Address: Kaliningrad, area bounded by Moskovskiy and Leninskiy Avenues, Shevchenko Street and extension of Zarayskaya Street
Client: Kaliningrad Regional Government
Architects: Nikita Yaveyn, Ivan Kozhin, Iliya Grigoriev
The public urban centre on the Royal Mount in Kaliningrad aims to create a full-fledged city centre, which never took shape when Königsberg was Kaliningrad. In our vision the new Royal Mount urban centre consists of three structural blocks, each very distinct in its character, each with its unique set of public spaces.
The westernmost part, the Archaeological Park, is a place of repose, quiet sauntering and contemplation of the city’s history. Its structural and semantic centrepiece is the exposed and preserved basements of the Castle, which gives the park a sombre memorial theme, focuses it and defines its functional layout. In the deeper central part of the ruins, where Schloßhof or the Castle Courtyard used to be, we propose an open-air concert venue with lightweight mobile stage and seating and tents for rainy days.
The central part, the former Schloßplatz or Castle Square is the new core of the city. Apart from purely transitional functions, as the new Central Square it is an ideal place for any large-scale city events: festivals, fairs, parades etc. Utilising the Royal Mount’s ten-metre gradient, the southern extremity of the Square descends in a set of steps towards the Pregel and offers an extensive view of the river and the island.
The easternmost part is the urban quarter itself. In the appearance, structure and layout of this quarter, the features of the former hypostases of the area appear.The odd angles and seemingly haphazard placement of ten irregular volumes evoke memories of medieval grown-not-made layout of the borough of Löbenicht whereupon the quarter actually sits. Position and shape of the city hall derive from the ancient fort of Twangste, where residents of the surrounding Prussian villages used to gather for meetings. Its outline follows the outline of the castle forecourt that was subsequently erected there.
In the immediate vicinity of the city hall, in what used to be known as Müllenberg or Mill slope, there is a new public Boulevard. The Katzbach or Cat’s stream, one that powered the Königsberg watermills since the beginning of the city, has for the last century been nothing more than an underground pipe. We propose to bring it back to the surface and make it the main theme of the Boulevard.
The city hall is the largest of the volumes. It contains a conference centre, an archive, city administration offices and a public centre for municipal and state services. The two upper floors house the Kaliningrad History Museum.Facing the Boulevard there are two office buildings on its north-western end and hotelblock on the south-eastern one. A hotel tower is one hundred metrestall which acts as a landmark and an accent in the silhouette, easily recognised from a long way away.Apart from the afore mentioned public buildings the complex includes five blocks of flats nearer to the north-eastern corner of the quarter. It will provide a convenient accommodation to someone who prefers to stay right in the centre of things, as well as maintain vibrant 24/7 life of the place.
In order to provide the public urban centre with additional interest from citizens, ground floors of all buildings (except the city hall) are filled with various catering, service and leisure facilities. A whole system of open public spaces permeates the block: the pedestrian walkway leading from the main square flows into the inner shopping and restaurant square, from where pedestrian streams flow down into the commercial intra-block alleys. Small, cosy, irregularly shaped Town Square recalls the small squares of ancient European towns. In this way, Royal Mount forms a trinity of complementary squares - cultural, ceremonial and commercial. This ‘triptych’ is not introduced into the landscape of Kaliningrad from outside but rather stems naturally from the urban history of the Royal Mount itself.
With its plastic richness, the silhouette of the new public and business complex more than makes up for the loss of the Royal Castle from the cityscape.The harmony of this picture is ensured by the echo of the traditional peaked outline of Königsberghouses in the new dominant of the complex, and its dialogue with the cathedral's spire on Kant’s island.
City centres by their very nature combine on a relatively compact territory a wide variety of functions: administrative, residential, business, leisure, retail, services etc. In our proposal, the uses and attractions are densely concentrated, mixed and presented in a form of a heterogeneous urban quarter. From an enchanted place where for years and decades the formation of a full-fledged city centre has "failed", the Royal Mount now should be transformed into a "place of power", gathering the energy of positive change and distributing it to the entire city.
Gross floor area: 141 550 sq.m., including:
City Hall : 45 330 sq.m
Residential buildings: 39 430 sq.m
Hotel: 30 800 sq.m.
Office buildings: 25 990 sq.m.