Palimpsests of the Urban Fabric

The research focuses primarily on the various stages of fragments of the urban fabric of Moscow as well as the conditions of the outdated museums versus the contemporary art galleries. It is the research that is used for the project ‘The Depository of Forgotten Monuments’.

The common condition of historical cities undergoing numerous changes to their fabric is the fragmented accumulation of layers. What is particularly interesting in a city such as post-Soviet Moscow is how these layers of fragments built up over time can be still legible, regardless of desperate attempts to erase and replace them in tumultuous Russian political climates. Exploring the relationship between new objects and layers of historical fragments, while trying to define ways to analyse their complex structures and utilize their principles. Seeking ways to study, transform and recombine the collected fragments into new structures and organizations, such as grids, fields, patchworks, and networks. A related goal is to utilize such systems as new infrastructures for the collections of spatial fragments, artefacts and products, set within a broader context of the city. The collective search spans several targets and methods.

Tracing additions and erasures within conflicted urban fabric helps identify a particular attitude to the city unique to Moscow. The analysis reveals the needs to reconcile unique identity with global influences, yet unfortunately the common building programmes forces additions that are markedly generic. In opposition to deconstruction, the specifics of reconstruction and preservation options come through. To make the most of the incomplete cycles and reversals of such processes, the investigation focuses on larger infrastructures such as grids and networks that can support various individual fragments. Exploring the possibility for an in-between strategy of generic / specific, the generic infrastructure will support specific identity of the new urban hub.

Images were obtained from a collection of sources including the authors own individual photos.

All drawings and diagrams were produced by the author

Third Year Research Catalogue at the Architectural Association
Research Catalogue for Academic Purposes