The Krymskaya embankment in Moscow has received a thorough facelift. New territories were joined with the Muzeon Park of Arts, no longer hidden behind a fence, that now stretches all the way to the banks of the Moskvariver. The architectural design for the new landscape park was done by Wowhaus Architects.
The decision to turn the Krymskaya embankment into an urban landscape park was made on February 14, 2013 at the first session of the public space committee under the Mayor of Moscow. A project plan was presented by committee members Dmitry Likin and Oleg Shapiro. Construction began in April 2013 and now the landscape park is ready for its first visitors.
The reshaping of Krymskaya embankment is a part of a project to integrate underdeveloped Moscow’s embankments into city life. The initial concept of Wowhaus was to create a pedestrian route connecting Vorobyovyhills, Neskuchny Garden, Gorky Park, Bolotny Island, and Boulevard ring, the Krymskaya embankment being a part of this route.
The architects aimed to turn a quiet four-lane road into a new city landmark, thereby giving life to the deserted area of Muzeon park between the Central House of Artists and the Moskvariver. A fence separating the embankment and Muzeon was removed as well as a gas station, thus uniting this zone with the park.
The transformed Krymskaya embankment is the first year-round landscape park in the centre of Moscow. The wave-shaped multilevel layout can be used for walking, cycling or roller-skating in the summer while inwinter it is a perfect setup for sledding, skating or skiing. The main architectural element is a wave: the embankment was filled with wave-shaped benches, pedestrian and cycling waves that create an artificial landscape.
The following principles were applied in landscaping the park, all of them new to Moscow:
The use of perennial plants that do not require replanting every year, and the planting of lindens in special boxes that keep the rootstock compact and are equipped with ventilation and watering systems to help the trees survive in the aggressive urban environment. The modernist feel of the area near the Central House of Artists called for contemporary lighting decisions – instead of ''historic'' park lamps accurately adjusted special lighting was introduced to highlight the architectural expressiveness of small objects as well as the landscape. In addition, dynamic colour lighting was used to go together with the water streams of the ''dry'' fountain, a technology rarely found in Russia.
For the planning purposes, the park area was divided into four parts: an area in front of the bridge, an artists’ zone around a ''Vernissage'' pavilion, the Fountain square and ''Green Hills''.
Under the Krymsky Bridge A transit zone connecting Gorky Park with the Krymsky embankment has become a popular spot and also provides shelter from the rain now that a stage, and two wooden amphitheatres have been built. 28 solid surface and metal benches illuminated from the inside are scattered along the way for the comfort of pedestrians and cyclists from Muzeon to Gorky park.
Vernissage zone The entrance of Muzeon is a 210 meter wooden vernissagewith a wave-shaped roof (the pavilion was designed by ASSE ARCHITECTS). This main prominent object is a transit zone from Gorky park to the main part of the embankment, a meeting point for visitors of both parks.
Fountain zone The fountain zone which is the central element of the new park, faces the Central House of Artists and is separated from the river by a linden alley.
A fountain jet, 60 metre long and 14 metre wide, is one of the options of the so called ''dry'' fountains when the edge of the water is level with the paving. It does not have a basin that is filled with water – instead 203 controlled sprayers are installed right in the paving of the embankment. Jets are placed at the same intervals as the lindens along the alley. Over 400 lamps provide multi-colour illumination at night. The fountain has an internal system of dynamic lighting that allows various lighting patterns.
“Green Hills” The main leisure zones are found in the eastern part of the embankment. When planning this part of the pedestrian route special attention was paid to the artificial landscape and planting. Hills designed for walking and resting were furnished mainly with steppe plants. Trees and bushes with decorative crowns like lindens, hawthorns, rowan trees and ornamental apple trees were planted on hills from where one can contemplate and admire the scenery.
These hills are divided by pedestrian and cycling lanes. The artificial relief is accentuated by wave-shaped wooden benches and beach beds that are ''cut'' into hills between walking lanes. There is also an artificial pond in this part of the park.
Pavilions Three pavilions have been built on the Krymskayaembankment, the fourth one will be completed by the end of 2013. The pavilion at the eastern entrance to the park functions as bike rental and is equipped with a concrete roof ramp for bikes or skateboards. All pavilions feature an extensive use of glass, some of them even use structural glass shapes - U-shaped toughened glass with high bearing capacity. Structural glass shapes were fairly popular in Soviet times but were later abandoned and are no longer produced in Russia. Now it is considered an innovative material and is imported from Germany.
Heating calculations are based on Moscow’s climate, therefore despite the abundance of glass it will not be cold in the pavilions in the winter.
Lighting solutions To make the park accessible and attractive for guests 24 hours a day, planning takes into account night time illumination, especially the point lighting of certain landscape elements. Ornamental lamps installed in groups among plants on the hills illuminate the area and create a striking visual. All the lanes are illuminated as well so that pedestrians and cyclists do not get lost. On the Fountain Square the ''dry'' fountain together with the linden alley make up a lighting composition that combines the dynamic colour lighting of the fountain jets with the softer warm-white illumination of the regular rows in the linden alley. Every pavilion on the Krymskaya embankment glows from the inside and besides being a safe spot doubles as a lighting element of the park.