Competition project of the Master Plan of the territory of the factory "Serp i Molot" developed by a consortium of MVRDV + AM.PROEKTUS + Lap Landscape & Urban Design. By the international jury headed by the chief architect of Moscow, the project was named the best and took the 1st place.

A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD The former Serp & Molot factory in Moscow was the setting for the Russian revolution. And now it is starting to disappear after a long history, overgrown by plants. It thus can now give space for a new urban neighborhood in the very center of Moscow, close to the third ring and less then 4 kilometer from Kremlin. What kind of new neighborhood would serve the development of Moscow? What character would enlarge the attractivity?

SPECIAL Such a target can only be raised when acknowledging its specialness. The more attractive the place becomes when it doesn’t exist elsewhere. Both outside as inside Moscow. Not similar in the world so that it attracts outsiders to come. And special within Moscow, so that it attracts Muscovites.

WRITING HISTORY Even though not everybody share or favor the same memories on the site, its history remains highly remarkable, that is unique in a global context. The impressiveness of the former steel industry. The remarkable size and its position in the very heart of a major city. And it was the setting for those incredible moments in Russian history role. What to do with this? Why would be we completely erase this? How can we maybe combine that with the demands of new life? Maybe we can build on top of it as were this the next layer of history, thus ‚writing history’....

THE PHASED BLOCKS/HALLS By using the existing composition of halls and building, piece by piece, a step by step method can be imagined, that allows to adapt to the upcoming times over time. Every hall or former hall can thus be used to make a new neighborhood. By following the position of the existing and or former walls, on every plot a ring of buildings can be realized that create facades for the streets. Here all programs are accessible. It thus gives meaning to the streets. It thus makes addresses and generates life. And at the same moment it leaves space for a collective garden in the middle.

THE SPECIFIC PATTERN This method makes the specific pattern of the former factory more manifest. It leads to a remarkable city pattern wih streets that would have been otherwise never been imagined. It leads to a pattern of streets full of surprises. It avoids the obvious approaches of making grand lanes, or obvious grids. Its intricacy leads to a pattern where wants to walk around.

THE FORMER ELEMENTS The former parts of the buildings can be incorporated in the new ones. The former walls are incorporated in the facade of the new buildings. The former steel columns and trusses in the halls can be used to make a distinct character in the courtyard. It can give a structure that can be overgrown by plants. Or it can be reused as collective hall for leisure and commerical activities.

THE FINE GRAIN By using every lift core and stairwell as a spine for a new vertical apartment or office building, sincere ‚houses’ can be made that give identity and character for the inhabitants, and that aim to create a social coherence between them. The differences in size, height, depth, architecture typology and programming enlarge the possible diversity. Thus aspiring for a mixed society. It creates a fine small scale ‚grain’. The entrances can be highlightened and can thus be used to create halls, small steps that enlarge the social usage of the streets as well as the social safety.

THE S(L)IM FOREST By planting trees like birches and acacias, wherever possible on the streets and courtyards, a new forest like park arrives in the city. It strengthens the idea of the memories of the past. And it uses the current qualities, turning the area into a green Eldorado within the city

THE RING PARK The existing and former transport ring can be repaired and used as a characterful element for communication and transport in the quarter. By constructing a wooden deck on top it causes a sheltered environment on ground floor, to house markets, pavilions. Trees can grow in-between to turn it into a ‚park track’. On top of the deck a sky walk can be made in between the tops of the trees, where the neighborhood can be overseen, explained and understood. Stairs, lifts and ramps connect the deck with the ground level. New adresses can be created from there into the buildings, thus forming a three-dimensional spine.

THE TRAM LOOP The tramway can be positioned underneath the Ring Line, enlarging the attraction of this cicular park. By splitting the tramline in two directions, a single line loop can be made that can that gives more close proximities and connections with all program. And its single tracks enlarge the safety and easiness of crossing it. It thus forms a loop that can be used independently in between the long line usages. And it gives a greater flexibility for the tramway system.

THE ACCESS ROADS The access roads have been kept relatively small, avoiding the enormous width’s of other Moscow roads that are dominated by automobile traffic. This act enlarges the specialness of the site and it stresses the desired dominance for pedestrians and bikes. The streets are defined as shared traffic spaces, so that a mixed and human friendly environment can be created.

THE DIFFERENTIATED BLOCKS The diversity and differentiation of the sizes and forms of the blocks creates immediately different heights of the wall buildings , when applying simple but equal light rules. The bigger the courtyard the higher the blocks. This makes the intricacy and diversification even higher. This doesn‘t mean that the density should be equally applied. At more important traffic zones, a higher density can be allowed in order to make use of their positions. Also this diversifies the area even more.

THE BASSINS The former bassins are beautiful but incredibly polluted. They any way have to be cleaned in order to built the quarters adjacently. Maybe this cleaning act can be even more celabrated, by turning them into the new spa’s of the neighborhood.

THE EAST AND WEST PARK In the middle of the first phase at the east side aswell as the middle of the second phase the west side, one of the former halls are kept ‚empty’ to house a collective park. These parks strengthen the green chracter of the new neighborhood.

S(L)IM CITY These series of measurements are made in such a way that this can be easily explained to everybody. So that it can allow for an easy communication. That allows for equal understanding. It makes a faster realization possible. A recognizable and unique S(l)im city appears


project info:

project type:
Mixed-Use, residential, housing block, masterplan, urban design
services provided:
architecture, general layout, landscape design, urban planning
project status:
design competition