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.
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.
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.
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. Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: Read More