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An idea called Strelka 2 Rem Koolhaas speaks at the Strelka launch 4 Vision and strategy 6 Programme 8 Research themes 10 Public space 12 Preservation 14 Thinning 16 Design 18 Energy 20 Location 22 Facilities and resources 24 A social space 26 Summer at Strelka 28 Admissions and contacts 32

An idea called Strelka

Venice is where the idea of Strelka was born. In June 2009, I was having lunch here with Sergey Adonyev, Dmitry Likin, Alexander Mamut and Oleg Shapiro during the art biennale. In this beautiful setting, we found ourselves talking about the fate of Russian cities particularly the ones in which we live, Moscow and St Petersburg. Given our compatriots wealth, we asked, how had we failed to turn our cities into more livable places? We decided that we could not stand by as Russian cities become dystopias and our attitude to the urban environment ever more cynical. School is where change should start. We want to see a new generation of practitioners, acquiring a new body of knowledge, breaking the barriers that monopolies construct, engaged in a new conversation. Thus an idea of Strelka, an institute of media, architecture and design, was born. We decided that the education should be free crucial in a country as unequal as Russia open to international students (and thus conducted in English) and interdisciplinary. We invited Rem Koolhaas and OMA to develop the educational programme. Only Koolhaas, with his analytical approach to architecture and his lifelong interest in Russia, has the will and the breadth of vision to address the problems that led to the creation of Strelka. Fourteen months after that first conversation, we are back in Venice. This time, its to present Strelka at the Mostra. I am proud of what we have achieved: a wonderful spot just across the river from the Kremlin, hundreds of students applying, an unexpected outpouring of goodwill from all corners of Russian society and even the liveliest bar in Moscow. Working with Rem, one of the sharpest minds of our time, was one of the joys of developing this project, and an education in itself. I look forward to seeing the school grow, and to watching it change tomorrow it may be more than we even dared to imagine. If we are able to offer a lesson to the world, let it be about the possibility of creating a wonder in Moscow as in Venice. Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper President Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design
Sergey Adonyev Ilya OskolkovTsentsiper Oleg Shapiro Dmitry Likin Alexander Mamut

Founders of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design

Photo by Slava Fillipov for GQ Russia

Rem Koolhaas speaks at the Strelka launch

Moscow, 25 May 2010 I think what unites all of us is the interest in architecture, and architecture is a very old profession. It is maybe 3,000 years old, and possibly one of the oldest professions. Our theory is that architecture has changed more in the last 30 years than in the previous 3,000. The reason is that the market economy whether we look at Europe, America, Russia or China has fundamentally changed the role of the architect. We are no longer working for the public sector and we are no longer an expression of the values of any given society, but we work, more often than not, for private interests. Therefore, instead of being public figures we have become extensions of the private sector. I think this shift has made a radical difference that we havent really understood yet. It has changed not only the nature of architecture, but also the nature of the architect. A terrible word has been invented: Starchitect. It means that architects theoretically have become more important, but are also taken less seriously, and what they can do in the world is actually less important than it used to be. So we are famous but unserious at the same time. This is one important condition. The second important condition is that architecture used to be initiated by the West. In a way, we defined the terms of architecture, the avant-garde of architecture, and the aesthetic of architecture, but this initiative has gradually moved East. If we look at the speed with which cities and buildings are made, and if we look at the most important buildings generated in the last 10 years, they are all in Asia. Western architects are no longer the masters. There is a third important complication. We assume that democracy is the precondition of architectural engagement, but we now work in many systems that are less than full democracies. Many states where we work are either completely authoritarian or half democratic. Therefore, the natural relationship between architecture and the right political system is also changing. This requires a new kind of thinking. The classical education of the architect as it is taught in the vast majority of schools is no longer enough to guide us through the different political and economical systems, and through the difficult contexts in which architects have to operate. For all these reasons it has been very interesting for us to connect to Strelka, to support their initiative and to develop with Strelka a different way of looking at architecture: not necessarily focused on the general improvement of design, but with the intention of introducing the concept of research as the most essential basis of architectural education. It is a system that I personally have experimented with at Harvard, and which I am now profoundly happy to test on a larger scale with more people involved, including Reinier de Graaf and Michael Schindhelm, who will introduce and run these interconnected areas of research. We are proposing five different subjects: design, energy, preservation, public space and thinning. We tried to choose the subjects in such a way that they are relevant and urgent to the general situation in the world and in the world of architecture, and that they also have a particular acuteness in Russia. With these five subjects, we hope and we think that we have identified issues that are interesting for a wide range of professionals, not only architects. In each of these subjects there are also overlaps with different disciplines: sociology, art history, and media theory, which will draw a varied student body. What we plan to do is to initiate these five subjects, and we hope to find local people that will run these studios or these research centres with us. The second crucial part of the entire operation is that we plan to consolidate the research into products. We will not only develop research but also broadcast it using the network and connections of Strelka in the different media in Russia. We will also use our own connections to media, and our experience of turning architectural knowledge into products, whether it is books or movies or internet distribution. The mission of Strelka is radical in two senses. Firstly, it is entirely dedicated to research, with five subjects to investigate in the first year. If we generate the right knowledge we will perhaps contribute to a much better understanding of architecture and make architecture perform better in a very new and complex situation. Secondly, we want to distribute and broadcast this knowledge in a way that architectural schools almost never do.

