An open international contest has been launched to masterplan a new 1,700-hectare public space next to a reservoir on the fringes of Almetyevsk in Russia (Deadline: 21 January)
Open to teams of architects, landscape architects, urban planners and economists, the two-stage competition seeks proposals to transform a large area of disused land next to the artificial lake into a new park for residents of the rapidly growing city located in the oil-rich Republic of Tatarstan.
The contest is organised by the Moscow-based Agency for Strategic Development CENTER on behalf of the Administration of the City of Almetyevsk and Russia’s fifth largest oil company, Tatneft, which is headquartered in the settlement. Three shortlisted teams will receive around £30,000 each to draw up concepts and the overall winner will take home approximately £48,000.
Contest site: Almetyevsk Reservoir, Russia
Source: Image by Google Earth
Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova, assistant to the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, said: ‘What we have just conceived in Almetyevsk is a very serious initiative and, importantly, it has the backing of one of the largest companies in the republic, PJSC Tatneft. To understand the scale of what is happening, we are not talking about the improvement of yet another square or park, we are talking about the integrated development of more than 1,700 hectares, of which 270 hectares are parts of [an existing] forest area.
‘An international competition is an opportunity to attract the best minds to the development of the territory. I look forward to something very interesting and large-scale not only for Tatarstan, but also for urban development throughout Russia, because approaches to design are changing before our very eyes. We are now talking about comprehensive planning of the future of our cities which is completely new for the post-Soviet space.’
Sergei Georgievskii, chief executive of the Agency for Strategic Development CENTER, said: ‘Almetyevsk is developing, growing, and, of course, it needs new facilities for recreation, public spaces and opportunities for both the citizens themselves and for tourists.
Almetyevsk Youth Centre
Source: Image by Eurotat
‘Today, there is a need for such a unique natural complex and land area adjacent to the city to be redeveloped. It’s time to determine the strategy of the future. And the most effective tool to achieve this goal is to hold an international professional competition, which will enable us to get several completely different concepts for transforming the landmark territory for the city and the whole Republic.’
Almetyevsk is a rapidly growing city at the centre of Russia’s oil industry. Founded in 1953, the settlement is the starting point for the 4,000km-long Druzhba pipeline which facilitates fuel exports from Russia to Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany.
The competition focuses on creating a ‘landmark public space’ on a 1,700-hectare site bordering a reservoir on the northern fringes of Almetyevsk. Judges include Tatneft general director Nail Maganov; Guy Eames, founder of Russia’s Green Building Council; and Elena Korotkova, head of the centre for urban economics at Strelka KB in Moscow.
The overall winner, to be announced in April 2020, will receive around £48,000 while a second prize of approximately £24,000 and third prize of approximately £12,000 will also be awarded.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 21 January
Tel: +7 (495) 123 45 53
Q&A with Sergei Georgievskii
The general director of the Agency for Strategic Development CENTER
Why are your holding an international contest to masterplan land next to the Almetyevsk reservoir?
Almetyevsk is a unique city, one of the most comfortable cities in the Republic of Tatarstan, which can be regarded as one of the economic leaders of the Russian Federation, a region that is actively performing in the international field, in whose territory a multicultural environment is really thriving and becoming a crucial driver for changing the quality of life and environment throughout Russia.
Almetyevsk itself is a city where the headquarters of one of the largest Russian oil producing and oil refining companies, Tatneft, is located. This is not an ordinary city in Russia, but the base of an international company that implements a huge number of corporate and social responsibility programmes and actively interacts with the city administration regarding Almetyevsk’s development vision and the implementation of its ambitious plans.
The city itself has fairly high economic indicators, and the population that lives in it has a relatively high level of wages and social infrastructure for Russia. And now the time has come when it is obvious that the city needs to develop. It needs a new quality of public and recreational space, sports infrastructure, housing and business development. The city administration decided to comprehensively approach this task.
