Architects Look To High-Density Europe For Inspiration

Vladimir Filonov / MT

City planners need to focus more strongly on infrastructure if regional cities and satellite towns are to develop efficiently. Pi de Bruijn, of de Architekten Cie., won a tender for a new satellite city on the periphery of Moscow. The mixed-use development will cover 1 million square meters, with up to 30,000 units, from family villas to high-density apartments and social housing.

The town, 30 kilometers from the center of Moscow, has involved one and a half years of preparation. The developer, whom de Bruijn prefers not to name, has confidence that a planned motorway will provide excellent links. However, de Bruijn thinks the district should be connected by metro at least.

The development, in a rural area, uses a large park to divide smaller neighbourhoods, maintaining routes for wildlife to cross the develpment. The design also allows for land in its natural condition to act as a biological filter and a collection point for storm water, which can also be used for leisure. Construction will continue until 2016.

Moscow city government created a wealth of opportunities for architects when it doubled its area, by creating the Moscow Agglomeration to the southwest. However, it faces a challenge in the lack of infrastructure, from the quality of roads to the paucity of rail links. The city is in the midst of a survey to check the quality of infrastructure for the haphazard development that has already taken place. The Dutch design, engineering and management company Arcadis has been commissioned to report on the mobility of Moscow.

De Bruijn makes a comparison with the development of Zuidas, a fast-developing business district between Amsterdam and the airport hub of Schiphol. It is expected to be the second center of Amsterdam, says de Bruijn. "Urban development should only happen in areas of urban mobility when you can enter by different ways: road, train or plan. We know this in the west but in Moscow there has to be a mission to overcome commercial forces.

It's partly a matter of attitude, he says. "During the moment of the upswing it is quite hard to sell, becasuse the guys want to develop tomorrow and they wont wait for this soft deliberation yet it would be better to acknowledge the complexity."

Two key issues go hand in hand: urban planning and building design. In particular social housing and urban development for social use.

Planners should not pursue high-density development, but focus on social needs, said Evgeny Asse, Dean of the Moscow School of Architecture (MARCH). "High density social housing of high quality. Not the high-rise buildings but low rise and a kind of block system of low-rise buildings of four or five floors but still very dense with very good urban environment. An important element is the well-developed methodology and the profound research into the political, social and economic context of buildings.

"There are no examples in Russia yet but this could appear in the new territories near Moscow."

The master plan for city of Perm was by a Dutch company, KCAP. This was the first example of such intervention in Russian urban design planning and there are now other such master plans in the new territory of Moscow.

De Architekten Cie. has two or three projects close to fruition that could make a contribution to Moscow's architecture. One is at Belaya Dacha, which is expanding the shopping and residential complex. Another project in Voronezh will require a couple more year  at the design stage.

In-Store Entertainment Park

The Moscow Times

The drive to differentiate shopping centers and to provide targeted entertainment took another step with the opening of the Funky Town brand in Ryazan's Premier shopping center.

The park occupies 2,500 square meters on the third floor of the Class A center, including Italian-built rides for children as well as video- and games machines.

The Funky Town brand operates seven amusement parks in Kazakhstan and Russia.

Anastasia Sharkova, Associate Director, Retail Department, CBRE Russia, said, "The unique concept of the park is that it has entertainment for children of different ages and focuses on education. Funky town also arranges the celebration of different holidays, events, and birthdays every day."

The park hosts guest artists, puppet shows and street theatre and includes two public playgrounds. Commercial partners provide free food and workshops for special events.

Tenant Synergy In Siberia

The Moscow Times

The shopping and hotel complex Magellan opened in Tumen, Siberia's first city, as part of a mixed-use complex that includes a Class A business center and Mercure hotel.

Arsib Holding developed the 90,000 square meters complex at a cost of $140 million. Of the total, offices occupy 50,000 square meters and the Magellan shopping center, 25,000 square meters.

As the Magellan is 300 meters from the existing Goodwin shopping center, the tenants of the two centers will not overlap. Of the retail units, 85 percent have been leased to companies such as SPAR supermarket and M.Video.

Moscow Region Logistics Complex

Construction is underway of one of the largest logistics centers to the north of Moscow, with 106,000 square meters of warehousing to be delivered in Q2 2014.

Eastward Capital and National Consulting are developing an 18-hectare plot near Nikolskoye village and Iksha, 35 kilometers from Mkad and 17 kilometers from Leningradskoe highway, the main import route for trucks.

Alexey Labzin, partner, Eastward Capital, said, "We are creating a modern high-end project, planned and constructed according to the best Russian and European technologies in terms of engineering systems and efficient operation."

Nomos bank is financing, Tebodin is designing, and Evrostroi is building the complex.

Metro Looks East

The head of German retail leader Metro met with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov to discuss the company's work with Russian food producers and its possible expansion in the far eastern Primorye region, a statement on the government website said.

Metro CEO Olaf Koch raised the issues of profit and payroll taxes while Shuvalov praised Metro Cash & Carry's business model in Russia, which focuses on encouraging investment in local companies. Metro buys 90 percent of its product line from Russian suppliers.

According to the company's web site it has established a total of 68 Metro Cash & Carry stores, 18 Real Hypermarkets, 30 Media Markt electronics stores and two Saturn electronics stores in Russia.