We start to accept applications for the participation in the Summer Visiting School ‘In-transition lab: Structure as an Urban Catalyst’. It is a joint project of Shukhov Lab, which is a research unit and educational space of HSE Graduate School of Urbanism, and London Architectural Association School of Architecture, the oldest experimental school in the UK which organises visiting educational workshops around the world each year. The course is aimed at current architecture, urban and media design students and young architects. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the participants will work together with the team of tutors from AA and HSE Graduate School of Urbanism using the digital equipment of Shukhov Lab. In the course of the training, the students will get acquainted with different methods of experimental urban analysis, design and prototyping, the basics of speculative design, urban storytelling, motion design, and video mapping, and by the end of the workshop, they will design an interactive structure capable of contributing to the regeneration of Shabolovka. 

1. General Information

Name: In-transition lab: Structure as an Urban Catalyst
City, country: Moscow, Russia
Date: 17 – 28 July 2017
Venue: Shukhov Lab, Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism

2. Workshop Mission

Moscow has gone to great lengths to find its new identity and it is hard to underestimate its recent urban transformations. Contrary to the 1990s, when the government focused mainly on the building construction, these days the city focused its attention to the voids between the buildings. The large reconstruction of Moscow streets and squares, updated transport infrastructure, appearance of new public space typologies – the interdisciplinary projects are currently under the process of realization, guided by the international architects, urban planners and professionals of the neighboring fields. Citizens can trace the spatial shifts of the city – some activity points start to fade out, while new nodes of urbanity start to appear and the city tends to gravitate towards them.

In recent decades, this today is the hottest time for urban transformations at a city scale. While AA Visiting school Moscow is an experimental research platform set up to explore the actual city problems and potentials of the urban areas through the prism of speculative projects of different scales.

In 2016 AAVS Moscow was exploring and testing possible scenarios of an area development at an urban scale. The upcoming AAVS Moscow 2017 will zoom in to an architectural scale of a specific structure that could become an engine for the neighbourhood transformation from within. A team of professionals from the AA and Moscow Higher school of Urbanism will collaborate with the workshop participants in order to design and test a pavilion-like structure engaging various methods of design – from hand sketching and physical modeling to the most innovative computational instruments and prototyping – and to analyse how it can impact urban development of Shabolovka. Team-based work will be complemented by private tutorials and lectures from the invited professionals.

Being in constant search for the brand-new methods of architectural and urban analysis and design, the team starts getting acquainted with the area on an urban scale. Through the speculative architectural and urban projects and different interactive ways of project representation, the participants explore the potentials of the area and offer scenarios of its development. The second workshop will zoom in to an architectural scale where the participants will create a project of an architectural or art structure for the selected area that could become an engine for the neighbourhood transformation from within. The third workshop of the series will zoom in to a material scale. Thus, on the basis of the results of a series of workshops held annually over three years, the team will get a complete breakdown of data on the area that will contribute to better and clear understanding of relationship between the macro- and micro-levels of the urban environment; moreover, this process will be accompanied by the specific proposals how to improve the district.

3. Location and agenda

Over the recent decades, Moscow has been actively looking for its new identity gradually turning from ‘a city for cars’ into ‘a city for people’ where new features of the urban environment take the crucial part. The most the capital’s new iconic projects, such as Moscow River-2035 International Competition, Zaryadye Park, reconstruction of the streets and industrial zones, are connected to the transformation of the already existing or utilised space in one way or another. The area of Shabolovka was chosen for testing the multi-scale approach as an example of the urban environment in a transitional state that has many advantages but does not use them to the full extent. This district is located close to the centre, it has good transport accessibility and is quite landscaped. There are different types of buildings and functions in the area.

Moreover, Shabolovka is a historically significant place, actually, it is the most constructivist district of Moscow. In the second half of the 1920s, 26 industrial townships equipped with their own infrastructure: nurseries, factory-kitchens, clubs, and schools, were built in Moscow. Development was especially massive in the south of the city – in the area of Mytnaya and Shabolovka streets. Long before the revolution of 1917, there were the factories of Bromley Brothers, Brocard, and Mikhelson in that area which turned into the large production plants and demanded new labour force. In addition, since 1918, a new axis of Soviet Moscow had been built in Shabolovka – it was the radio tower built according to the project of engineer Vladimir Shukhov. And ever new and new experimental buildings continued to emerge around that tower: the first house-commune in the capital, a constructivist ‘giant’ school, dormitory-commune of the Textile Institute, the first crematorium and others.

Despite all the advantages, you can often see the waste lots, fenced plots, non-functioning plants, and destroyed buildings there. The heritage-listed buildings of Shabolovka are currently unnoted in the cultural life of the city and the Shukhov Tower, which is one of the main examples of engineering of the constructivist period, is not functioning and gradually goes to ruin.

