Sergei Georgievskii: “We are witnessing an evolution in how transport infrastructure is conceptualized”

The Head of the Organizing Committee of the International Competition for developing an architectural design for the Prospekt Marshala Zhukova and Klenoviy Bulvar 2 Moscow Metro Stations explains why renowned architects are deciding to contribute to the Metro’s future more and more often, and shares the trends that the metro in the Russian capital is setting today.

Photo credit: Agency for strategic development CENTER

Considering that this is already the fifth competition for designing Moscow Metro stations, its prestige has grown manifold over the past few years. It has managed to establish a robust reputation in the eyes of the Russian and global architectural community alike, thanks to its regular schedule and perfectly transparent administrative procedures. With each passing year, the competition rises to a whole new level. There are several contributing factors.


Trust.

The great respect towards the competition is born not just out of its procedural quality, but also out of the confidence that the winning project will, in fact, see the light of day. The teams joining the competition today can already see the success stories of their predecessors whose station designs won in the previous competitions. The winners are always actively involved in the further execution of competition projects and continue collaborating with the event’s initiators, Mosinzhproekt and the Moscow Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning.


Outreach Expansion. 

It goes without saying that, as the competition builds its reputation, it also expands its outreach. It has now become more appealing to world-class companies, which needed some time to assess the competition procedure and form their opinions. This is reaffirmed by the record number of submissions this year: 78 applications from 12 countries. That is 50% more than for a similar competition in 2018. And on top of it all, when the competition was just being conceived, no-one could ever have predicted that an illustrious company like Zaha Hadid Architects would take part in designing the Moscow Metro. But it did happen, and the city’s (and the mayor’s specifically) close involvement in the competition had a part to play.


Rediscovering the Potential of Domestic Materials and Technology. 

Another interesting factor is that, as the years go by, we are seeing the development of industries that process the various types of materials that the contestants use in their designs. This includes finishing materials. The use of exclusively Russian-made finishes became a mandatory requirement for the competition in 2018. This is truly fascinating: what we are observing is a completely new approach to the innate potential of the finishing materials. This is happening, among other reasons, because the most outstanding architecture bureaus are demonstrating the capabilities of Russian materials and technologies and their application in the construction of fairly complex facilities. This gives the industry an extra development boost, in addition to strengthening the ties between architects and manufacturers. This allows for sustainable partnerships and closer collaboration in the future. Ultimately, the competitions of the past few years have contributed greatly to the domestic Russian market overall, with vital economic impact.


A More Diverse Judging Panel. 

Another recent tradition is to always invite one of the winners of the previous metro design competitions to sit on the judging panel. This creates a certain sense of continuity and, most importantly, gives us an inside perspective on the competition. When looking over the contestants’ designs, the judges can refer to the experience of experts who were contestants themselves—and who won—meaning that they know the secret of their own success and can assess the submissions from a slightly new angle.


Better Recognition.

Most importantly, over the several years of its history, the competition has become known not just to those who are involved in it in some way, but also to the general public. Competition coverage is not limited to “talking shop” within a narrow professional niche; it is also aimed at explaining to anyone who is interested what is happening and what the architects mean to say through their designs. This encourages people to trust the competition and perceive it in a positive way.


To summarize: 

with every new competition, the project is becoming more and more publicly visible, gaining a more and more solid reputation, and showcasing more and more innovative and original solutions. As a result, we are witnessing a true evolution in how transport infrastructure is conceptualized. There have been a lot of unexpected interpretations and memorable ideas, which are definitely doing much to develop the field. Clearly, competitions like these are doing much to ensure that, despite the rapid development of its entire network, the Moscow Metro still remains one of the most beautiful metro systems in the world: a metro that is constantly experimenting with architectural designs and forms, and keeping up with the times. Bearing in mind the insights gained during the last competitions, we can say with utmost confidence that the Moscow Metro is aspiring to set current and future trends by displaying truly unique architectural solutions.



Article is prepared by : Veronica Shevchenko

Photo credit: Agency for strategic development CENTER

Photo credit: Agency for strategic development CENTER

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