Address: Moscow, Krasnogvardeisky boulevard, 1A
Client: State Autonomous Institution of Culture of Moscow Krasnaya Presnya Park
Studio directors: Dmitry Likin and Oleg Shapiro
Architects: lead architect Daria Melnik; architects: Victoria Kudryavtseva, Maria Gulida, Anna Rodionova, Maria Panova, Bella Filatova
Specialist of the Master Plan section: Nina Smirnova, with the participation of Alexandra Nikulnikova
Chief project engineer: Dmitry Belostotsky
Total area: 83 512.5 sq.m.
Area of water bodies: 25 066 sq.m.
Green area: 39 348.24 sq. m.
Building area: 1 318.8 sq.m
Archiwood Award 2018 for Urban Design according to popular vote
Krasnogvardeisky ponds are a historical continuation of the main territory of the Krasnaya Presnya Park. In XVIII-XIX centuries, the park had been a part of Gagarin Studenets estate. Afterwards, in the early Soviet era it gained its present name dedicated to the earliest 1905 revolution. For current visitors the park is a heritage site bearing the symbols from the Soviet past.
Merging these two parks into a single system led to an integrated development programme based on a broad social and urban research. Preserving the existing structure and landscape of the Krasnogvardeisky ponds parks as much as possible, required for a comfortable family type and active recreation space to be created.
A sociological research formed the basis for the concept. The research made it possible to accurately balance the recreational functions and format. Based on feedback by the residents of nearby buildings the site is first and foremost perceived as a secluded inner courtyard.
Wowhaus specialises in urban design, so its foundation lays in creating spaces for social interaction. Community’s needs make the architects create new means of working with people and material. New places and spaces require constant research. An essential part of this project was to outline the local identity by preserving the historic meanings and integrating the local community’s interests.
The territory consists of a cascade of three interconnected ponds stretched along the residential area. The ponds were formed back in the early XVIII century as a part of the princes Gagarin Studenets estate park ensemble. The territory acquired its present form in the late 50s of the XX century during the development of the boulevard.
One of the important symbolic meanings which had formed the prospect concept of the park is its Soviet history. Since the Ponds’ name stands for the Red Guardy’s Ponds, the park’s identity is inseparable from the revolutionary history of the early XX Century. Both the inevitable touch of early Soviet aesthetics and the need of architects to make a narrow hidden area look inviting for the residents resulted in red colour appearing to be the main in the colour chart of the new park.
Wowhaus created a development project for the Krasnogvardeisky ponds territory and their natural integration with the nearest Krasnaya Presnya Park. Designed objects incorporate a common design of soaring structures with lightweight grid elements. The colour scheme is also unified and consists of red, anthracite-coloured and the colour of natural wood.
Another crucial object of the project was to reinforce interaction with the water, so the ponds were cleared of debris and thickets. Particular attention was paid to the additional landscaping of the territory. Perennial plants were added to the existing fabric of greenery designed to emphasize the natural beauty of the Krasnogvardeisky ponds. The composition creates a missing middle tier consisting of various shrubs and plants specially selected for this area.
The site is divided into five fragments. According to the sociological data conducted, the park’s character with a certain functional division had already been formed throughout its history. Naturally, certain spaces of the Ponds’ were thought to be more or less quiet, social, or entertaining. The architects expanded the existing meanings taking into account their specific dominant functions.
Fragment 1 - ‘family sports and educational park’. This part is the most ‘wild’ and has a forest-like feel. The task of the project was to preserve this feeling of a ‘natural’ character of the space. The plants for this fragment are selected given the natural character of the greenery. New sports facilities located there transformed park into a more appealing for the residents place. Both elderly people and teenagers find suitable equipment.
Special attention in this fragment was paid to the entrance zone from the side of the highway. It was important to focus the attention on the park and its new design, the architects designed an entrance group complex integrated into the new fencing of the territory and consisting of two pavilions with a light structural pergola.
The concept of this part of the Krasnogvardeisky ponds is also based around the idea of a ‘secret garden’ - a walking route with objects and observation platforms situated along it. Street exercise equipment, workout areas, table tennis, a yoga pavilion, and also an original children’s playground with treehouses and high-rope courses are located here. Since the playground is surrounded by forest-like greenery, the main idea was to create a special dreamlike place with the houses made of wood hidden between the trees.
Fragment 2-upper pond- ‘wild’ or contemplative pond. A multi-level deck with planters was created on the pond bank, and duck houses were installed on the water.
Fragment 3 - the central part between the ponds – the traditional design of classical regular parks. Various-shaped platforms with chess pavilions are situated on the axis of the central alley and are organically integrated into the landscape among the flowerbeds with benches situated on the sides. The historical structure of the path and route network is preserved.
The existing local landmark - a monument to October Days inherited from Soviet past. It displays a figure of an unknown labourer on the border of historic shifts in Russia. The monument bears a strong significance for all the residents of the neighbourhood. An important part of the architects’ project was work with the Soviet heritage. Based on communication with the residents, Wowhaus relocated the monument. It currently stands on a platform which best matches its scale and sits closer to the upper pond. A small cafe with an amphitheatre is built in its place.
Fragment 4 (middle pond) - ‘romantic pond’. A logical continuation of the promenade zone with the gazebos above water, the deck and the decorative sphere-shaped lighting along the slopes of the pond and the water surface. Pic.17
Fragment 5 – the lower pond. The space around the lower pond lacks the quietness for the nearest highway sounds. The circumstances given complicated its integration into the general ensemble. Wowhaus proposed to turn the disadvantage into an advantage and centre all the loud sports and entertainment functions here, on a site which is situated at a maximum distance from residential buildings.