MSP was appointed by Strelka KB to redesign the Streetscape of an area of central Moscow. The site covers 6.6 hectares of streets from Lubyanka Square in the east, spreading west and north-west, enveloping the famous Central Children’s Store and the Savoy Hotel. These streets at present are not pedestrian friendly, dark and dreary, with a dense subterranean network of services and utilities negating the relief afforded by urban planting. In a city of over 12 million people, vehicular traffic has inevitably come to dominate the area.
As the capital of the largest country on the planet, the client understood it was important for the city to transform itself. From this conviction the competition brief evolved to transform Moscow into a city in which it is comfortable to walk, where children are encouraged to play and interact in the environment. The Streetscape should be designed in a way to accommodate multiple uses, introducing planting and shared surfaces, expanding the possibilities available and calming vehicular movement, elevating the pedestrian in a safe and enjoyable way.
To this end MSP have designed a scheme which brings these elements together in a coherent, unified and legible manner. A strong and minimal palette of materials is used throughout. Granite paving in contrasting black and white for pavements and shared surfaces is paired with robust concrete planters, blackened timber furniture elements and sturdy granite bollards. Simple, elegant street lighting is supplemented with accent lighting in street furniture. The entire length of Pushechnaya Street and Rozhdestvenka Street are transformed into shared surfaces where priority is given to the pedestrian. Planting is accommodated in large planters overcoming the problem of underground services. These have been designed to provide the optimal growing conditions, and mitigation measures for the harsh Russian winter. In the shared surface areas these planters become sculptural elements, surrounded by seating and concrete stepping blocks suitable for children’s play. Other furniture elements are scattered along these areas creating intimate programmes for rest or play.
MSP has endeavoured to create a flexible, safe and enjoyable environment, one that meets the needs of a 21st century city.