Vision and strategy

Strelka is a post-graduate institute dedicated to developing new perspectives on critical issues in contemporary Russia. At its campus in Moscow, Strelka brings together architects, intellectuals, designers and media professionals in a relationship of creative interdisciplinarity. Each year, the institutes researchers explore a selection of subjects of particular importance to Russian life from the preservation of cities and the dispersal of populations to the future of energy and virtual space. At the end of each six-month research cycle, the Institute broadcasts its work in partnership with a network of publishing, television, web, mobile, and advertising organizations. Strelka operates as a non-profit, tuition-free foundation, independent of both state and free market pressures, providing a haven for inquiry and experimentation, and a crucial new platform for addressing Russian issues inside Russia and out. The Strelka Institutes Educational strategy is founded on a principle of thinking and doing. Because it is independent and unrestricted by the bounds of formal accreditation, Strelkas work can be focused on practical application and production. Instead of a receiving a degree, its researchers generate their own products, media works that evolve from their studies and add critical new perspectives to current discussions. These works are not prototypes but fully realized expressions that are released to the public in partnership with prominent Russian media organizations, such as Afisha publishing, Yota mobile technology, Channel One, and the LiveJournal blogging service. By interweaving research and application, Strelka strives to expand the possibilities of education, architecture, media and design.

The Strelka Institutes yearly activities are divided into three parts. Research at the Institute is organized into six-month cycles which run from January to July. Prior to the start of each cycle, all new researchers participate in a two-month warm-up conference that introduces the years research themes and provides a set of research and production methodologies. The atmosphere throughout the warm-up period is rigorous and social. Researchers are encouraged to get to know one another and to explore Moscow. The conference is structured by a programme of lectures, workshops, and salons, exposing the participants to international educational and professional thinking. It culminates in an eight-day field trip where the researchers apply the previous weeks lessons to create original expressions on one of the years research subjects. Following a winter recess, researchers are distributed into the five research themes, based on their stated preferences and an evaluation by the themes instructors. Over the course of the next six months, researchers explore the themes through academic and field investigations, interviews, consultations and analysis. Throughout this process, the work is guided by a theme Initiator who provides the overall framework for the research, a project Supervisor who oversees its execution, and local Mentors who help translate the work into a media product. The generation of research and application occur in tandem, each reinforcing and inspiring the other. On three occasions during the six-month research cycle, all five themes are reviewed by the Educational Committee of Strelkas Board of Initiators. During these sessions research teams must present and defend their work. At the end of the term, a final review is held after which the teams make improvements to their work in order to prepare it for dissemination through the Russian media. Strelka will release the final products of the research themes over the course of its summer programme.



