Moscow is a very eclectic city: buildings disparate in style were created over many centuries. Here, centuries-old buildings coexist with Soviet constructivist structures, Stalin’s skyscrapers and high-rise towers of business centers. There is a natural contrast between the winding Moscow streets and alleys with the hectic modern life of the great arteries and districts of the Moscow of today and tomorrow. It only comes to emphasize the dynamics of the architectural image of the city, which Moscow has always been famous for.
Characteristics of the city
The structure of Moscow allows for the creation of a number of new public and cultural centers in the city, a balanced development of each district, the creation of an effective transportation framework, the construction of high-quality and affordable housing, and the provision of social services. Basically, today we are addressing the problems that are typical for any big city. However, one should keep in mind that it is the combination of the existing architecture with the modern ensembles to be built that are going to instill the feeling of continuity without which a city falls apart into separate buildings.
Preserving architectural heritage
It is essential for the city to have a platform for a constructive dialogue between the authorities and the expert community, discuss initiatives for the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of Moscow at a professional level and develop a balanced position on them. Therefore, Moscow has two councils: the first with the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow, whose goal is to preserve monuments for future generations, the second is the Architectural Council of Moscow. It includes prominent figures and experts in the field of architecture and civil engineering and deals with the most significant architectural structures and solutions connected to historical buildings, squares, and roads of citywide importance. The focus of the council is a transparent public coverage of key town-planning initiatives: this is a major position. We’ve been fighting against decentralized city development, we’ve lost monuments to new construction and reconstruction. Drastic constructive changes have been made. The situation was very difficult: a lot of investment projects put the historical image of Moscow in jeopardy. Today much more attention is paid to the protection of historical and cultural monuments. I have witnessed significant changes in this regard. For example, a large number of newly discovered monuments have recently acquired the status of objects of cultural heritage.
Symbolic places and the story behind them
Throughout its 900-year history, Moscow has acquired many monuments from each period. Naturally, each of the surviving monuments has a history behind it. Many of Moscow’s monuments became symbols of Russia. The Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Moscow metro, Stalin’s skyscrapers, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Ostankino and Shukhov towers are known all over the world and accurately reflect the specific period of history of our country. However, each of these, undoubtedly, iconic structures has its own characteristics. For example, the St. Basil’s Cathedral consists of 10 different churches, which were gradually added to the complex.
Today’s Moscow is also trying to leave its mark. Perhaps the most important achievement for us has been the opening of Zaryadye Park. An open public space filled with contemporary architecture and vibes is, certainly, a new page in our history. The result of hard work by some of the best professionals in the world, the park has already changed the attitude of Muscovites to the center of their city, and tourists have seen a completely new look at the historical center.
Another important site is the reconstructed sports complex “Luzhniki”, which hosted the main games of the last football World Cup. The complex provided the highest level of service and we have received a lot of positive feedback from fans and experts alike.
Architectural material which shapes the city
In my opinion, it is the people that shape the cities of today. Their needs, abilities, goals, and desires literally generate the urban space. Moscow, from its side, virtually turned its face to people: we began to develop more public spaces and upgrade the standards of civil engineering. We began to build highquality structures that do not only provide residential floor areas but also boost the quality of the urban environment in general. We watch it to the smallest detail: the historical center adopted strict regulations for the design of shop windows and signboards. Thus, the buildings, many of which have cultural and historical value, can be finally seen through the facade of advertising boards that completely covered them before. Walking and living in such a city is much more comfortable. Yes, we began to use steel, concrete, and glass instead of brick and wood, but the essence of the city lies in other things.
Urban regeneration and foresights
This reorientation towards people is impossible without large projects. If we are talking about a comfortable urban environment, can we allow depressing areas like khrushchevkas to exist? No, we can not. Hence the renovation program, the most ambitious urban development project of our modern history. No big city in the world has been renewed so globally. New houses, renovated areas, cultural centers, social and transport infrastructure. The renovation will benefit the city as a whole.
Another question: may a comfortable city have a slow and uncomfortable transportation? That’s right, it may not. Hence, the opening of the Moscow central ring, which unloaded the underground system and became another transport artery. Moreover, Moscow is now building the metro at an unprecedented pace, several dozen stations a year.
May a city with a focus on people be filled with abandoned industrial areas that are not being used? No. Therefore, Moscow is actively revamping these areas filling them with high-quality structures, creating new public spaces, jobs, and housing.