TYPE: urban development
LOCATION: Russia, Irkutsk Region, Irkutsk
AREA: 44.76 ha
CUSTOMER: Irkutsk city administration
STATUS: concept
CREATORS: Alexey Kozmin, Elena Grigoryeva, Mark Meerovich, Olesya Kutsakova, Polina Zaslavskaya, Sergey Zaslavsky, Darya Kremleva, Olesya Semina, Anastasia Repina, Stanislav Sokolov
PARTICIPANTS: Nicolas Bouchaud, Michail Rozhansky.
PARTNERS: Renaissance Urbaine, Center for Independent Social Research

The linear concentration of the shopping function in the historic center of Irkutsk is revealed. The prospects for modernization of the trade axis with its transformation into a modern public space are analyzed.
The concept of comprehensive development of the central part of the city "Irkutsk quarters" is one of the most ambitious projects of the Laboratory. Its aim is the renewal and preservation of the historical image of the entire central part of Irkutsk within the boundaries of the approved historical settlement, the creation of comfortable and coherent architectural environment, accessible to pedestrians walking. In general, the project includes the historical center area of 73 hectares divided into 11 blocks. The project is based on a comprehensive study of the part of the city, carried out in 2014, including negotiations with the owners of the territory. Based on the concept, a package of all necessary town-planning documents was made, the project operator ANO "Irkutsk quarters" ( was created to support the implementation of the project. Architectural and artistic regulations on the basis of the developed project of the cultural codes of Irkutsk are being developed within the framework of the project.

The main postulates of the conception are care about the basic buildings, monuments of history and culture, the scale of development, the historic grid of streets. Following the modern urban planning approaches the conception preserves the historic lines of buildings and does not allow the extension of the streets in these districts.

The basic principles of the concept were:
1. Multifunctionality;
2. Proportionate to the individual;
3. Permeability;
4. Preservation of heritage, respect for history;
5. Modern architecture.

The concept is based on the historical meanings of the area, the main pedestrian framework of the project was the "Shopping Axis" - a historical link between the Bread and Chalk Bazaar, as well as the retail facilities that emerged in the 90s.
The description of the concept proposal starts from a small square near the Church of the Entrance to Jerusalem. The panorama of the down-town opens up from there; a luxurious staircase descends downwards, potentially a very eventful public space.

The staircase descends into a kind of plaza - like the famous Spanish square in Rome. At the foot of the square there is a fountain in memory of the well that once stood there. The square symbolizes the entrance to the wooden Irkutsk. It is proposed to pave it and the sidewalk along Podgornaya Street, in the direction of Block 130, with a wooden pavement, ending with a small triangular square under the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross.

"Mountain" section of Gryaznov Street is the closest fragment of the historic wooden Irkutsk to the 130th Quarter. This stretch of the street has preserved decent examples of wooden architecture, manor houses. Putting it in order, the combination of residential houses with houses, acquiring other functions, could become a space for transition from the 130th quarter to the authentic preserved historic urban environment.

In the triangular block 108 and opposite - housing, hotels and their business and sports and recreational infrastructure. At the same time the architectural solution should be in line with the supportive development, it is a modern architecture.

The new Shopping boulevard starts from the Shopping center, leads to "Karamel" shopping center and continues up to "Irkutsk Shopping Center" block - it is the main public axis of this part of the city.

The building of "Shanghai City" as well as the history of this place provoke the creation in the block 102 Chinatown, but at a high level of development. The large courtyard behind Shanghai City should be the entrance plaza to the new Chinatown. The new buildings in Sofia Perovskaya Street are to be in keeping with the original buildings, facing the street with modern, neutral facades and moderate decor. Bright Chinese themes are directed inside the passageway and intra-block squares.