Complex reconstruction of the Moscow River’s embankment

Moscow river.

Recently, architectural council announced the new contest for reconstruction of Moscow river embanrkents. There has been such contest in 2009, which was called ‘Moscow river in Moscow’. Several well-known architectural bureaus took part in it, including Meganom, Mosproject 4, Asadov architetcural bureau.

That contest aimed mainly for usage of Moscwo river water spaces, somehow equating it to the ground, allowing the development on water area. It was ordered by the National Shipowners’ Association, so some floating structures, called ‘innovative objects on the water’ should have been designed. National Shipowners’ Association outlined the advantage of building on the water this way: ‘Today, when business and government gained experience, became wiser, you can try to do it right and nicely. Construction on the water is carried out all over the world and has a number of objective advantages:

1. Construction cost is 3.5 times cheaper than on ground, because:
2. Construction on the water does not require the lease of land.
3. The cost of lease of water significantly lower the cost of renting the land for construction in the city’.

Source (in Russian).

Ofcource, such consumerist attitude towards city space, when profit is put at the forefront, one could hardly expect projects aimed at effectively improving the situation in the city. However, the submitted projects we pretty interesting.

The contest held in 2014, differs from the previous one, first of all, by changing the priority of a ‘development’ of water space, towards the development and re-orientation of the space along the river. This fits perfectly the current trend for organizing city public spaces — which is pretty logical after creation of the several pedestrian spaces in Moscow, and to turn the space along the Moscow River to the human.

The river in the city is the most important object. By and large, it is the force that creates the city breathes life into it. Not only as a transport artery. It is a strong ecosystem, which has a huge impact on the city. In addition, the Moscow River can not be taken away from her pool, from many other rivers and streams.

There are more than 140 rivers and streams on the territory of Moscow. The largest of them are Yauza river (48 km), Skhodnya (47 km) and Setun (38 km), which begin in the Moscow region and are tributaries of the Moscow river.

Approaching the river just as an extension of the land area at a lower price is incredibly primitive and destructive idea for the environment. It is obvious that work with the river requires a very careful and comprehensive approach.
A river in the Russian city is the main element of the city. Ancient cities, gradually growing out of small settlements without without a clear master plan, grew under the influence of the place, where the river is the most important forming part.

Historically close, native for the Russian man landscape: fields, forests, rivers, formed the humane scale of an ancient city. All this creates a favorable environment for human. Of course, the river has lost much of its original function; the scale of the city has changed, except for the extant historical part. But the people’s need for live interaction with the river and the landscape has not disappeared.

The river as a place of recreation, is practically uninvolved in the center of Moscow: city there, mostly hostile to man.
Some embankments with strong car traffic do not have pedestrian walkways. And were it exists — it is usually pretty narrow. Thus, Moscow river has practically been etached from the city and lost its social function. In this regard, and regarding current trends in urban development the proposed competition is surely needed.

Highline by Diller Scofidio+Renfro.

Attempts to connect the natural environment, its introduction into the city are very relevant now. In particular, there is a remarkable reconstruction of the old railway line by Diller Scofidio and Renfro — with field grass, trees — an awesome effect of occurrence of an island of nature into the city. Like torn out of rigid reality of the city, while organically existing in the city.

There are several interesting solutions of river banks design: in Paris — by APUR and J.C. Choblet, in Lyone — by IN SITU Architectes Paysagistes, in Toronto — by West 8 and DTAH, in Quebec — by Consortium Daoust Lestage, Williams Asselin Ackaoui and Option aménagement, a contest project by OKRA landscape architects for Brateevo, etc.

The existing situation with recreations in the city can’t be considered normal — as there is lack of recreations and parks in the center of the city. And especially in the situation of the growing population of the city, natural and necessary reaction to the renovation of the space adjacent to the river, taking into account all factors, in particular, to solve the transport problem in the context of river.
It is clear that dealing with such challenges requires a comprehensive approach.

Rhone quay reconstruction, In Situ Architectes Paysagistes.