RMJM’s ‘hanging gardens’ get the green light in Ekaterinburg
As Russia's third largest city with 1.3 million people, Ekaterinburg should expect a higher profile. Yet the city has flown under the radar since it was founded in 1723, until now. Capital of the vast Ural region on the edge of Siberia, Ekaterinburg is currently enjoying an unprecedented level of investment. As the city aims to become a regional business hub on a par with Moscow, an international design competition for a new landmark development in the city has been won by an international alliance and is set to raise the city's profile.
Russian developer Vector-Stroy, French holding Vinci Construction Grands Projets and UK-based international architectural firm RMJM will collaborate on 'hanging gardens', a mixed-use development including 46,000 sq m of serviced apartments, an international standard five star hotel and the world’s first vertical park which will run through the core of the proposed building.
Forming the heart of a new arts, culture and sports quarter on the banks of the river Iset, the arched form of the proposed 100 metre structure echoes the poetic curves of the city’s Byzantine Temple of Blood. And behind the glass and steel exterior of the tower will lie a vertical, hanging evergreen park running through the atrium at the heart of the building. Designed with access for the general public as well as those who live and work in the building the park is thought to be the first of its kind in the world.
Matt Cartwright, director of RMJM, the architects behind the scheme, explains the thinking behind the unusual idea: “Like many cities in Russia, extreme climates in summer and winter prohibit many people from enjoying public parks and spaces. We decided to bring the outdoors inside and provide the public with a park they can enjoy year round.
“Ekaterinburg is a city steeped in tradition but which also has a bright future ahead. This new development heralds the start of a new era and signals the investment being made to return Ekaterinburg to the great city it once was.”
The design team explored ways of reducing the energy consumption of the building and it is expected that this development will become a new environmental benchmark for the city. The atrium, for example, will also act as thermal buffer zone to control the building’s temperature.
The vertical park is topped by a public sky park at the building’s pinnacle offering panoramic views of Ekaterinburg and beyond.