The city has recently participated in several pilot projects to create a comfortable urban environment (such as creating a unified park space, a unified design code for streets, enhancing the fight against noise ‘pollution,’ and the creation of new leisure and recreation centers) and these initiatives have resulted in a new way of thinking from both the mayoral team and the management of Tatneft. Joining together, they are promoting this latest prospective development in Almetyevsk reservoir, based on the best international practices and taking into account the contemporary needs of local people (both Russians and expatriates). This territory has not only become the new flagship zone for the city’s development, but at the same time a prototype that could become its ‘face’ to the wider world. These ambitions led the city and Tatneft to decide to hold an open international competition, which will become an instrument for changing this territory, which is of high importance for the entire city.
Consultation on contest site: Almetyevsk Reservoir, Russia
What is your vision for this new landmark public space?
The competition territory is a 1,700-hectare area within the city limits. It possesses unique characteristics which make it a beautiful, natural and recreational zone. These include a reservoir, a cascade of ponds, the Stepnoy Zay river, various hills and mountains, and a gentle slope that is already used for a ski resort. Together, all these factors form a landscape where you can create a space that is of unique beauty and comfort. At the same time, the diversity of the territory is a challenge for all contestants. To develop a strategy for such a large, and in many ways, iconic area a careful study of the territory is necessary prior to preparing any competition proposal. Challenges include the complexity of development, achieveing compliance with global development trends, and ensuring landscape eco-rehabilitation, socio-economic efficiency and investment attractiveness. It is also especially important that contestants consider the site in the context of sustainable development.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
We expect competition participants to include multidisciplinary international consortia that will bring together both Russian and foreign specialists, and professionals in their field. Both Tatneft and the administration of Almetyevsk through this competition aim to develop a strategy which can also be used beyond the immediate contest site. They will be selecting a team that, using its experience, will bring a new perspective to development prospects and opportunities across the city as a whole and could become a design partner working with the city and company over the next 10-to-15 years. Nikolai Glazkov, Tatneft deputy general director for capital construction, tentatively estimates the budget for the project as a public-private joint investment between the city and company at 1 trillion rubles (almost £12 billion). Thus, participation in the competition is the easiest, most open and transparent way to enter into business in this region with the chance of achieving a long and successful partnership, and also the opportunity to get a landmark project in your portfolio and achieve significance in the world of architecture.
Consultation on contest site: Almetyevsk Reservoir, Russia
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
Our company is one of the largest competition organizers in Russia. At the same time, we are an analytical agency that provides expertise and publishes research on pressing issues relating to the development of territories and public spaces. We work in 63 regions of the Russian Federation, almost throughout the country – from Chukotka to Moscow. Our partners in this are the regional and federal executive bodies, and large Russian corporations.
Sustainable principles have been present in almost all competitions held by the company over the past five years. Our plans for next year also include a number of competitions related to public space in Russian cities, underground and transport infrastructure, as well as legacy of the 2018 World Cup. The number of competitions we organize is growing every year. CENTER’s approach as an organizer is grounded in the idea that we act as a mediator, equally balancing all sides, ensuring compliance with all international standards concerning competitive procedures while also limiting risks both for competitors and the initiators of competitions.
Are there any other recent environmental rehabilitation masterplans you have been impressed by?
One of the most striking and impressive projects in Russia in the field of master planning is a competition that ended in November in one of the oldest cities in Russia - Derbent (Republic of Dagestan). This is a city with a 500-year history, in which there are many unique landmarks included in the UNESCO list of protected objects. The city administration decided to develop a master plan through an open procedure and to conduct an international competition. The contest was the largest in Russia in the past 30 years. We received applications from 10 countries. The competition gave an incredible result, which was highly appreciated by both the city administration team and the largest investors. Following the winner announcement, financing for a number of projects has already been confirmed and a total budget for the masterplan’s implementation of 23 billion rubles has also been determined. Already, the winning team, which included companies from Russia, the UK, the Netherlands and France, has started to work on the project. The city has also created a project office to help with some of the tasks of implementing the masterplan. It is important to note that competitions are increasingly becoming a tool to solve the problems of entire cities and implement the largest and most strategically significant projects for our regions.
Contest winning masterplan for Derbent in Dagestan, Russia by Mae Architects of London with Russia’s Novaya Zemlya, Groupe Huit of France and West 8 from Rotterdam