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Blocks a la Russe. The birth of a new urban doctrine

On the 28th of August 2013 Sergey Kuznetsev, Chief Architect of the city of Moscow announced that all new housing projects in Moscow should be designed according to a new principle - the principle of the urban block. Instead of high rise apartment blocks in open space, from now on developers should construct blocks that will create streets, squares and courtyards: the traditional European City. It was no coincidence that next to Kuznetsev sat Hans Stimmann - the architect of the reconstruction of Berlin after the German unification of 1989.

In its radicality, Kuznetsev's speech was not much different then the one made by Nikita Khruchev in 1954, where he denounced Stalinist architecture and announced the introduction of industrial ways of constructing mass housing. Of course the political situation has changed – this statement can be considered a reflection of an ongoing process rather then a directive – but the result might very well be the same: a revolution in urban development in Russia. Many architects  are in the course of designing projects that adhere to this new principle. The Biennale aims at showing the results and discussing whether this is the new city we are looking for.