An international competition has been launched to revitalise Moscow’s historic Tverskaya Street (Deadline: 2 June)
Organised by Strelka KB, the contest, open to architects and landscape architects, seeks proposals for a 1.5km stretch of the prominent thoroughfare, which connects Bloruskaya Station with Red Square.
The project is part of the Government of Moscow’s ongoing ‘My Street’ public realm renewal programme, which will overhaul 50 city centre roads this year alone.
According to the brief: ‘Tverskaya is Moscow’s signature street. Broadened and virtually built anew in the 1930s-50s, it brings together the power of Neo-classicist palazzos with Stalinist Empire-style stores and restaurants, and is a major thoroughfare of the city centre.
‘On the one hand, Muscovites take pride in Tverskaya, and there can be no drastic change in its appearance, while on the other, we need the image of a contemporary street in a friendly and open city. So, how do we get a friendly Tverskaya? This is what the competition is about.’
First laid out in the 12th century, Tverskaya Street originally featured aristocratic houses, but was remodelled during the 19th century to feature large commercial buildings, department stores and churches.
Today the widened eight-lane street is a major traffic artery connecting the city’s concentric ring roads and it is used for transporting military vehicles during the annual 9 May Victory Day Parade.
The 6.2ha competition site stretches from Pushkinskaya Square on the inner Garden Ring to Triumfalnaya Square on the outer Boulevard Ring in the north. A further section heading up to the Bloruskaya Station terminus is also included.
Proposals must reflect the historic importance of the competition site, mostly used by local residents and office workers, while also considering planned future developments.
Dutch practice West 8 has already drawn up plans for the southern section between Pushkinskaya square and Mokhovaya street near Red Square, which is more popular with tourists.
Key aims of the project include delivering new green amenities, wider pavements, optimising traffic lanes, creating a more active street front and upgrading engineering services.
Street shelters, improved accessibility, noise reduction measures, new signage and paving, and social spaces will all be required.
Applications may be in English or Russian. Judges include Union of Moscow Architects president Nikolay Shumakov, Strelka Institute chief executive Varvara Melnikova, landscape architect Martha Schwartz, and Philip Wren of London-based Wren Architecture.
The winning team – set to be announced 7 July – will receive 826,000 roubles ($12,400) and up to 4 million roubles ($60,000) to develop its winning design as part of the city’s public realm improvement program.
Two additional joint second-place prizes worth approximately 354,000 roubles ($5,000) each will also be awarded.
How to apply
Registration deadline 2 June, proposals must be submitted by 28 June
6 Bersenevskaya Embankment
Tel: +7 (495) 268-06-11
Visit the competition website for more information
Exhibition Road case study: Q&A with Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones
The founders of Dixon Jones discuss how the practice set about overhauling Exhibition Road in South Kensington, west London
How did you improve the pedestrian experience and enhance civic presence while maintaining vehicle flow in your Exhibition Road project?
Exhibition Road is unusual for being a ‘shared space’, ie pedestrians take precedence over vehicles. The whole width and length of the street is unified visually by a diagonal pattern, suggesting a uniform use. However, in practice, there is a degree of pragmatism. Traffic tends to go down one side, and pedestrians on the other. The geometry of the patterning encourages freedom of movement for pedestrians, and opposes the directional nature of traffic. This compromise works well – pedestrians have a new sense of freedom, and cars take special care. The street surface, as an urban canvas, provides a new setting for the important institutions that border it.
South Kensington, London
What material, highways planning, street furniture and other techniques are available to public realm designers?
The client for Exhibition Road was central to all design decisions. Daniel Moylan, of Kensington and Chelsea Council, had clear ideas about street furniture and other secondary elements. In brief, he liked simplicity, always opposing the introduction of unnecessary secondary elements. The streetscape should be dignified and permanent; the only feature specifically developed for Exhibition Road was the design of the street lights, with their monumentally tall poles. At night these set out lines of light in layers, dramatising the perspective views along the length of the street. The paving surface consists of more than a million immaculately cut granite blocks, contained in a grid of stainless-steel angles, the whole combining simplicity and high quality – ‘the Moylan formula’.
What advice do you have for competition applicants on how to approach redesigning a major historic thoroughfare such as Tverskaya Street?
In the case of Exhibition Road, the dialogue between client and designer was absolutely central. Ambitious urban projects are notoriously difficult to complete. Architectural magazines are littered with bold proposals that never happen. The achievement of a radical street proposal requires huge willpower from all parties involved – client, designer, contractor etc. The proposal has to evolve from the context of the city it is in, and to be able to become an aspect of its nature. One can already see that Exhibition Road has become one of those projects that, in the eyes of most users, ‘was always like that’ – evidence that it has been successfully absorbed into its urban locality.
South Kensington, London