Городские Вариации, redefinition of the former KRISTALL factory in Moscow by Arenas Basabe Palacios + NOWADAYS Office

Competition for the production of a new public space in the former KRISTALL factory in Moscow, Russia. May 2015

In association with the local studio NOWADAYS office

[Article written by Arenas Basabe Palacios (@arenasbasabepal) and published on More Than Green]

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Courtesy of Arenas Basabe Palacios

The competition was looking for ideas to give a new personality to the open space in the old Kristall factory, in Moscow, to convert it into a new mixed-use neighborhood. The site is divided into three separate areas of performance. Our proposal offered a united response to the three areas so the jury decided to reward us with the development of the whole complex.

We propose three tools are conceived to give a multiple answer to those processes, respectful of their open-end-character, from its very first construction actions and connecting with its past: The design of flexible URBAN HARDWARE, the production/introduction of a collection of URBAN POST-ITS, and the creation of an URBAN SOFTWARE made out of social and cultural management structures.

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Courtesy of Arenas Basabe Palacios

With a project that minimizes large-scale intervention and the management we intend to a democratic production of public space, with which not only developers and authorities, but also small associations and residents can decide on their public space, encouraging participation citizen.

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Courtesy of Arenas Basabe Palacios

In order to achieve an extraordinary adaptability, the main weight in the new proposed public space is set on a row of recycled urban programmers. Initially, they are produced out of existing obsolete industrial elements, and will be upgraded through workshops into lighting, greening or functional elements. Later on they can also be designed and serialized by professional workforce. This growing collection of urban “post-it” can be easily moved and removed, interchanged and transformed, shaping the Kristall area into a completely adaptable urban environment.

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Courtesy of Arenas Basabe Palacios

The urban post-its strategy is completely focused on the continuity of the area’s highly valuable industrial identity, which should not be replaced, but upgraded into a contemporary urban environment.

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Courtesy of Arenas Basabe Palacios

The reusing and recycling of obsolete industrial elements together with the incorporation of new tools for the design of public space, such as the mobile phone applications or the visualization of the construction process, contribute to the creation of a new urban centrality in the urban environment of Moscow.

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Courtesy of Arenas Basabe Palacios