Lecture by Sergey Kuznetsov, Moscow’s Chief Architect

29 September – 29 September 2015
Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan

Lecture by Moscow’s Chief Architect as part of the Open Competition for Concept Development for Embankments and Shore Line of the Kaban Lakes in Kazan

  • Moscow is currently driving the development of the territories, which are hard to develop or isolated. This issue is relevant across the globe: in particular, this is the main theme of Architectural Biennale to take place in Venice next year.
  • What are the problems faced by the embankments and water bodies in major cities? Water bodies in cities are, undoubtedly, fascinating recreation spaces and great views. However, strangely, larger cities do not use the river banks and they do not become the centers of attraction, they turn into peripheral areas.
  • In Moscow, they were used for technical needs. In places where houses were placed in close proximity to the river, concepts concerning the water views and recreation were not developed, and sometimes people were completely unaware that they were living close to water bodies.
  • However, this should be the other way round, and cities which actively develop waterfronts should make people aware of this. If you take a boat trip across Istanbul by boat on the Bosporus, you will see that the river is actually a facade for the main street of the city. If you walk around St. Petersburg, you will see that Neva is the main avenue of the city, being even more important than Nevsky Prospect.
  • And this is not a problem only in Russian cities. London’s authorities started to pay attention to the Thames only 50 years ago. New York only recently started to develop its waterfront.
  • Architecture does not only mean the construction of buildings, but also using the existing assets of the city. The urban environment implies the surroundings of people, that is why working with the environment is essential.
  • Moscow is a city of different layers. It is not possible to create a design code or work out a unified style. Only proper treatment of the territory will harmonize the urban environment, combining different styles and eras.
  • One of the main features of modern times is to give an opportunity for development to young people. The competitive practices are a great way to help young teams tap into their potential.
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