Alexandra Chechetkina, the Programme Head of AA Visiting School Moscow, believes that Shabolovka is one of the most interesting districts of Moscow to be studied through the prism of different scales.
In 2016, the workshop participants explored and tested possible scenarios of Shabolovka’s development at an urban scale. The upcoming AAVS Moscow 2017 will continue those studies but will focus on an architectural scale. The main goal of this workshop is to come up with an architectural product that could become an engine for the neighbourhood transformation from within. A team of tutors will collaborate with the workshop participants in order to design and test a pavilion-like interactive information structure engaging various methods of design – from hand sketching and physical modelling to the most innovative computational instruments.

4. Prominent Features of the Workshop

In the course of the workshop, the students working in groups under the guidance of the tutors will work on the joint project – an interactive information pavilion – while performing fundamentally different tasks. Together with architects Leonid Slonimsky and Alexandra Chechetkina, they will focus on the architectural appearance of the pavilion and will develop a detailed project including every component and assembly and, together with the experts from Shukhov Lab, they will create 3D prototypes with the use of the modern equipment provided by Shukhov Lab. At the same time, the students will think over the interactive content of the pavilion under the supervision of urbanist Ivo Barros. Basing on the urban storytelling, they will develop Shabolovka’s development scenarios in a form of video mapping projected onto the physical layout of the area. Rodion Eremeev, a specialist from Shukhov Lab and Graduate School of Urbanism, will help the participants to develop the strategies for implementing such project in the competitive environment of the metropolis, and Ivan Mitrofanov, an engineer from Shukhov Lab, will teach them the basics of digital production. The main expert of the workshop will be Lawrence Barth, a professor and resident tutor of London Architectural Association. He will share his vision how architecture can contribute to the regeneration of the entire regions.

Studio and site work will be complemented by open lectures of tutors and invited experts, seminars on the latest digital software (Rhinoceros + Grasshopper, Adobe Creative Suite) and use of the professional equipment provided by Shukhov Lab (3D printers, laser cutters, etc.), as well as application of the acquired skills in practice.

At the end of the workshop, an open presentation and follow-up discussion of the projects with the invited experts will be carried out. The results of the intensive collaboration of the participants and the team of the tutors will be presented at the final exhibition that will take place at Na Shabolovke Gallery in August 2017. Each workshop participant will be able to try his hand as a curator of the exhibition. The exposition will feature all the findings and projects of the Summer Visiting School including the prototype of the information pavilion which will demonstrate the potential of Shabolovka area. It is also planned to publish the sketchbook with the projects of the participants.

5. Applications

1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School Moscow page on the Architectural Association web-site.

6. Fees

The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee that provides access to all online and offline resources of the Association, access to special events and much more.

A discounted fee of £460 per participant is available for first three applicants and two returning students from the AAVS Moscow 2016 (including a £60 Visiting membership fee).

7. Eligibility
The course is aimed at current architecture, urban and media design students, as well as young professionals. Basic software requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later), Autodesk Autocad

8. Programme Head
Alexandra Chechetkina is a project leader and a researcher in Strelka KB (Moscow) and a resident Architectural Association Visiting School tutor. Graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute and obtained Master of Architecture degree at the AA School of Architecture in London. Completed short courses in architecture at the Institute of Advanced Architecture in Catalonia, Central St.Martins University in London and Strelka Institute in Moscow. Worked as an architect in Meganom (Moscow), as an urban designer in TSPA (Berlin), as a lead architect in Strelka Architects (Moscow) and currently is a project leader and researcher in Strelka KB (Moscow). She is also a resident Architectural Association Visiting School tutor.

9. Workshop Tutors

Ivo Barros, an architect and urban designer in Arup UK

Has an educational background from three different schools – the School of Porto in Portugal, the Bergen Architect School of Norway and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (UK). As an Architect and Urban Designer, Ivo has worked on a wide range of projects such as the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and its legacy, mixed use masterplans in the UK, Middle East and Asia. Currently, he works for the globally known engineering, consulting, and urban development company Arup UK.

Leonid Slonimsky, an architect, the founder of Kosmos Architects, a professor at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok

Studied in Moscow Architectural Institute (MAarch) and Columbia University GSAPP (USA). He worked as an architect in Asse Architects (Moscow), OMA*AMO (New York), and Herzog & de Meuron (Basel, Switzerland). He is also a co-founder of KOSMOS Architects. He is an Adjunct Professor at International Program in Architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok (Thailand).

Rodion Eremeev, an architect and a project manager at the HSE Graduate School of Urbanism.

Studied in Moscow Architectural Institute (MAarch), Institute of Advanced Architecture in Catalonia, and Strelka Institute in Moscow. He worked in the areas of algorithmic design, digital production, and robotics. Among other things, Rodion is interested in the reasonable application of technologies in the cities and development of urban entrepreneurship.

