Moscow gets breath of fresh air with new park plan | World news | theguardian.com

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For six years, it has been a wasteland in the heart of the Russian capital, fenced off and forlorn. Soon, however, Zaryadye will be home to an ultra-modern park featuring sleek glass architecture and artificial microclimates.

The area, just a few steps from St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin, was cleared of houses during the Stalin era for the construction of a huge skyscraper. That plan was shelved and in its place, the vast Hotel Rossiya was built during the 1960s. With more than 3,000 rooms, at the time it was the largest hotel in the world – and many also thought one of the ugliest. Its hulking facade dominated views of the Kremlin and Red Square.

It was torn down in 2006, but while other Soviet behemoths were replaced with western five-star hotels, the site of the Rossiya remained a derelict wasteland. British architect Norman Foster was due to design a complex including a luxury hotel on the plot, but it never got off the ground.

Then, last January, President Putin went for a stroll around the grounds and told Moscow’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin that he thought it was a good spot for a park. The mayoralty said it would draw up proposals for the site, and a competition open to Russian and international design firms was announced.

via Moscow gets breath of fresh air with new park plan | World news | theguardian.com.

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