Is it possible to do architecture in Russia today? Who takes part in this process and why are Russian architects not involved in world-wide architectural discourse? Is it possible for Moscow to become the centre of the world architectural discourse? What are the main cultural problems of the present Russian architecture? What is the impact of this dilemma on the built environment in Russia? How can we instigate a change and how will it help?
All these actual issues will be discussed by the participants of the round table conference on the role of Russian Architects in global architectural discourse – James McAdam, Practicing Architect London Moscow (chair); Jeremy Melvin, Curator World Architecture Festival; Tanya Kalinina, Practicing Architect London-Moscow; Eugene Asse, Rector Moscow Architectural School; Vasily Bychkov, General director of Central House of Artists; Bart Goldhoorn, Editor Project Russia, Curator ArchMoscow; Alexei Ginsburg, Practicing Architect Moscow.
In recent years architecture has become a subject of public interest and discussion in Russia. As Russia and its cities are set to develop and expand further this perhaps is an important moment to understand how best to position the architectural profession and its approach to the built environment. Today such debate is universal. At architectural events and seminars around the world the development of cities and the built environment are discussed at many levels and there is a constant exchange of information and ideas which form the context for urban development in the 21st century. Involvement in this process is global and includes not only The West, but also South-east Asia, South America and Africa. At present Russian architects are not involved in this process and have become isolated to dealing with the specifics of location. As a result, it is difficult to create a movement required to enhance positive change. Interestingly, the last time that Russian architects were involved in such international discourse was in the twenties and thirties, as part of the Modern Movement.
The round table seminar will attempt to discuss this subject from a number of angles with a view to instigating the beginning of a process, which will bring the Russian architect closer to world-wide architectural discourse.
James McAdam (London, United Kingdom) is principle partner of McAdam Architects, a practice with established offices in London and Moscow. He studied at Canterbury School of Architecture and as a graduate worked for Alison and Peter Smithson. Together with Russian partner Tanya Kalinina, he then opened the Moscow office of Alsop Architects, and worked and lived in the Russian capital from 1993 - 2000. As a result of this work he was awarded the “Bolshoy Medal” diploma by the Russian Academy of Architecture and was made an honourary member of the Union of Moscow Architects - for contribution to the development of contemporary architecture in Moscow.
Jeremy Melvin (United Kingdom) is a Jeremy is London-based architectural historian, critic and writer. He is Curator for WAF, Consultant to the Royal Academy of Arts and until recently was senior lecturer at Southbank University. Jeremy is author of a number of well-known architectural books - Isms, Young British Architects, Country Houses Today.
Eugene Asse (Moscow, Russia) is Professor in Moscow Institute of Architecture (MARHI) heading the Experimental Design Studio, member of European Cultural Parliament. He was the curator, designer and catalogue author of the exhibition “Moscow Avant-garde Architecture” in the Art Institute of Chicago (1994). As an artist he represented Russia in Venice Biennale in 1995. In 1994 he founded “Architectural Laboratory”, an independent research and design group. In 1997 he started his own design office “Asse architects” in Moscow, which he runs up to now. In 2004 and 2006 he was the Commissioner of the Russian Pavilion on the Biennale of Architecture in Venice.
Tanya Kalinina is co-founded and partner of McAdam Architects (London, Moscow).1991 – 1992 Studied at Canterbury (Dip.Arch). “Golden Section-1999” award from Union of Moscow Architects.
Alexei Ginsburg (Moscow, Russia) is the head of Ginsburg Architects, grandson of Moisei Ginzburg Soviet constructivist architect, best known for his 1929 Narkomfin Building in Moscow. He devised a project to restore the building and convert it into a hotel.