''Unprecedented, completely new urban environment''

A new 760ha residential eco-district will appear on the site of a former artillery base in Kazan’s Kirovsky District

''Unprecedented, completely new urban environment'' Photo: tatarstan.ru

A competition intended to select an optimal concept for a new eco-district within the city limits is taking place in Kazan. The jury has already chosen three finalists – multidisciplinary teams consisting both of local and international architectural companies. The winner will be announced in November.

Three international teams are now competing for a new 760ha sustainable urban expansion in Kazan, according to The Architects' Journal. Almost 50 participants from 19 different countries took part in the open contest organised by the Moscow-based Agency for Strategic Development CENTER and backed by the Republic of Tatarstan. The competition was aimed at seeking concepts and masterplans for a new residential development on the site of a former artillery base in Kirovsky District of Kazan.

The contest's jury was headed by President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. ''Our key resource is the 760ha of land located within 300m of the Volga River and 15 minutes from downtown Kazan,'' he said at the jury session on 22 August. ''We would very much like both the concept and the master plan to meet the challenges that we currently face. Which is why we came up with this international competition. I am certain that we made the right decision''. The president emphasised that it would be ''an unprecedented, completely new urban environment''.

Jury had to choose among almost 50 participants from 19 countries. Photo: tatarstan.ru

According to Airat Nurutdinov, an aide to the president and competition judge, the discussion was quite challenging, as the jury had to choose among ''a lot of really well-rounded projects by a lot of consortiums that had really done their homework''. He explained that jury members have looked at the entries from multiple angles. The project had to be cost-effective and fall within the general urban development concept that Kazan was following at the moment. Besides, the authorities were seeking to preserve the landscape and the core natural features as much as possible.

The contest's first finalist is John Thompson & Partners' team led by Knight Frank Russia in partnership with French-based XTU Architects and OXO Architects, Belgian Terra Scape and local Arkhitekturny Desant. The second team is headed up by Russia's architectural studio Asadov and partners and includes UK's Bioregional Consulting and LDA Design as well as several Russian partners. The third finalist team features Buromoscow working with NL Architects and OKRA from the Netherlands. The finalists will share a prize fund worth around £128,000, while the contest's overall winner will be announced on 7 November.

By Anna Litvina