​The future of Russian housing: 20 design finalists announced

An international jury has shortlisted 20 best designs in the competition for new standardized housing in Russia.

Designs by architects and firms from more than eight countries made it onto the shortlist of the Open International Competition for Standard Housing and Residential Development Projects, which was announced on Thursday.

Each finalist receives a 1 million ruble (US$17,800) prize. The architects will have six weeks to finalize their designs, taking into account comments by the jury and experts. The winners will be announced at a forum in Kaliningrad which will take place May 18-20.


Winners: DA Project, Russia; Bureau ARD, Russia; Bold–collective, The Netherlands; Sara Simoska, Macedonia; Luis Eduardo Calderón García, Colombia; Pole–Design, Russia;  LLC Archi Fellows, Russia;

DA Project, Russia
ARD bureau, Russia
BOLD–collective, the Netherlands
Sara Simoska, Macedonia
Luis Eduardo Calderón García, Colombia
Pole–Design, Russia
Archi Fellows, Russia
DA Project, Russia

The winning designs come from Brazil, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Macedonia, Russia, Italy, Slovenia, and Colombia, as well as from an international team of architects.

Chaired by First Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov, the jury includes renowned architects Jean-Paul Viguier, Ricardo Devesa, Helle Juul, Giovanna Carnavali, and Sergei Tchoban.

Minister of Construction Mikhail Men and the head of the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending, Alexander Plutnik, are also on the jury.

Launched in October, the competition attracted around 1,000 housing designs from 39 countries. It was organized by the Russian Ministry of Construction, Housing, and Utilities, together with the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending. Strelka KB is the organizer of the contest.

Mid-rise residential area:

Winners: Plan_B, Russia; LLC Escher, Russia; Boustany / Suphasidh / Desfonds + A2OM, International team; Anarcitects Studio, The Netherlands; Ad Hoc Architecture, Russia; DNK Architectural group, Russia; DO Architects, Lithuania; 2Portala, Russia;

Plan B, Russia
Anarcitects Studio, the Netherlands
Ad Hoc Architecture, Russia
DNK architectural group, Russia
2Portala, Russia
Plan B, Russia

The competition’s participants were required to develop four housing designs for one of three urban scenarios: a low-rise residential area, a mid-rise residential area, or a downtown. Each participant developed up to four types of apartments for the urban environment target model which they selected during the registration process.

The competition entries were judged by the relevance of their concept and the solutions they offered, as well as the potential for application in different climates and the expected cost of construction and maintenance.

“I have extensive experience in construction, that is why I have chosen the projects that can indeed be carried out,” said architect Sergei Tchoban.

“While deciding on the winner, I paid attention to how comfortable a particular environment is for people. I believe that an architect should be responsible enough not to create construction sets that would constantly change, but should instead design citizens’ lifestyles.”

Low-rise residential area:

Winners: Pioneer Project group, Russia; Akhmadullin Architects, Russia; Grupo H d.o.o., Slovenia; TA.R.I-Architects, Italy; PPA Arquitetura, Brazil;

Pioneer Group, Russia
Akhmadullin Architects, Russia
Grupo H d.o.o., Slovenia
T.A.R.I-Architects, Italy
Pioneer Group, Russia

According to Danish architect Helle Juul, the finalists are “looking with a bright eye in the future.” They are trying to be more open to new materials, new densities, and new architectural expressions, she told Strelka Magazine.

“I really like when I can see someone who is creating new things based upon what we know and maybe rethinking and interpreting the Russian tradition in a new way – I think that’s really inspiring.”

Text: Timur Zolotoev