The consolidated planning concept of the development of the “Heart of the City” project areas for the first phase of implementation was for the first time presented in public at the joint Urban Planning Council of the City and the Region held on Friday, 17 April 2015, at the premises of the Kaliningrad City Administration. The concept was developed by the working group consisting of the representatives from the 1st and 2nd place winners (“Studio 44” from St.Petersburg and Devillers et Associes/Off-The-Grid Studio, Paris/Moscow) with the participation of the Bureau’s experts. It included the best proposals from 19 entries submitted for the jury’s assessment within the international urban planning competition “Korolevskaya Gora and Its Surrounding”, held in 2014. The meeting was held under leadership of the Chief Architect of Kaliningrad Vyacheslav Genne. The Chairman Arthur Krupin, representatives of the Agency for Architecture, Urban Planning and Perspective Development of the Kaliningrad Region, local architectural community and mass media participated in the discussion.
The presentation started with the video-recorded speech of Edouard Moreau, the representative of the authors of the concept Devillers et Associes/Off-The-Grid Studio (Paris/Moscow), the second place winner of the past international competition “Korolevskaya Gora and Its Surroundings”. This team’s design proposals were used as a basis for the development of the concept for the first phase of implementation covering the upper part of Korolevskaya Gora. As explained by Olga Mezey, the Bureau’s specialist who participated in the work on the concept, the French team’s design implies the creation of a new main square here, which should become a cultural centre of Kaliningrad. Its frontage from the east will be framed by several anchor facilities, the need for which was officially expressed by administrations of the city and the region. Its western side will be framed by the facility, which will appear on the so-called “post-castle” area, i.e. the area of the former King’s castle. Director of the Bureau Alexander Popadin informed the attendees that an open competition for the space planning design of this facility will be announced by the Bureau “Heart of the City” in the nearest future.
On the whole, participants of the discussion gave a positive feedback on planning design solutions presented in the concept of French architects. The Head of the studio «4+» Sergey Gulevsky emphasized, that the presented concept is one of the steps in the chain of «urbanistic forums», which was started by the International Symposium “Kaliningrad: Visions of the Future. Urban planning development of the city centre” in the anniversary year 2005, 2 years later continued with the International Workshop “Development perspectives of the central part of Kaliningrad” (2007) and naturally led to the International urban planning competition held in 2014 “Korolevskaya Gora and Its Surroundings”. According to Sergey Gulevsky, it is only a consistent systematic approach that will make it possible to solve a complicated problem of the historic centre of Kaliningrad.
The Chairman of the Kaliningrad Branch of the Union of architects of the Russian Federation Oleg Kuperdyaev also mentioned the continuity of the project work and emphasized the need for a clear procedure for implementing proposed solutions.
Architect Oleg Kopylov pointed out successful proposals on a new street to be built in the area of the existing Wedding palace and an uninterrupted pedestrian connection from the Lower Pond to the Pregolya River promenade. He recommended completing the work with design proposals regarding a more intensive use of underground spaces for parking.
Viktor Pustovgarov proposed to ”complete the Consolidated concept with proposals from local architects”, whereafter showed the album, in which everyone recognized a scandalous design, vividly demonstrating some architects’ manner of ”cooperation” with international teams. In reply to this proposal, the Deputy Head of the Agency for architecture, urban planning and perspective development of the regional government Mikhail Bochkarev reminded Viktor Pustovgarov of the fact that the Consolidated concept is being developed on the basis of the International Competition “Korolevskaya Gora and Its Surroundings” and the Organizing Committee of the Competition allowed all architectural teams with participation of Kaliningrad architects to enter the second round of competition but none of these teams have reached finals and presented their entries for the international jury’s evaluation. Therefore, the Viktor Pustovgarov’s proposals are improper and do not meet requirements of a competitive process.
The meeting also raised questions about the (future) narrowing of Moskovsky Prospect’s red lines in the area of the historic core, ways of the Timber Bridge reconstruction and transportation in the area of the first phase implementation of the Consolidated concept.
Vyacheslav Genne emphasized the importance of problems solved by the consolidated concept. According to him, the city and regional authorities as main clients of “Heart of the City” project are highly interested in the status of the main square of the region for conducting cultural events – from fan-zone to fairs, festivals and holidays similar to the Day of the City. Futhermore, he advised that the resolution on the development of the site plan within the boundaries of the historic centre, the “Heart of the City” Project area, signed by the City Mayor was issued on the 13th April. According to the Main Architect of the city, these urban planning documents will allow for the development of specific investment cases for the land plots to be parceled out with associated regulations on height and land use easements.