​Strelka Week in St. Petersburg: How to improve public spaces & tap into the city’s creative potential

An extension of Strelka’s public summer program comes to Russia’s Northern Capital starting September 30.

Photo: Istockphoto.com

The Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, together with Gazprom Neft, will launch a series of free educational events on September 30 as part of the Native Towns social investment program. The main locations for Strelka Week will be the Lendok open film studio and the Port Sevkabel cultural and business center. Russian and international experts from Gazprom Neft, Strelka, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Southern California University of Architecture will conduct lectures and workshops on how to make the city more comfortable and modern. Representatives of RBC, Inc. Russia, the Calvert Journal, the online newspaper Bumaga,and Strelka Magazine will talk about current trends and media development at the Open Media workshop. Strelka week will run from September 30 to October 8.

During this time, the residents of St. Petersburg can find creative opportunities to discover their city’s potential and will be able to sort out some important questions, such as why nearly all cultural life is concentrated in the very center of the city - the so-called "golden triangle" between Nevsky Prospekt, the Neva River, and the Fontanka River - and how this can be changed; why people who have never before been interested in the theme of the city are now talking about it as well; and how to solve the shortage of modern forms of art. The program will consist of three main blocks: "Water", "Cultural-Historical Context", and "Technologies."

WATER

The granite embankments of St. Petersburg separate its residents from the aquatic environment, despite the fact that the water is essential for any walk through the center as well as being a strategic connection to the sea. "The city and the water seem to be living their own separate lives."

Lecture, “The architecture of participation: How to build public space together”, and workshop by Kuba Snopek

Kuba Snopek (Poland) is an architect, researcher, Venice Architectural Biennale participant, and an alumnus of and former curator for the educational program at the Strelka Institute. In collaboration with Rem Koolhaas, Bjarke Ingels and Justin McGuirk, and with the help of crowdfunding, Kuba builds public spaces in Russia and develops new design methods and theoretical models for architecture. His book on the uniqueness of residential micro-districts in Russia and the preservation of their intangible legacy, "Belyayevo forever", has been published in English, Polish, and Russian. At his lecture, Kuba will talk about collective design - the method he developed for creating architectural objects together with their future users. During Kuba’s three-day workshop, participants will use the method of collective design to create a project for the improvement of St. Petersburg’s Primorsky district.

Lecture by Ville Hara, "From port to sauna: New life in a Helsinki industrial zone"

Ville Hara (Finland) is the co-founder and partner of Avanto Architects, a teacher at Aalto University, and a member of the Association of Architects of Finland. Focusing on landscapes and creating architectural objects of varying scales and purposes to be environmentally friendly - from art installations to residential complexes - he works a lot with ritualistic space, which includes sacred structures (like the Avanto Funeral Chapel of St. Lawrence in the cemetery in Vantaa), and household buildings (like the Löyly sauna, which has become a new city attraction in Helsinki). Hara will share his experience of transformation and development of waterfront industrial areas. The lecture was organized with the support of the Finnish Institute in St. Petersburg and the Consulate General of Finland. 

CONTEXT

Frozen culture requires change. The historical landscape, architecture and ensemble, the cultural memory of generations - everything that the inhabitants of a city love, want, and are afraid to lose. But these are also the conditions and the grounds for the creation of new urban development, which makes one look at the commonplace in a new way. 

Lecture by Daria Paramonova, “Reconstruction in the Big City: From project to implementation

Daria Paramonova (Russia) - General Director of the architectural bureau Strelka Architects, head of the Moscow Garden Ring renovation project, former professor and graduate of the Strelka Institute educational program. Daria has supervised the framework for the largest renovation project in Moscow’s modern history, "My Street", researched and formalized the classification of Luzhkov-era architecture, and overseen the Russian pavilion of the Venice Architectural Biennale 2014. Daria will speak about how large-scale transformations within the historical center affect the metropolis and its inhabitants. 

