Russia’s capacity for future economic development and improvement in quality of life depends on bringing both these cities’ housing stocks and the guidelines for their expansion into the 21th century — the exact mission of the Integrated Guidelines for Urban Development, developed by Strelka KB under the initiative and in partnership with the Russian Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector and DOM.RF, an integrated housing development institution. Its flexible approach to regulation incorporates essential existing regulations while allowing for strategic long-term planning in compliance with global standards, helping to create the best, most liveable cities while accounting for Russia’s unique architectural and cultural context. The Guidelines comprises a set of 8 books, catalogues and manuals which categorize and respond to the problems that Russian cities are facing today. This work is the result of multidisciplinary teamwork: about 200 experts from more than 20 universities and 20 businesses from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the UK, France, Denmark, Canada and Russia contributed to the project. The Guidelines combine international best practices, complex research and in-house expertise to solve real problems in modern Russian cities, offering patterns and flexible solutions rather than limiting restrictions.

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