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A new school for Moscow

London Metropolitan University launches a new Architecture School in the Russian Capital

‘Moscow remains a city which is hard to live with,’ I wrote in Architecture Today in 2000. ‘Brutal and unforgiving, it is raw and at times scary. But its extremes shed light on other cities where brutality is less explicit. The social, economic, and political tissue that holds Moscow together has been stretched to breaking point, making it clear to see.’

A dozen years on a lot has changed in the city, but the reasons why I like it have not. It remains agitated, energetic and invigorating. And as an educator, I am delighted to now have the opportunity to become directly involved in the future of Moscow. On 10 April I was returned to the city in my role as dean of architecture at London Metropolitan University, to help launch a new architecture school in Moscow (MARCH). MARCH is the result of collaboration with leading Russian practitioners who have identified the need for a new voice in architectural education that complements the extremes currently represented by the Moscow Institute of Architecture and the STRELKA institute.

New School for Moscow

MARCH will be validated by London Metropolitan University and will deliver a postgraduate course in Moscow in Russian based on our Professional Diploma. Like its London counterpart the Moscow School will place an emphasis on the involvement of practitioners in delivering architectural education. The new school will be directed by Eugene Asse and will have studios by other leading Russian practitioners including Alexander Brodsky, Sergei Skuratov and Vladimir Plotkin.The focus will be on contemporary Moscow and the development of young practitioners capable of shaping this rapidly changing city.

The school will be active in the city and will take part in live projects in partnership with the individuals and institutions leading the development of Moscow and there will be live projects, research and consultancy that span between and compare Moscow and London. Students at London Met will have the opportunity to spend time studying and practising in Moscow as part of their professional diploma and Moscow students will be able to spend time in London.

MARCH will be part of the British Higher School of Art and Design, which is based in The Artplay complex in the east of Moscow. Work has started on its new studios, which have been designed by Nikita Tokarev. Over the summer the school will occupy a temporary pavilion in the grounds of the Tretyakov Gallery of Modern Art. The pavilion will host a series of lectures and events exploring the agenda of the school before its first students start in the autumn.

This alliance gives our students in London new routes to employment while providing us with the critical distance to engage more effectively with pressing social and spatial issues closer to home. We hope this is the first of many such initiatives.

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