An open international competition has been launched for a series of information kiosks along the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia (Deadline: 28 September)
Backed by CDS NORD property developers, the contest seeks ‘innovative’ and ‘instantly recognisable’ proposals for tourist information centres at key stops on the famous route.
Focusing on Moscow, Vladimir, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Ulan Ude, Ulaanbaatar and Khabarovsk, the project aims to enhance each region’s appeal and encourage regular tourist groups.
Yaroslavsky terminus image by asavin
According to the brief: ‘The Trans-Siberian Pit Stops architecture competition offers architecture enthusiasts a chance for their designs for a tourist centre to be constructed along the world’s most famous train route.
‘Successful projects will combine the history and culture of this iconic railway, and the winning designs of the competition, run in collaboration with CDS NORD property developers, will be considered for construction in at least five locations across Russia.’
Spanning seven time zones, the Trans-Siberian Train railway first opened in 1916 and takes at least six days to travel.
The 9,289km transport route – which connects Moscow with Vladivostok – was electrified in 2002, doubling its train size capacity to 6,000 tonnes.
The competition is organised by Bee Breeders which launched a contest for new Icelandic trekking cabins in partnership with the same developer earlier this year.
Both parties expect the latest contest – which has no set budget for proposals – to play a similar role in opening up the route and boosting its appeal to visitors.
Trans siberian pit stops
Each pit stop must provide essential tourist information for its surrounding area and be able to function in all weather conditions experienced along the historic route.
Proposals should fit a square 8 x 8m site and be easily replicated at multiple yet-to-be-confirmed locations across the rail network.
Concepts must display strong identity, be highly recognisable and create a new symbol for the immense route across the world’s largest nation.
CDS Nord has plans to construct the first Trans-Siberian pit stop at the start of 2018 and all winning entries will be considered for the final design.
The competition is open to all participants with no professional qualifications required. Proposals may be submitted by individuals or by teams of up to four members.
The overall winner – set to be announced on 2 November – will receive $3,000 USD while a $1,500 USD second-place prize and $500 USD third-place prize are also available.
A student award and green award worth $500 USD each will furthermore be awarded alongside six honourable mentions.
How to apply
The deadline for submissions is 11.59pm GMT on 19 October
Early bird registration from 13 July to 10 August: $120 USD for professionals / $100 USD for students
Advance registration from 11 August to 31 August: $140 USD for professionals / $110 USD for students
Last minute registration from 1 September to 28 September: $160 USD for professionals / $120 USD for students
Visit the competition website for more information
Flower Kiosk case study: Q&A with Kyle Buchanan
The director of Archio discusses lessons learned designing a flower kiosk for Notting Hill in London, England
How did your Flower Kiosk project respond to its context and users’ requirements?
By their nature most kiosks benefit from standing out from their context rather than blending in. This was certainly the objective for our flower kiosk and the design and form of the building results from its use. Its external form is derived from ‘electron scanning microscope’ images of flower petals, and the wave pattern is a floral motif referencing the microscopic condition of a flower.
As a building type kiosks have an unusually direct relationship with the public realm, and have the potential to facilitate the use of an underused part of the city. We spent a lot of time thinking about how our kiosk would be used by the florist, and sought to incorporate the surrounding pavement into the process of displaying and selling flowers. I think this allows the kiosk to impact on its context through use rather than appearance.
What considerations might be important when designing a weatherproof kiosk which is easily recognisable and can be replicated in several locations?
Kiosks sit somewhere between furniture and architecture in scale and so perhaps lend themselves to prefabrication. Delivery and weight are often the issues with off-site construction. Our kiosk was built off-site in Lewis and driven up to London on a van-mounted crane. Lowering off the van was a tense moment, but perhaps that is not such as issue when you have a railway to hand!
How would you set about redesigning an information kiosk which responds to the Trans-Siberian Railway’s unique cultural context?
One of the most interesting parts of designing our flower kiosk was learning about the history of kiosks in London. These include ornate Victorian public toilets and even a police station in the base of a lamppost in Trafalgar Square, which when in operation, was the smallest police station in the world. The wider infrastructural role of kiosks is very interesting. The red K2 telephone box by Gilbert Scott, and post-boxes are both notable as physical manifestations of a much wider and more ephemeral communication system. Perhaps the idea of a kiosk as a visible node in a network is interesting in relation to a vast piece of infrastructure like the Trans-Siberian Railway.