The Russian City of the Future Saratov
Location: Saratov, Russia
With the proposal ‘’Weaving Saratov’’, team Karres en Brands, Mandaworks, Kosmos have won the international masterplan competition to transform the decommissioned Saratov-Tsentralny airfield into an ambitious new city centre district. The team was also awarded the design of a climate-adaptive urban park at the heart of the city. Together these two key sites will set the agenda for resilient design practices in both public space and urban planning in Saratov. ‘’Weaving Saratov’’ combines large-scale urban development, with landscape ecologies and architectural interventions to shape the model for the Russian city of the 21st century.
Over the next 10 years the 240ha site of former Tsentralny Airport will be developed into a vibrant new district including more than 3 million m2 in a mix of housing, business, public and cultural venues, and recreational activities. The Glebuchev ravine will be transformed into a climate proof park, combining resilient water storage and cleaning with urban life and amenities. The New City District is the perfect balance between airport heritage and local ecological networks. It will reconnect the city and provide a new centre for Saratov, stitching together the segregated surroundings and repairing the green ravine system. The main framework of the plan is set by the airport infrastructure as former runways become the plan’s principal public space arteries and disused built infrastructure is transformed into public venues adjoining the main green network. These new green arteries span the entire planning area and beyond, connecting to the surroundings and combining recreational amenities, ecology and urban development.
For Saratov to successfully realise the development of its airport site, it requires a connective and contextually respectful urban fabric. Saratov New City modifies the standardised typological development approach to create a contextual and landscape-driven urban extension. Each neighbourhood in Saratov New City grows from its surroundings. Rather than being projected onto the site, four new neighbourhoods rise from the ground up, respecting local landscape conditions and city fabric.
The Glebuchev ravine is the conduit for much of Saratov’s stormwater run-off towards the river Volga and currently acts as a barrier between the historic centre and the new urban expansion areas to the East, including the airport site. A series of proposed bridge connections effectively link new urban areas to old while acting to concentrate public functions and water management infrastructure. These bridges then punctuate and activate the park below as a setting for playgrounds, sports and gym facilities, open café terraces, urban water system interpretation and other public spaces and amenities. As such, the ravine combines a sustainable water collection system with exciting new connections and venues for play and activity, turning climate planning into a tool for community building and vibrant city life.
An intensive selection process narrowed down applications from 67 teams to 5 shortlisted and ultimately 2 selected finalists. Following public voting, the local government announced a joint win between the two finalists. Karres en Brands, Mandaworks and Kosmos will be responsible for the Airport site and Glebuchev Ravine while the City Makers led team will develop plans for Park Pobedy, Peski Island and Zeleny island.