Five projects submitted by architects from around the world won the standard housing competition organized by Strelka KB.
The winners of the Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing in Russia, organized by Strelka KB, have been announced. Five proposals received first-place mentions.
Each submission took the competition’s guidelines into account, including the need for an adaptable and flexible layout, ergonomic efficiency, and functional diversity in standard housing units. The goal of the competition was to test Russia’s newly proposed Integrated Guidelines for Urban Development when it comes to the comfortability of standardized housing complexes.
“The participants were challenged to face a paradigm shift in urban territory development and residential construction in the Russian context,” Strelka KB wrote in a press release.
Every winning project looked at the competition through a different lens, with some focusing on the social aspect of mass housing in Russia. For AtArchitecture, the India-based firm which won for Outstanding Architecture of Facades and Interior Decisions, the goal was to focus on the needs of people.
“The social value of the project excited us the most and also its challenges to satisfy hybrid requirements of all the age groups and various income groups composed together...housing is also important, as it can influence one’s well being,” the firm said.
AtArchitecture’s goal was to “enhance community living by encouraging interaction between residents across facades.” Those facades consist of overhanging balconies and niches. It also aimed to connect residents with nature – the ground and sky – through proportionately curved sunrooms. “In two-floor apartments, a double-height vertical balcony provides plenty of natural light and a wide view of the street and courtyard.”
AKVS Architecture, the Serbia-based firm that won for Special Flexibility and Variability of Layouts, approached the project determined that every apartment – no matter how small – has the potential to offer a “rich variety of atmospheres for its users.”
The solution to making sure those atmospheres were delivered was to create a space that residents could interpret individually. This meant introducing a transformable glazed loggia within each unit.
“It faces two or more different rooms, and can be used as a temporary extension of these, or as a separate space when needed. Every loggia forms a whole with the airy and spacious kitchen, and becomes the focal point of the entire apartment.” Since each loggia has various uses, every apartment building becomes host to a “dynamic system of hundreds of constantly changing domestic atmospheres.”
AtArchitecture and AKVS, along with the other first-place mentions – SideReal (Spain), STVX + Maria Eizayaga + Emilio Lopez (Mexico), and the Center for Spatial Technologies + Leverage Strategy (Germany) – were chosen from 20 finalists which were hand-picked by a jury in September. Each finalist received a grant of around $15,000 at the time. The total prize fund was over $700,000, with the five winners receiving additional award money.
The first-place mentions were named from a total of 689 submitted projects from architecture firms based in 37 countries. They were chosen after the jury used an innovative sustainable augmented reality app which allowed each member of the panel to judge participants’ 3D models in an environmentally friendly way, as no resources were wasted on producing and transporting physical models to Russia.
The proposed Integrated Guidelines for Urban Development, which the competition aimed to test, is of particular relevance within Russia, where housing regulations are outdated by 20-25 years on average and new developments are effectively governed by Soviet-era regulations.
The CEO of Strelka KB, Denis Leontiev, described this competition and others organized by the firm as a “crash test for the functional models that we ourselves create for a territory or a housing complex.”
“Strelka KB is a platform for high-profile competitions in Russia, used by emerging Russian architects and more than 5,000 bureaus around the world. Any big challenges that clients come to us with, whether they are the creation of from nanotech laboratories and high-tech buildings to public spaces, housing and sports facilities — we conduct competitions to suit their needs.”
The Integrated Guidelines for Urban Development were developed by Strelka KB under the initiative and in partnership with the Russian Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector and DOM.RF, an integrated housing development institution.
The international jury of the Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing in Russia consisted of established professionals in the field of architecture. Among the panel members were the co-founder of MVRDV, Natalie De Vries, and architect and professor Alessandro Bosshard, the winner of the Golden Lion at the 2018 Venice Biennale.