Ivan Mitrofanov, an engineer in the Shukhov Lab (HSE Graduate School of Urbanism), a professor of ‘Prototyping of Future Cities: City and Technology’ Master Programme at the HSE Graduate School of Urbanism, a graduate of Fab Academy Barcelona.

10. Workshop Experts:

  • Lawrence Barth, an internationally renowned urbanist, a professor and lecturer at the London Architectural Association School.
  • Alexandra Selivanova, an art critic, the candidate of architecture and the director of the Avantgarde Center.
  • Yaroslav Kovalchuk, an urbanist and architect, a lecturer at MARCH Architectural School, the leading project architect in Artplay
  • Maria Fadeeva, an architectural critic, a lecturer at MARCH Architectural School and a specialist of the Avantgarde Center.
  • Lucy Malkis, the founder and creative director of ARCHiPEOPLE Community for architects and designers.
  • Ivan Kuryachy, the managing director of Novaya Zemlya, expert and co-author of the Russian Living Cities Charter.
  • Monika Konrad, an architect, urbanist and project director in Strelka KB.

11. Opinions of Experts:

Alexandra Selivanova

Alexandra explains why the Center is interested in the project and the area in general: “The initiative of Shabolovka’s transformation originated in 2014 in connection with the planned transfer of the Shukhov Tower. And the social movement for the preservation of this unique monument appeared. The main goal of all that we did then was to show the importance and integrity of the whole district which was built-up in the 1920s, its connection with the Tower and of the Tower with the environment. That’s how we came up with an idea of creating a cultural cluster in Shabolovka.
So, when we were looking for a new location of the Avantgarde Center, we chose Shabolovka and the local Education of Labourers Library, which is almost 90 years old, at once. We are currently taking the first steps towards the development of Shabolovka area. This year, the Avantgarde Center has won the ‘Cities of the Future’ grant from Garant Foundation which we hope will put a spin on the formation of Shabolovka as a cultural cluster.
Therefore, we are very interested in continuing cooperation with the AA Summer School. Last year, the students developed the projects that were based on in-depth exploration of the urban and social features of the area. We found the ideas to be fresh and some of them could become the basis for the area development project. However, the time for the development of a comprehensive concept was rather limited, therefore, many proposals needed to be further updated. This year, we especially look forward to the results of the work of the new students because we are sure that their projects will complement the previous findings and the announced small scale will be more feasible for us”.

Ivan Kuryachy

“I liked the results of the last year workshop: good ideas and very detailed presentations. Moreover, one could see how the tutors had influenced the students, they used new analytical tools and planning approaches. To my mind, it is excellent that the tutors were selected among the practising planners from the good companies and that the local experts from the Avantgarde Center were attracted as well.
I would like particularly draw attention to the idea of creating a new pedestrian connection parallel to Bulvarnoye Ring; if I am not mistaken, it is based on the proposals of the General Plan of Moscow of 1971. In addition, good solutions were proposed for the alternative city centres at Shabolovka local scale and the system of new pedestrian routes between the streets of Tulskaya and Shabolovskaya that connect the main points of activity (including the Shukhov Tower).
The local professional community is usually engaged in long-term and often non-public orders, therefore, the open events with the international participation such as this workshop allow you to initiate a public discussion dedicated to the development of the objects and territories important for the city. Let alone that the official organisations hold such events with us rather seldom unlike New London Architecture in London or local office of the American Institute of Architects in New York”.

Maria Fadeeva

“We are glad that the organisers of the Architectural Association got interested in Shabolovka area. The projects developed by the students allowed looking at it in a new perspective and provided stuff for further contemplation. The fact that the students were so sensitive to the city and its texture resulted in so many important issues that were pronounced in the projects; sometimes they were not even noticed by the authors themselves but, nevertheless, they remained significant and that is the most valuable thing for us. The specific proposals seem to be very interesting and define new perspectives for the strategic vision of Shabolovka’s development; the most of the students managed to find a balance between the feasibility and the long-term planning horizon, between the idea of manifestation of the historicity of the area and its openness to the changes. It is obvious that it is worth showing some of the projects to the urban planners if the authorities get interested in the overall transformation of this area of the capital. In this context, two projects can win – the quarter with the Shukhov Tower and the diagonal boulevard leading to the Danilovsky market. The project of turning Volfenson’s commune house into a museum and its institutionalization seems to be probably less ambitious but equally important”.

  • Title

    Call for Applications: AA Visiting School Moscow
  • Type

    Call for Submissions
  • Organizers

    AA Moscow Visiting School
  • Submission Deadline

    14/07/2017 23:59
  • Venue

    Shukhov Lab, Moscow, Russia
  • Price

    £695 per participant, Early Bird discounted fee of £460
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