Strelka Institute 23.06.10

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The Strelka construction site in the converted garages of the former Red October chocolate factory in Moscow

On an island by the Kremlin, in the converted garages of the former Red October chocolate factory, a new school has been unwrapped. Strelka (Russian for "arrow") is a post-graduate Institute for Media, Architecture and Design run in collaboration with Rem Koolhaa's in-house think tank AMO. It aims to "educate professionals as a means of developing society", sums up its president, Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper.

"We've had a gloomy monopoly here for too long. Architecture and urbanism are at a dead-end", he says, referring to the state of Moscow's ruthless real-estate market. He feels Koolhaas will help stimulate unorthodox decision-making, providing an opportunity for "public dialogue, which is currently non existent".

Focusing on topics "pertinent worldwide, and particularly urgent in Russia" the AMO-designed programme is intended to introduce "research as the most essential basis of architectural education". Energy, Design, Public Space, Preservation and Thinning will form a curriculum for the 25-40 brightest applicants from across the post-Soviet landscape, with10-15% of students coming from abroad – elite in talent not background.

The course is free, funded independently and governed by a steering committee including patrons Sergey Adonyev and Alexander Mamut, as well as architects Wowhaus.

The Strelka kicks off with a "summer school" made up of public events that provide a grand tour of topical urbanism. A host of international designers and organizations are running workshops to re-think Russian cities, taking in a range of topics from psycho-geography to ludic digital networks to a programme on activism curated by icon editor Justin McGuirk.

The concluding event, entitled 'Russia TM' and partnered with Droog Lab and Heatherwick Studio, aims to "change the image of the country and improve its visual presence in the world". Will this rethink make Russian cities more flaneur friendly?

www.strelkainstitute.com

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Rem Koolhaas speaking at the Strelka Institute

 

 Words

Maria Lisogorskaya

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It aims to "educate professionals as a means of developing society", sums up its president, Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper

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