On a historically charged site in the centre of Moscow, just steps from the Kremlin and Red Square, Zaryadye Park sits on the site of “Russia’s collective past and evolving aspirations”. This centrally located patch of real estate remained unused for the past five years, patiently waiting for its latest incarnation as a vibrant public space.

In 2012, an international competition launched by the City of Moscow netted a winning design by an international design consortium led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) for a unique public park. The winning concept presented a multi-use public space that is simultaneously a park, urban plaza, cultural amenity and community framework for recreational engagement.

Zaryadye Park (which means, the place behind the rows) is a complex layering of natural landscapes over constructed hardscapes, creating an intriguing mix of urban and rural elements that blend the natural with the artificial to form what the architects refer to as “Wild Urbanism”. Combining the historically formal aesthetic of a traditional Russia with a lusher, meandering rural sensibility, the park brings together the elements of central Moscow to provide a link between the city’s central zones.

Laid out in a series of terraced zones, visitors to the park are able to experience four diverse, climatic zones: tundra, steppe, forest and wetland. The zones, layered over each other, form a 14,000sqm combined area of programmed spaces. Main features of the park include a ‘floating’ bridge, media centre, ice cave, nature centre, philharmonic concert hall and amphitheatres.

The floating bridge cantilevers 70m out over the Moscow River, offering visitors unparalleled views of the landscape and the nearby Kremlin. Formed in the shape of the letter V, the bridge hovers over the embankment without a single visible support and can safely hold up to 4000 people simultaneously.

The Zaryadye Park concert hall sits under a glass dome that holds an organ and a transformable stage to serve multiple functions as a concert venue. The hall will contain two venues, a large hall for 1560 seats and a smaller hall that contains 400 seats.

The adjoining amphitheatre is comprised of a covered dome with a “glass bark” exterior to protect visitors from the rain. It is the world’s largest translucent structure that will provide a warm climate under its cover, even in Russia’s harsh winters. Its stepped interior descends smoothly from hill to stage, with wooden seating and paths filled with small pebbles, which form part of the theatre’s natural drainage system. The main amphitheatre can accommodate up to 2500 people. A smaller amphitheatre on the site, which features a media screen for film screenings, concerts and lectures, has been designed to fit 400 people.

In a bid to encourage year-round use of the park, augmented microclimates have been created as part of the sectional overlay construction. The conscious calibration of topography means passive climate-control strategies minimise the wind and help plants to stay greener longer. In addition, the amphitheatres “glass crust” helps to keep the air warmer during the colder months, while the motorised panels can be opened to expel heat in the summer. These engineered microclimates encourage gathering within performance spaces and natural zones.

“We have integrated holistic strategies to keep the park activated year-round including constructed environments that temper the city’s harsh climate; social and cultural programs geared towards nature exploration; and a long-term, sustainable management model,” confirm Citymakers founding partners Petr Kudryavtsev and Andrey Grinev.

City of Moscow
Location Moscow, Russia
Design Consortium Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Hargreaves Associates and Citymakers, Transsolar, Buro Happold, Central Park Conservancy, Directional Logic, Arup, Arteza, Mahpi, and Mosinzhproek
Photography Diller Scofidio + Renfro