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DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Russia Architecture News - May 26, 2020 - 10:05   1341 views

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Rotterdam-based architecture practice DROM in collaboration with Strelka KB, have completed a renovation project for the main Azatlyk Square in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia.

The old square has been transformed into a dynamic and vibrant multi-use public space with different hues of orange colour applied throughout the public space.

The original square was designed around a formal central axis that was intended to connect the municipality building to the unbuilt Lenin museum. 

By losing its starring role as a social connector, the public space became a relic of the Soviet past, underused, kept alive by a few maintenance interventions and disconnected from city life.

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

"We wanted to convert the famous Kamaz truck factory – the lifeless public space of a typical Russian monotown, built in the Seventies and dominated by a single industry, into a multipurpose area with a fresh take on inhabitants’ interaction," said Timur Karimullin, Sofia Koutsenko and Timur Shabaev, founders of DROM.

Highlighted by a dense row of planted trees, the main axis of Azatlyk Square has been relocated towards the edge of the plot to directly connect the nearby neighbourhoods with the new promenade and its pavilions that include diverse playgrounds, a café, a food stall and a spiral viewing platform. 

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

The former central area has been divided into three different squares, each with its own unique character. To the East, the Event Square is a pink concrete paved urban space that is also used for weekly outdoor markets. 

Next to it, is the Green Square, a relaxing spot with a wooden amphitheatre and a broad lawn from which to enjoy the seasonal landscaping conducted by the city’s planting department and lastly, the Cultural Square, with a fountain and a new circular shallow pool for playing in the water on hot days.

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

In dialogue with the Promenade, each square is energized by an anchor programme: the amphitheatre doubles as a cafè; the spiral viewing platform, which is painted in the emblematic orange Kamaz color, adds a vertical dimension; and the circular pool transforms into an ice-skating rink in winter.

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM designed peculiar paving patterns for each of the squares and integrated spaces that are protected from the strong crosswinds and sun by strategically placed “hills” and local species of linden, red maple and blue spruce trees.

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

In addition to the pavilions, Azatlyk Square features bespoke urban furniture and lighting elements, which were developed and produced by local manufacturersclosely involved in the creation of a new niche in the city’s economy.

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

The main supporting structure for the spiral viewing platform is made with the same technology that is utilized in the production of gas pipes. The benches were shaped by a local concrete factory and the lamps were fabricated using standard steel profiles. 

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

By maintaining most of the pre-existing greenery and adding new trees, the architects intend to preserve the existing ecosystem and peculiar landscape. 

All these aspects helped the natural integration and the visual impact of the enormous transformation in the city centre, making the project more sustainable, resilient, and financially viable.

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

The city and its inhabitants embrace the new public space and the flourishing green areas as a stimulus to transform a monotone industrial past into a lively contemporary dimension of living that injects new energy into their roots.

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Image © Dmitry Chebanenko

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Masterplan

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Masterplan axonometric

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Azatlyk Square accessories

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Azatlyk Square, central square in summer

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Azatlyk Square, central square in winter

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Azatlyk Square landscape sketch

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Azatlyk Square section-1

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Azatlyk Square-2

DROM transforms the monotone Soviet Azatlyk Square into a lively contemporary public space

Longitudinal section

Project facts

Project name: Azatlyk Square
Location: Prospekt Khasana Tufana 18, Naberezhnye Chelny (Republic of Tatarstan, Russia)
Architect: DROM (Timur Karimullin, Sofia Koutsenko, Timur Shabaev)
Project team: Asaf Barnea, Aga Batkiewicz, Valentina Ciccotosto, Elif Gözde Öztoprak, Roos Pulskens, Pratyusha Suryakant
Collaborator: Strelka KB
Local architect and engineering: KMT-PRO 
Client: Strelka KB, DOM.RF
Commission: January 2017
Design phase: January 2017 – April 2017
Construction phase 1: Summer 2017 – Fall 2018
Construction phase 2: Spring – Summer 2019
Construction phase 3: 2020
GFA: 7.8 Ha
Building costs: approx. 4.500.000 €
Planting Consultant: NOVASCAPE 
Materials: Granite paving, Tainted concrete paving

All images © Evgeny Evgrafov unless otherwise stated. 

All drawings © DROM

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