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Competition: ITMO Highpark Innovation Centre, St Petersburg

An international contest has been launched to masterplan a new 100-hectare university campus on the fringes of St Petersburg, Russia (Deadline: 1 October)

The winning team will masterplan a new $600 million base for St Petersburg’s ITMO University which plans to develop a new 100,000m² innovation centre on the outskirts of Russia’s former imperial capital by 2027.

The ambitious project is part of the £3.2 billion Yuzhny development which will see a new satellite-city of 134,000 inhabitants created in suburban Pushkin 24 kilometres south of the city centre. Formerly known as Tsarskoye Selo, the area is home to the iconic 1717 Catherine Palace (pictured).

Catherine Palace in Pushkin, St Petersburg

Catherine Palace in Pushkin, St Petersburg

Source: Image by Florstein

Catherine Palace in Pushkin, St Petersburg

According to the brief: ‘JSC ITMO Highpark has announced the contest for an architectural and planning solution the so-named innovation centre with a university campus on the territory of Yuzhny satellite-city Project in Pushkin district of St Petersburg, Russia.

‘The contest participants have to elaborate a masterplan of ITMO Highpark Innovation Centre territory with an architectural image and inside space of its basic buildings, to form a transport and pedestrian carcass and recreational zones as well as to integrate the project into the projected construction of adjacent territories.’

Located around 24 kilometres south of the city centre and 14 km from Pulkovo Airport – Pushkin is a UNESCO-protected suburban settlement famous for its many grand houses including the Catherine and Alexander palaces.

The Yuzhny satellite-city project will deliver around 4.3 million m² of housing and 1 million m² of commercial space over the next 15 years. Once complete the area is expected to host around 134,000 residents and 60 thousand jobs.

Pushkin, St Petersburg

Pushkin, St Petersburg

Source: Image by Pavlikhin

Pushkin, St Petersburg

The competition focuses on creating a new 100-hectare for ITMO University – which specialises in informational and photonic technologies – within the satellite city. The main education building will feature auditoriums, lecture theatres, a conference hall, library, co-working space, museum and recreational facilities.

Additional planned structures include a sports complex, student accommodation blocks, and various scientific centres and laboratories. Once complete the development is expected to host around 3,600 students, 400 teachers and around 2,500 additional residents.

The competition language is Russian and the overall winner will receive a design contract estimated to be worth $1 million.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 1 October

Contact details

Tel: 7-812-2004647

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Sergey Khmelevsky

The chief executive of ITMO Highpark discusses his ambitions for the contest

Sergey Khmelevsky

Sergey Khmelevsky

Sergey Khmelevsky

Why are your holding an international ideas contest to masterplan the new ITMO Highpark Innovation Centre?

ITMO Highpark is a major Russian project of an international innovation centre. There is an open field now where it will be built, but it is the territory of St Petersburg which is designated for a grandiose development project – Satellite city Yuzhny. A new suburb of St Petersburg will be built here. The Russian government supports the project, and ITMO Highpark will be the first urban element. It will be a state-of-the-art centre, comprising the campus of the world’s leading ITMO University, students of which regularly win international programming contests. It will host a cluster of advanced productions, a testing ground for implementation of technologies and much more. That is why we want to involve specialists from all over the world for providing the architectural solution, so that conceptually the project can comply with the ideas which are to be implemented on its territory.

What is your vision for the future university campus?

Clearly, the architectural concept should reflect the nature of the activities to be carried out on the project territory. We welcome innovations, unique technological solutions, and high-tech style. Classicism is probably not entirely relevant here. However, there are no restrictions on the stylistic design of the park space in the competition documentation.

At the selection stage, architectural companies will not make any sketches, so there is nothing to put on the website yet. The choosing of the winner will be based on the portfolio of applicants. Once an architectural and planning contractor is selected and work on the sketches is started, the website will be launched. In the meantime, all conditions of the competition can be found on the public procurement website of the Russian Federation.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

Since the project is large and significant for St Petersburg and Russia as a whole, winning in this competition will be a good addition to the portfolio of eminent architects and an excellent startup for professionals who have just started to work in the industry.

ITMO Highpark is implemented in accordance with Russian legislation. Of course, we welcome experienced architects and newcomers as well. However, according to our estimates, it is better for a foreign architectural company to involve local Russian partners as consultants or assistants so that the developed projects will be in compliance with Russian legislation standards and Russian economic and geographical actuals.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

Architectural competitions are not planned for this project in the next five years. This is the first and most important one, and the project implementation will be based on its results.