Redevelopment of Soviet sites threaten Moscow’s industrial hub

Published on : Thursday, August 18, 2016

Moscow's ZilArt modelThe 400-hectare industrial hub of Moscow, including the Zil car factory that was known as a ‘city within a city’ is all ready for renovation. According to the new plan, Zil would make way for a branch of Hermitage museum of Petersburg, concert hall, riverside par, schools, boutique shops and sophisticated apartment blocks. Foreign architects as well as Russian architects would design the new redevelopment, integrating the region into wider Moscow by adding 26 streets.


The ZilArt project represents an initiative of the Moscow government to make attempts to renovate industrial zones of Moscow that comprise nearly 13% of the city’s territory.


Such development projects are crucial for making the city more habitable. However, certain historians and architects have been anxious about Zil, as several factory structures in this Soviet city bear historical significance.


This industrial heritage was once home to its own bus line, fire department, barber shop and cafeterias.


The only structure to be retained is a five-storey press shop that comprises a grid with glass panes against its four concrete entrances. A few other buildings along Vesnin Brothers Prospect would also be saved.


Marina Khrustalyova, coordinator, preservation group, Arkhnadzor said that about nine-tenths of the historical structures in the Zil area of the industrial region would be demolished.


The city of Moscow is extremely congested since 45% of workplaces are based in the main city centre. This area is surrounded by industrial areas that are poorly utilized as well as innumerable high-rise buildings. To clear up the mess, Moscow has started rebuilding about a million square metres of streets and has been planning to create over 70 subway stations within the year 2020. However, in order to gain more space, Moscow needs to develop new industrial hubs and also transportation facilities.


Sergei Kuznetsov, chief architect of Moscow said that if the industrial zones of Moscow are redeveloped, the centre of the city would be decongested.


Of the 9 million square metres of real estate that were exploited in Moscow, 2.2 million were industrial regions. In 2016, 2 million more industrial areas would be built. A former steel factory known as Hammer and Sickle would be renovated, keeping intact its street network and a few factory buildings.


Other projects including London’s Tate Modern and Sulzerareal steel plant in Switzerland would be re-used instead of being demolished.


But then, the industrial structures of Moscow would require more resources to be redeveloped owing to their enormous size. Ground pollution is yet another potential hazard in renovating the industrial hubs, according to the representatives of ZilArt.


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