Research themes
Strelkas educational programme will be structured around five interconnected areas of research that are relevant worldwide and particularly urgent in Russia from the preservation of cities and the dispersal of populations to the future of energy and virtual space. Five themes, five paradoxes Each theme is framed with a paradox that reflects contemporary shifts in architecture and the way it is perceived and inhabited from a social, economic, and cultural perspective. Rather than providing solutions, each paradox describes an apparent impasse that is in fact an opportunity.


ublic space






Research theme:

Public space
As virtual realms become more popular, physical public space has experienced a simultaneous divestment of attention and potential. It is not only the conflict between virtual and real space that defines the nature of public space today, but also the shift from the public to the private sector, morphing formerly free spaces into hybrid commercial zones. When attention is paid to public space, the increase in supervision and surveillance together with a glut of good intentions in the form of more art, more design transforms spaces of spontaneity into pre-programmed, over-determined areas. What comprises public space in Russia? What should be done with the excess of open space produced by monumental Soviet planning? What can be learned from the architecture of improvisation that populated these spaces after the arrival of the market economy? Is there a correlation between the heavily programmed nature of 21st century public space and the relative free-for-all of virtual social spaces? This theme examines the current state of public space in Russia in its physical and virtual manifestations. It calls for a reassessment of the open spaces of Russian cities and a committed architectural engagement in the virtual territories created by new media.

OMA, 2010 All Rights Reserved



We think this site [Apollo 11s lunar landing site] needs to be protected, either as a national landmark or a world heritage site.
Dr. Beth OLeary, anthropologist at New Mexico State University

Research theme:

While our sense of duty (and nostalgia) towards history grows exponentially, actual knowledge and the depth of our memory diminishes. Four percent of the surface of the world is now designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and while 200 years ago the average age of the sites we preserved was 2,000 years, in 1960 the lag time of preservation was cut to 40 years. Today, modernity coexists with a larger and larger territory that is dedicated to its opposite. Preservation is no longer a retroactive idea, applied selectively to the past, but something we look forward to and accommodate in advance. What do we preserve? How can we deal with preservation within the context of a market economy where architecture and cities are often reduced to marketing tools? How do we preserve urban substance without compromising its vitality and capacity to incorporate changing lifestyles? This theme takes Russia as a case study for addressing and reframing preservation within the global context of the free market.

OMA, 2010 All Rights Reserved



Research theme:

Shrinking cities, whose original purpose mining, science, the automotive industry has been eroded or abandoned, are a familiar phenomenon from Siberia to Detroit. But thinning is a concept that extends to ostensibly healthy, burgeoning cities, where extremely low-density living is an accepted consequence of architecture developed primarily for speculation rather than inhabitation. As a result, cities expand, but the density with which they are inhabited is diminishing. Dubai has experienced rapid development, but the occupancy of any new urban substance there hovers around 15 percent. It is not only cities that are undergoing a process of thinning: rural areas are emptying out both as a result of urbanization and the recalibration of small towns and villages to accommodate parttime, urbanite, occupants. Thinning therefore is a process taking place both in cities and the countryside, and as a result both of economic growth and economic stagnation. How does the mobility of Russias population shape its urban environments? How is the decline of certain territories connected to growth of others? If people are moving to cities what happens to the places left behind? Demographic and urban thinning is an international issue in which Russia has intensive experience. This theme will formulate a distinctly Russian perspective for a global conversation.

