Monday, December 26, 2011

New Town in Russia

An artist's view of the proposed new town of Yuznyi, Russia.

The economic prosperity in Russia has brought great pressure on Moscow and St. Petersburg as the urban population is rapidly growing with workers coming from rural areas for business opportunities.  New towns are being planned near the urban centers, and one utilizing the successful European formats established before the era of Stalin, is Yuznyi.  All the buildings will be evocative of the traditional styles.
A map showing the two parts of the new town of Yuznyi in purple.
Avoiding the architectural mistakes of the Communists who built isolated residential towers disconnected from the streets and separated from the urban core, the new town of Yuznyi will be a satellited of St. Petersburg, located on a regional railroad line and adjacent to the M-20 highway.  Convenient access to central St. Petersburg and Gatchina employement centers as well as the Pulkoro International Airport is a notable feature as the construction within the cities cannot keep up with the demand.
Yuznyi will be composed of districts with each being distinctive and having unique features.  From single-family houses in tree-lined neighborhoods to four-to-seven story apartment buildings in mixed-use town centers, there will be a range in housing choices, all within walking distance of shops, schools and parks.  There will be a university campus, office and light industrial areas, and a hospital with the districts linked by a network of public transit, walking trails and waterways.
A detailed plan of the first phase of construction for Yuznyi, expected to be complete in 2013.
Having services located within walking distance and/or public transportation will reduce the automobile dependency that has grown to nightmare proportions in the cities.  Two of the largest neighborhoods will be located at existing commuter rail stations that service St. Petersburg.  The apartment buildings in these transit centers will have ground floor shops and services with the buildings constructed around courtyards and facing pocket parks.
A conceptual view of a mixed use neighborhood near a transit center.
The density of housing types decreases further away from the transportation center.  Neighborhoods of rowhouses/townhouses are planned for the second phase of construction and the designs are still being developed.  With the goal of attractive tree-lined streets with front yards and a variety of facades, the market surveys have shown, however, considerable opposition to alleys and parking in the rear of the lots;  Russians prefer a big backyard with parking in the front.  The struggle to design attractive yet affordable housing continues, however.
A conceptual view of the neighborhood of attached houses in Yuznyi.
The next posting of The Devoted Classicist will present the interesting history of the area and an example of a new American-influenced single-family detached house.  All the images are the work of the Pittsburgh firm Urban Design Associates which has developed the Concept Plan for the new town of Yuznyi.


  1. There are many single-family properties inspired by American and European homes in Russia, especially in the Moscow countryside. The quality and interior decorating are usually not as good as the homes in Europe and the US.

    As an example we have the Lahta project, also outside St Petersburg. A collection of small palaces, most of them having rather bad floor plans and very small plots.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union many quickly got lots of money, but good taste did not go with this money. This is slowly starting to change, and many Russian architects are getting better, so we can look forward to see fine masterpieces of the best international quality. But it is good that many work with international architects who now what good taste is.

    Here is a link to the Lahta palaces website:

  2. MLHB, thank you for your comments. The Lahta project is interesting, to say the least. (Be sure to hit the red ENG box for the English translation). All the palaces include an indoor swimming pool, clearly considered a standard of luxury in Russia. The whole layout of properties is similar to a typical but not well-planned American subdivision development, giving a strange approach to each of the palaces. Undoubtedly, the houses are expensive, and, presumably, will be built only after each has been sold. It would be interesting to see the realized product.

  3. Ht there!!!

    This blog post is totally fascinating to me!!!. When I was 18 (1965) ; My mother (brilliant that she was!) sent me on a college tour of Europe. 18 countries; 32 cities. 2 months. UCLA professor designed and led it. (He couldn't go behind the 'iron curtain' because he had made the communists mad!

    Two weeks behind the "Iron Curtain" (not done much in those days!)
    East Germany, Hungary, Moscow, Leningrad. Astonishing....and( brilliant on my mother's part; and professor Kneller!) It was the most educational thing I have done in my entire life......and I am now 64! He was a visionary.......and a genius1 I have him to thank for my "world view"!

    It is "my own" which was his goal. "Expose to everything; and a person will form his own 'world view'; have his favorite countries; find his own values with the different a philosophy!! ."

    Lordy What a wonderful idea! How lucky was I to go on it!

    a blog is emerging....the best story is on the boat from Leningrad (now St Petersberg again) to Stockholm.....stopped in Helsinki!

    I saw all those housing things....Anonymous huge apartment buildings. I was in Moscow for four days. I saw not one person smile. That is the truth. Not one.

    I also saw hardly any birds. Pesticides were widely used...."birds were considered 'vermin" I asked our "tour guide....' What? songbirds are vermin?" She nodded "yes" and, added....."they poo" but some other expression much more crass.......even then! (we are talking..... 46 years ago!)!!!

    and my guide guy told me to "cork it"! Q" want to stay here for a few years in prison?"

    Honestly; I was "behind the 'Iron curtain' for 14 days" I saw Communism.

    The bakeries had bread in them.....completely overrun with maggots........(I could not make this up!) The subway was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.......gorgeous tile and mosaic walls.......(It had not worked for years) and Lenin's tomb was the most fascinating of all!

    People were standing in line for miles........(I saw them....I mean miles) They had spent nights sleeping in line.......
    Our tour guide just "cut in" and we saw him embalmed; and ewwwww!
    out we went.......YUK.
    It made me sick (at 18) on many levels......first; I was totally outraged that we ("cut in front of people who had spent days and nights in line) To this day......I am outraged. (some people think this is silly....they did not see these their rags...and makeshift pillows to visit their hero........It gave me a whole new understanding of dictatorships....and why they are so appealing! Humans love dictatorships.......They are so much easier....

    It broke my heart!

    I am really glad I saw it! Once was enough.

    The art in Leningrad.......(now back to St Petersburg) was was in the Royal Palaces.......nothing has changed.

    I hope the new Russian Oligarchs will make sure the Monets and Renoirs, and the other masterpieces there are restored or maintained......

    before they buy their 100 million dollar yacht!

    Oh well....

  4. How very fascinating to see how in this very globally virtual connected world we live in the asthetic from other cultures is being implemented in areas far away from their original conception. Just hope the strip mall's never become "in vogue" anywhere! How FAB dahhling!

  5. Penelope, thanks for sharing your experiences in the old U.S.S.R. I am sure you are interested in seeing the recent changes.

    HRH, it is interesting that no shopping center as we know it in the U.S. is planned for Yuznyi. Instead, small shops and services are intended. But it will be interesting to see if that holds. Of course, who knows what will happen in the adjacent area?

  6. PittsburgH with an H ;-) Some of my architecture professors at CMU were founders of UDA and they were truly inspriational. I love seeing this town and their gorgeous renderings!

  7. Thanks, A.D.! I'll make that correction. UDA did an admirable job on the Master Plan which I hope can eventually be fully realized.

  8. A most fascinating read, as usual John,
    Wishing you a most joyous and prosperous New Year!


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