Seminar by Holly Lewis, “Community Reconstruction: The British Approach to Public Spaces

Holly Lewis (UK) is a co-founder of the architectural firm We Made That, an expert for the building association CABE, and a trustee of Britain’s Architecture Foundation. By focusing on the involvement of local communities, she has developed a wide array of projects - from complex street redesign to the rejuvenation of industry. Holly will give her lecture on the bureau’s various methods of work and modern ways of renovating industrial areas that can change St. Petersburg and other cities in Russia. The seminar is organized with the support of the British Council.
Film screening, “
The Infinite Happiness

This film is about the largest and most famous residential complex in Denmark - Copenhagen’s "8 House", built by Bjarke Ingels in the new suburb of Ørestad. Residents of the building speak about how they interact with their neighbors and tourists, how well the infrastructure is designed, the ability for residents to ride their bicycles up to their doors on the top floors, whether they enjoy a walk around the garden, the open design of the roof, whether or not parking is convenient - the whole purpose of this architectural masterpiece is to assess its main critics: the inhabitants. Tickets for the show can be bought on the website or at the box office of the Angleterre Cinema.

TECHNOLOGIES

St. Petersburg’s universities are among the top ten suppliers of technical staff, and 10% of Russian IT companies are in St. Petersburg; multi-format festivals at the intersection of art, science, and new technologies are attracting interest and developing rapidly. These events are supported by key corporations, and some take place under their general sponsorship.

Lecture by Bayram Annakov, "The Who and Why of Creating Artificial Intelligence"

Bairam Annakov (Turkmenistan) is the founder and CEO of Empatika, which specializes in application development that is useful to citizens. Empatika creates applications such as Squeek, which is a geolocation service that lets users communicate with strangers around them, and App In The Air, which aggregates flight information and is included in Business Insider’s top 100 best applications. The company also is also introducing advanced mobile development for the Russian market: for example, iBeacon technology, which tracks users’ geolocation to transmit useful data to their smartphone, such as up-to-date coupons and certificates in the right place and at the right time. In addition, Annakov and Empatika devote their time to education, conducting seminars, hackathons, and organizing programming schools. 

Workshop by Timur Cherkasov "How to Assemble a Portable City Environment Scanner"

Timur Cherkasov (Russia) is an architect, researcher, teacher, and graduate of the Strelka Institute. He organized the first scientific round table in Russia on interdisciplinary cooperation in the field of architecture, urban planning, and biophysics. He also participated in the development of the project "The Architecture of Mass Consumption", which is a speculative scenario of future architecture as an industry in which qualitative design would be carried out by algorithms. At the workshop, Timur will teach attendees how to collect and adjust equipment for a comprehensive analysis of urban areas, so that it can be applied to data on ecology, microclimate, and pedestrian/transport activity. 

Lecture by Troy Terrien

Troy Conrad Terrien (US) is a curator and consultant on the introduction of innovative technologies at the Guggenheim Museum and a professor at Columbia University. He explores the interconnection of architecture, communications, technology and political economy, as well as the transformation of the architect's profession in the digital age. Terrien’s curatorial practice combines traditional exhibitions and experimental forms of programming. Troy will explain what it means to be an architect in the modern world and how the profession is changing in the context of the development of new technologies and the interaction between architecture and the digital world. 

Lecture by Liam Young

Liam Young (UK) is one of the most prominent figures of the speculative architecture movement, the founder of the Tomorrow's Thoughts Today research center, the Unknown Fields Division, and the Fiction and Entertainment Master's Program at the SCI-Arc architectural school, and is a teacher for the Strelka Institute’s New Normal program. Liam explores the future scenarios of cities, analyzes humans’ impact on nature in different parts of the world - from the Galapagos Islands to the exclusion zone at Chernobyl - and speaks about science’s impact on people’s behavior. During Strelka Week, Liam will talk about his trip to the port of Murmansk in the winter of 2017, show footage from his expeditions around the world, and demonstrate how to use the latest technology to see the world from new perspectives. Attendance at all events is free and you can register at strelka.com. Detailed information about the program can be found on social networks and on the Strelka Institute website.