Skolkovo--officially, but infrequently, called the Scientific Centre for Development and Commercialization of New Technologies--is billed as Russia’s take on Silicon Valley. The “technopark” on the outskirts of Moscow is structured around a quintet of “clusters” that focus on the following industries: information, biomedical, energy efficiency, nuclear, and space technologies. Earlier this year, a competition was held to imagine community living quarters for Skolkovo employees, and the entries were presented as part of the QR-code wonderland that was the Russian Pavilion at the recent Venice Biennale.
Moscow-based Atrium Studio’s plan revolved around a townhouse-style typology, situating five main green-roofed structures in a circular arrangement flanking a central, multilevel, multi-use courtyard. Each of the 45 apartments is intended to house resident scientists and their families, along with students and professors, while the open-air surrounds are designed to encourage a spirit of communal living--almost like a grown-up, refined dorm experience. Pops of color were included “because we like them,” Atrium’s Maria Fadeeva tells Co.Design, “and we understood that most of residents will be young and energetic.”
The creative experience offered a somewhat rare opportunity for homegrown talent to develop high-profile ideas actionable in their hometown. “Most of the big competitions which take place in our country are looking for foreign stars right from the beginning,” Fadeeva says. “In the previous competition for the master-plan of Skolkovo, Russian practices were not invited at all. So when finally they found a place in this project for natives, it interested us.”