There’s a machine that can print a thyroid gland, a mechanised suit that’s helping a paraplegic play football and a lifelike bust of Alan Turing answering questions in a robotic drawl.
Welcome to Skolkovo, a 460-hectare plot of land west of Moscow that is attempting to style itself as Russia’s answer to Silicon Valley. With suitably named buildings such as the Hypercube, the Matrix and the Technopark, the Skolkovo Innovation Center is a unique combination of public and private research and innovation, combined with a world class business environment and high quality living and leisure. Designed as an approximately 2,000,000 square metre complex overall, it is Russia’s biggest and most ambitious scientific development this century so far. The strategic goal of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre is to concentrate international intellectual capital, thereby stimulating the development of break-through projects and technologies. The landscape is designed to at once reflect and encourage innovation, providing places to refresh and inspire the minds of the people living and working at Skolkovo.
The General Plan
The developer of the general plan for Skolkovo is the French company AREP, with the involvement of the engineering company SETEC and the well-known landscape architect Michel Devigne, one of the participants in the Grand Paris project.
The plan for the Innovation Centre is a development and rethink of the traditional town planning concepts of a linear city and the new urbanism. Skolkovo is being designed as a series of compact areas integrated into the landscape, each of which has everything required for life and work, and are interlinked, while conserving their own individuality. The areas are linked by the transparent and conceptual axis of the Central Boulevard, which runs right through them.
The city has been planned with a network of parks and other public spaces, which create its cohesiveness and unique look. The internal structure of each area has been designed in such a way as to ensure the optimal distribution of housing and work zones and to offer captivating views of nature and signature architectural features from any point in the city. A central zone is being created around the main square and connected with the main transport terminal, and this is the site of a congress centre, hotels, cultural establishments and other public facilities that will attract visitors.
The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology campus and the Technopark adjoin it on opposite sides. Each of these areas includes office and residential buildings. Further down the boulevard are mixed-purpose quarters where, apart from offices for large and small technological companies, there is also housing, service businesses and places for leisure and meetings, everything necessary for life and work. The low-rise compact development creates a comfortable, well-appointed and attractive urban environment. The approaches to creating civil engineering and transport infrastructure that are embedded in the Skolkovo general plan stem from the requirement to ensure the long-term sustainable development of the site with no increase in resource consumption.
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