OMA, 2010 All Rights Reserved



Research theme:


From its outward appearances, one could imagine that design is undergoing a kind of apotheosis. It is referenced as an essential component to nearly every scale of aspiration from the teaspoon to the city and its most accomplished practitioners are worshipped as heroes by people inside the profession and out. But for all the chances and rewards that this would-be Golden Age promises, the professional life of the architect is typically defined by relative weakness and passivity. How is design directly impacted by economics, politics, journalism and other fields

that support it? And conversely, how do the technical aspects of design transform into tactical devices for marketing, city branding and career manufacturing? Design schools have traditionally taught students how to design, but have not looked at how design actually operates in the world. The Strelka design theme will address this inadequacy: over a six-month period, researchers will investigate design in relation to its professional context rather than as a hermetic discipline.

OMA, 2010 All Rights Reserved



Research theme:


As energy security, provision and sustainability become increasingly urgent issues and global awareness of this urgency increases, the scale of action and coordination on the part of governments remains comparatively small. Due to its scale and climatic diversity, Russia has some of the most significant renewable energy potentials in the world. It also has a high degree of centralization that makes efficient exploitation possible. Architecture and regional planning can play a crucial role in this development, but the thinking must extend beyond the comfortable scale of individual buildings.

What happens to Russia when its neighbours are no longer reliant on Russian oil and gas? How to diversify Russias energy-based economy? How can Russias climatic diversity and resource richness be translated into a new approach to power? What is the role of energy in shaping the emerging global order? This theme declares energy as a subject of design and Russia as a platform for innovation.

OMA, 2010 All Rights Reserved



Kremlin >

Strelka is located in the centre of Moscow, on the grounds of the former Red October Chocolate Factory on Bolotny Island, just a few steps away from the Kremlin, the notorious House on the Embankment and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The Institute occupies what were once the factorys garages, which up until 2009 housed the ARTStrelka Cultural Centre.

The Red October Chocolate Factory is rapidly becoming the citys premier cultural destination, which means every day Strelka gains new neighbours: galleries and photostudios, publishing houses and bars, design bureaus and architectural workshops.

Strelka >



Facilities and resources

The Institute is comprised of four studios, a lecture hall, a media library, a large courtyard amphitheatre and Bar Strelka, with its rooftop summer terrace. Classroom facilities include seminar rooms and presentation space, design studios equipped with a drawing table and personal computers with Internet access. The School provides data projectors, digital cameras, large-format plotters, printers, scanners, laser cutters and milling machines for individual use.



A social space
The Strelka bar and restaurant have already established the school as one of Moscows most popular nightlife destinations. The Strelka is the only school in the world that also operates as a vibrant social hotspot, with fine dining, film screenings and regular parties and club nights.



Summer at Strelka
The school was inaugurated in June with the Summer at Strelka public programme, three months of projects and events relating to architecture, design, media and new technology. Broken down into thematic sessions, the programme comprised lectures, workshops and discussions, along with film screenings, concerts and parties at Bar Strelka.



Summer at Strelka


Admissions and contacts

The Strelka Institute welcomes Russian and international postgraduates to apply for the 2010-11 research programme. Candidates with backgrounds in architecture, media and design are especially encouraged to apply, but all backgrounds are welcome. All teaching at Strelka is in English. Strelka has a two-stage application process. The first stage requires the submission of a portfolio and personal statement. The application form is available online at www. strelkastudent2010.com/english.html. All applications will be reviewed by an international committee selected by the Strelka Board, which will evaluate candidates on past achievements and potential for future leadership in their fields. Promising applicants will be invited to stage two of the application process, which consists of an interview in person or over Skype. After all interviews have been conducted, a final evaluation will be made and admissions letters will be sent out. Tuition at Strelka is free. Researchers will be granted a living expenses stipend and a housing allowance if from outside Moscow. Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design 14, bldg.5, Bersenevskaya Embankment Moscow 119072, Russian Federation www.strelkainstitute.com www.strelkastudent2010.com more@strelkainstitute.com Facebook: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Strelka in Russian +7 495 771 7437

Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design OMA, 2010 All Rights Reserved