Development concept for the territory of the Luzhnetskaya Embankment

Authoring team:
Directors: Dmitry Likin, Oleg Shapiro
Senior project architect: Olga Khokhlova
Design schedule: 2015

The Wowhaus architectural bureau developed the development concept for the territory of the Luzhnetskaya Embankment on behalf of the publicly held company OAO Olympic Complex “Luzhniki”. A research group was assembled of architects, urbanists, sociologists, sports experts and economists to devise a development concept for the waterfront as a space for taking part in sports and active leisure activities. As part of this work, the bureau proposed preliminary architectural planning solutions for the embankment, programming content, and an economic justification of the concept, which would help develop Luzhniki as a park that corresponds to all the contemporary standards and is suited to provide for the functions of active leisure and outdoor sporting activities.


to make maximum effective use of the territory of the embankment and make Luzhniki the most convenient and comfortable place for sports and active leisure in the centre of Moscow.


one of the main purposes for those visiting Luzhniki is sport and spending time in the open air. The complex’s infrastructure must offer the widest range of possibilities for the satisfaction of these requirements. The creation of mobile, easily modified and adaptable service and infrastructural objects will facilitate the optimisation of use of the existing system. A unified stylistics scheme for kiosks will permit the use of equipment from different operators in the same module. Vandal-proof sheet materials with perforation (of metallic and composite materials) are easy to assemble and can be painted in the necessary colours with graphic elements from the corporate style then applied to them.

The first phase of work saw the conducting of research that indicated the high levels of awareness of the target audience and the popularity of the individual training areas for amateur sportsmen, as well as the great potential of the territory for its development as a contemporary sports park (only 8% of the total area of Luzhniki is built up, while 92% is open space devoted to sports pitches and courts, lawns and roads). That said, the functional and economic potential of the territory is clearly not realised to the fullest, and reconstruction works, began in 2014, disturb the comfort of regular visitors.

The bureau’s specialists proposed that the territory around the sports objects and on the embankments at Luzhniki be used as a fully functional contemporary park, while keeping sport and the healthy lifestyle as the root components of its functions. Architectural, landscaping and engineering solutions were specified within the framework of this concept; a programme to attract a new public to the territory; a programme for the development of the service sector and infrastructure in the short, medium and long-term perspective.

The architectural concept suggested that the embankment be regarded as a venue for mass sports activities (primarily involving cycling) and active leisure: a reprogramming of traffic lane arrangements; distribution of the infrastructure needed for sports and leisure at intervals of 5-10 minutes’ walking distance; use of the green zones for recreation, and the asphalt-covered bays for the positioning of infrastructure modules.

In planning terms, the embankment (the Olympic Flame of the Main Sporting Arena takes the central position in the composition of the complex) is located on the visual axis leading from the skyscraper main building of the Moscow State University on the Sparrow Hills to the Cathedral Square in the Kremlin. This clear-cut axis, laid out as far back as the 1935 Moscow General Plan (then oriented on the Palace of Soviets), predetermined the development of the city centre in a south-western direction.
Conceiving of the embankment as a full-fledged venue for cyclic sports and active leisure, a cross-section might look like this:
● a waterfront freed of obstructions for taking strolls;
● temporary infrastructure, museum stands and recreation areas located in the asphalt-covered bays;
● the first green strip reprogrammed and opened up to the waterfront, organisation of leisure spaces and organisation of planting by means of work with the surface;
● the outer strip allocated to cyclic forms of sport with the arrangement of special surfaces, markings and infrastructural object on the external edge, while maintaining the possibility of crossing this space when required.
● a second green strip providing demarcation from vehicle traffic by means of surface works and organisation of planting;
● the inner strip remains in use as a road traffic thoroughfare.