THE KOSMODAMIANSKAYA EMBANKMENT
Year: 2019 — now
Location: Moscow, Kosmodamianskaya Embankment
Area: 10 ha
Status: Concept + Project Documentation
Kosmodamianskaya Embankment is situated in the very heart of Moscow on the Bolotniy Island.
Main tasks for our bureau was to unleash the potential of the territory with its rich historical context, improve the quality of the environment for users, develop pedestrian infrastructure. An integrated approach to improving (which in particular included profound analysis and interaction with the locals on public hearings) allowed us to develop a project of a quality modern space.
HISTORY OF THE PLACE
Situated in the very center of Moscow in front of the Moscow Kremlim, Bolotniy Island is bounded by Moskva River on all sides. The island’s embankments: Kosmodamianskaya, Sofiyskaya and Raushskaya, embed in pedestrian system of Moscow with the already restored embankments – from Patriarshiy to Bolshoy Ustinsky Bridge.
In 1935 three embankments (Kosmodamianskaya, Komissariatskaya and Krasnoholmskaya) were merged in one called after Maxim Gorky in honor of the outstanding Russian-Soviet writer.
Maxim Gorky Embankment
Three years later, after the Bolshoy Krasnoholmskiy Bridge construction, the water canal, which separated Krasniye Holmy from the Island, was exterminated. In 1994 the historical name was returned, Kosmodamianskaya turned out to be the oldest of the three.
On Bolotniy Island, rich in its historical context, there are quite a few historical monuments and visual dominants: Krigskomissariat, MGUDT. Residential house of Elektrodniy Factory on Kosmodamianskaya 4/22 is a cultural heritage site – the public garden adjacent to this building is the best viewpoint to observe Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building on the opposite bank of the Moskva River.
Design planning for Kosmodamianskaya Embankment was being developed in close contact with the locals. During the development, participatory methods were used, which made it possible to learn more about the wishes of the residents — who use the embankment most frequently. On pre-design analysis stage the survey of the residents helped reveal advantages and disadvantages of the embankment in its current state. The most common request at the public discussions was to bring back the once prosperous green landscaping of the embankment – for this reason additional 300 trees will be planted.
Conclusions from project workshops within participatory design method
Existing green zones and floral arrangements
Historical part of the city
Calm and tranquil atmosphere in the center of Moscow
Wide sidewalks along the embankment
Lack of green planting
Insufficient amount of benches and litter-bins along the promenade
Poor state of pedestrian pavement
Blocked transit at Komissariatskiy Lane
Absence of cycling area
Lack of crosswalks
Unequipped recreational zones for locals
According to the residents, the biggest problem of the territory was lack of communication between the embankment and the adjacent territories: crossing the driveway to the embankment for a walk was hardly possible.
In a number of territories adjacent to residential houses, the resident expressed their desire for an increased amount of benches and rubbish bins. Locals have also expressed their discontent from lack of comfortable recreational zones. A particular mention once again concerned insufficient landscaping and paucity of tree plantings.
Potential points of development and attraction were identified in the course of discussion with the residents. The mentioned specific zones will serve a higher level of architectural and planning solutions and will be named as “view spots”.
Problems of the territory and intermediate solutions were discussed on several project workshops, supported by active residents, municipal deputies, representatives of the Government and the Prefecture.
To preserve and emphasize unique corridors and panoramas of Moscow views was the main priority for embankment landscape design. Kosmodamianskaya Embankment serves as a significant link in the complex of Bolotniy Island embankments. Outstanding historical context and striking buildings of the neighborhood influenced the idea for its further improvement.
Unique and recognizable panoramic views of the Capital will appear prosperous with enhanced landing — new plants will fill the gap of the green landscape, that has been formed on the embankment ever since, but was lost. Greenery in the pedestrian traffic zones is always an indicator for the quality of the space; new trees will provide a cool shadow in sultry summertime and a sense of weather season throughout the year.
The priority proposals of the project are: enhancing the green landscape of the embankment area, pedestrian infrastructure development and arrangement of pedestrian connections, setting recreational areas along the pedestrian routes.
Continuous pedestrian connections for proper and pleasant longer walks will make the district’s life more comfortable and lively. Ground pedestrian crossings will connect the road along the houses with the embankment.
Creating a comfortable transit for pedestrians on both sides of the driveway, with recreational zones and view spots, will provide new scenarios for using the streets, diverse the leisure time for citizens and local residents, and as well help integrate the site into the existing structure of pedestrian communications and adjacent spaces.
Based on the transport scheme, coordinated with the Department of Transport, the new pedestrian crossings will be integrated at regular intervals for users’ comfort and safety. Public transport stops on the site will be redeveloped.
SETTING RECREATIONAL ZONES ALONG THE PEDESTRIAN ROUTES
The embankment is to become a stroll promenade — a stretched walking route along the Moskva River won’t appear monotonous due to dedicated recreational areas. This will bring variety into the usual street life.
The project creates another unique and representative structure of Moscow. An integrated approach to the landscape design of the site helps produce a visual identity and a renewed appearance of the street. Unified solutions for paving, landscaping and small architectural forms emphasize the historical significance of the street and help integrate it into a common appearance of the new pedestrian routes in Moscow.
Small architectural forms add details into the landscape design, scattered along the embankment on the promenade and in public gardens of the residential houses they help create a comfortable environment for users.
Individually designed elements help create new centers of attractions on the stretched embankment and remind of the historical heritage of the site. Among individually designed forms: a pavilion in public garden of building 4/22, benches near Moscow International House of Music (52 str.8), metal screens for climbing plants (4/22, 32-34).
The Church of Cosmas and Damian in Nizhni Sadovniki, which gave name to the embankment, was demolished in 1932 in the Soviet era. In its place the 4/22 residential building was built. The pre-revolutionary photographs depicted the unique and picturesque exterior decoration pf the lost sanctuary.
The individual pavilion was designed as a part of the landscape project and serves as a reference to the church. The ornamented carving on the upper part of the church turns into a pattern, used in the pavilion design. Besides the visual parallel, inside the pavilion a stela with historical facts is installed.
The individual pavilion
The individual benches
Three tubed benches, situated across the road from Moscow international House of Music, carry out several visual references at the same time: the curved shape of metal decorative elements of the bench is inspired by both chrome details of the facade and organ pipe shape.
The general landscaping concept implies architectural and artistic illumination of key elements of the design, such as individual benches, flower compositions and the embankment parapet.
GREEN LANDSCAPING OF THE TERRITORY
Trees and shrubs are planted all along the embankment to form a natural barrier, protecting pedestrians from the roadway. Linear planting is organized throughout the site, protecting from dust and creating a friendly barrier between the sidewalk and the road. Planting perennial flower beds is provided as well.
The total area of the flower beds on Kosmodamianskaya Embankment is almost 3000 m2. Flower gardens are divided in three major groups: in public garden near building 4/22, along the promenade on the embankment, on territories adjacent to other residential buildings.
Flower beds along the shoreline form a smooth and continuous color gradient — from yellow-orange to purple pink shades. This approach will alter the perception of embankment’s appearance, make it unique and help remain attractive throughout the season. The areas along the houses are decorated with various flower species and colors — orange and purple with splashes of green prevail.
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