As a part of the Belgorod City Centre International Competition, RAW partnered with Kevin Hutchinson to create its entry, Belgorod Block: podium & stamp urbanism.
The competition brief was for a plot of land in Belgorod, Russia approximately 300m x 200m. The city of Belgorod experienced a large amount of destruction during World War II and thus a construction boom of large scale soviet building projects in the 50’s and 60’s. However, in the 90’s a new policy was put into place encouraging suburban residential development. This project proved to be very successful. Now, however, the city is running out of space on its edges and wants to direct development back into the city center. This competition is challenging designers to visualize what the next urban step could be for Belgorod.
Avoiding tower developments, which are popular in other parts of the country, the buildings were limited to a height of 20m. The main objective was how to achieve the density of an intercity building project while keeping the quality and individuality of the suburban lifestyle. The solution should be applicable for this specific site and also an example for future development in the city center.
After studying different scales of urbanism, the site was divided into nine blocks in order to utilize elements of different precedents. The critical component is the podium. It achieves a consistent urban edge, secures a private territory, discretely manages parking, accommodates retail potential, and negotiates topography. Above is unencumbered and therefor can be stamped with a range of building types, achieving diversity and market responsiveness on a common urban base. Suburban expectations of privacy and individualism can be met in an urban form with the added value of city amenities and lifestyle.
Market demands and demographic trends determine the appropriate stamp. A range of conservative to progressive stamps were studied for their strengths and weaknesses. Six of the most promising and diverse stamps were then selected, each with a distinctive private outdoor amenity space and offering a different lifestyle.
These six podiums and stamps were placed on the site to form a complimentary composition, creating a dense neighborhood made up of varying living options and environments.
The prime boulevard frontage is lined with retail opportunity and overlooked by prime housing.
A kindergarten frames the northern edge of a concentrated civic realm.
Each development entrance opens onto a low-traffic, pedestrian friendly street.
Podiums house concierge, parking, storage and services for the residential stamps above.