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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Builds International Quarter

A plan for the world's leading architects to design a cottage settlement on the city's outskirts has been announced by the Moscow branch of the International Union of Architects.

Branch president Yevgeny Rozanov said at a news conference last week that the settlement will be built between the Krylatskoye and Novo-Peredelkino districts and will be called the International Quarter, Interfax reported.

Each house in the settlement will be developed as an individual project by a member of the IUA, he added.

The report quoted Rozanov as saying that invitations to take part in the project, introduced four years ago, had attracted architects from 24 nations, including Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Russia and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. They had suggested about 60 individual projects.

The intention is to develop the houses as a commercial project. However, Moscow's chief architect, Alexander Kuzmin, said the owners will be asked to allow visitors into their houses, "which will at first be architectural monuments," Interfax reported. He added that the settlement would be unique.

An IUA delegation met last week with Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov to discuss timing and financing of the project, the report said. No further details were available, and Rozanov could not be reached for comment.

Invitations to join the project have attracted architects from 24 nations, including Japan and Mexico.

Jack Kelleher, managing director at Noble Gibbons/CB Richard Ellis, said: "It's a very creative, fun idea that will go down well with the appropriate market segment."

The project would likely attract wealthy Russians, and, because these people have the cash, financing the project should be possible, he said.

The area chosen for the cottage settlement is highly desirable and should also contribute to the project's success, Kelleher said.

"It's considered an elite, green area," he said.

Several town house developments and some individually built elite homes have already been constructed in the area, Kelleher added.

Andrew Wixom, head of real estate development company BrookeMil Ltd. and a trained architect, said few international architects had worked in Moscow and the project could be the drawing card to attract them.

"I think that it will help bring attention to Moscow and put it more in the minds of the international design community," he said.

The concept of having international architects display their creativity side by side is an old idea — that was what happened at the world's fairs, for example — but applying it to houses is unusual, he said.

Designing a single-family home has always been an enjoyable experience for architects, and if the cottage development is adequately financed, the invited architects will be enthusiastic participants, Wixom said.

"It's a very well-defined type of problem to solve — how people live and inhabit spaces is always a very interesting subject," he added.

Asked if some of the cottages designed by foreign architects might be uncomfortable to live in, Wixom said the leading architects are in touch with the attitudes and preferences of different cultures. That is why it's a common practice to invite foreign architects to bring unique ideas to a project, he added.