LDA Design has won an international tender for the multi-million pound transformation of Moscow’s historic 130-hectare Gorky Park.
The UK-based practice, which was responsible for the parkland design at the London 2012 Olympic Park, was chosen from a shortlist of 20 international firms ‘after lengthy deliberations by the project board’, which included representatives from Moscow City Heritage Department, Moscow Kremlin Museums, the Russian Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, and ‘Strelka’, the Institute for Media, Architecture and Design.
Gorky Park is located on the south side of the Russian capital and was inaugurated in 1928. Named after writer Maxim Gorky, it soon became famous as an outstanding model of avant-garde architecture.
The park stretches along the banks of the Moscow River and is divided into two main parts: the Neskuchny Garden, which dates back to 1753 and the ‘Parterre’, dating back to the All Russia Handicraft and Agricultural Exhibition of 1923.
It is home to a number of notable late 18th and early 19th century buildings, including two summerhouses designed by the great Moscow architect Mikhail Kazakov, who also designed the Senate Building in the Kremlin and the first City Hospital.
Andrei Batalov, deputy director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, praised LDA Design’s winning bid, noting that it was one of the few practices that made reference to restoration and heritage.
Andrew Harland, senior partner at LDA Design, said his company’s aim is to transform Gorky Park so that it becomes an emblem of Moscow: ‘Projecting the best of the city to the rest of the world, while being one of the top destinations for Muscovites in their leisure time’.
Moscow Park Authority has invested heavily in Gorky Park in recent years, with the restoration of several of its historic buildings and the introduction of WiFi. In December 2011, it opened a 15,000 square metre ice rink, with separate zones for children, hockey, dancing and general skating.
The forthcoming strategy, according to LDA Design, is to tackle wider issues, not only of an overall design vision, but also improving the park’s management and maintenance. The vision all sets out to address the ‘softer’ side of the park’s operations, including visitor activities and services.
The company will carry out the overall strategy in the next few months, and this will form the basis of public and expert consultation and guide the direction of the eventual masterplan and the park’s long-term restoration, which is due to take place over the next five years.