Cities of Tomorrow: Starchitects Zaha Hadid and Sir Norman Foster are reimagining the modern metropolis in Russia and India

Cities of Tomorrow: Starchitects Zaha Hadid and Sir Norman Foster are reimagining the modern metropolis in Russia and India

Concrete visions

Text: Aravin Sandran

Image: Foster + Partners
Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

Who: Foster + Partners

Where: Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh, India

What: Foster + Partners has designed the masterplan for the new government complex in Amaravati, the new administrative capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Situated on the banks of the River Krishna, the governmental complex is inspired by Lutyen's New Delhi and New York's Central Park, where a clearly defined green spine runs through its length, providing the foundation of the masterplan's environmental strategy, where at least 60% of the area is occupied by greenery or water.

The city will be one of the most sustainable in the world, utilising the latest technologies such as photovoltaics, the science behind solar energy. The transportation strategy includes electric vehicles, water taxis, and dedicated cycle routes, along with shaded streets and squares that will encourage people to walk through the city.

The masterplan has also considered the traditional Hindu system of architecture called Vastu, the South Asian counterpart to Feng Shui as well as the country's ancient stupas and storied temples.

Out of the 13 urban plazas, the centre focus of the masterplan is the 250-metre high conical roofed legislative assembly building, which is meant to be a democratic and cultural symbol for the state's people.

Sitting within a large freshwater lake, the building is designed to be a void, akin to a courtyard. Publicly accessible for most of the year, a spiral ramp takes visitors up to the cultural museum and the viewing gallery from which they can experience ministerial debates in progress.

Who: Zaha Hadid Architects

Where: Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye, Moscow, Russia

What: Zaha Hadid Architects has been selected to build a smart city in the west of Moscow in Russia. With Moscow's population increasing by over 30% in the past 20 years, the new Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye neighbourhood is integral to accomodating the Russian capital's continued growth and increased congestion at the city's centre.

The masterplan will include new homes for 66,500 residents in addition to new schools, medical clinics, transport infrastructure and shopping districts as well as new civic and cultural instituitions. It will also accomodate 800,000 square metres of office space for Moscow's growing financial, consulting, legal and auditing sectors. In total, 4 million square metres of new buildings will be developed over 460 hectares. A third of the neighbourhood will be parklands and forest bordering the Moscow River with a 30-hectare lake at its centre.

A new 19 kilometre metro line is scheduled to begin construction in 2020 to connect the district with the interchange station of Moscow's Metro system.

The district will be a global benchmark for smart, sustainable cities. The urban planning project will optimise the consumption and production of sustainable local energy sources while integrating electric mobility.

Founded on research and studies that conclude people's well-being and happiness increases with greater intereaction with their local community, the design creates a diverse ecology of spaces for living, working, education or leisure to encourage engagement and communication.

Christos Passes, project direction at Zaha Hadid Architects, explained: "We developed a people-centric design for a smart interconnected city that brings people together not only through innovative technology but also through organising the public realm. It integrates principles of openess and inclusivity in high quality architecture suited for the 21st century."

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