LEVS Forum City foto8 min

Forum City

Metropolitan intimacy in Yekaterinburg

Forum City, Yekaterinburg, Russia

The large residential complex of Forum City marries a dynamic metropolitan lifestyle to an intimate urban experience. Nine connected towers offer panoramic views over the city, while restoring the straight grid of the urban plan, creating an engaging street-level atmosphere. The full integration, on all levels of the design, of an ambitious landscape plan creates healthy and lively living environments for a wide range of residents and commercial users. A design that brings together urban planning, architecture and landscaping, to solve some of the most pressing problems facing Russian inner-city life.
LEVS Forum City urban concept min
Urban concept

Repairing the grid

One of the problems in the center of Yekaterinburg is the lack of safe intimacy in the experience of public space. This is often the result of a discontinuous layout of the urban plan in many residential neighbourhoods. When buildings do not align with roads, the street-level experience can become anonymous, distant and non-inviting, marked by characterless open spaces and car parks. This was definitely the case in the district of Forum City.

LEVS Forum City volume concept min
Volume concept

The straight grid is a key historical feature of the city-plan, yet it is often lost in the segmental development of individual projects. Forum City repairs Yekaterinburg’s historical urban grid structure, through a combination of towers and façades that stretch out along the main throughways around this 103.000 m2 plot. By combining a continuous façade along the streets with open towers, the design creates a European-style metropolitan experience inside a residential complex.

Historical elements: brickwork and market

In the nineteenth century, Yekaterinburg was a predominantly brick-built city. Strong façades with details in the brickwork were found all over. Many of these were replaced over the course of the twentieth century with high-rise out of concrete, steel and glass. Our design reflects this transition from past, to present and into the future.

LEVS Forum City brick history min
Historical brick architecture
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Brick architecture Forum City

The outside façades are straight and of red bricks. The brickwork extends to the tenth floor at most, after which the taller towers climb up to a high-point of 100 meter with predominantly aluminium and glass elements. On the inside, facing the inner towers and landscape, the façades are always curved. Diagonal views between them open up towards the skyline of the wider city. This is the cityscape of a new metropolitan lifestyle: a dynamic environment where living, leisure and work blend seamlessly.

LEVS Forum City facade concept2
Concept façade
LEVS Forum City volume concept2
Concept round towers
LEVS Forum City1 min
Selection of impressions
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Brick architecture in Forum City
LEVS Forum City 1 min
Straight outside façade
LEVS Forum City foto9 min
Curved inside façades
LEVS Forum City historic market
Historic market hall in the 1960's

Food-court

Interestingly, the site of Forum City for many years functioned as one of the city’s main open markets. This too is integrated in the plan. The slim and elongated shopping mall that extends along the eastern side of the plot will be directly connected to a semi-public courtyard with plants, benches and a fountain, where residents and visitors can sit down for a drink. The covered food-court that lies in between is simultaneously a hint at the site’s past function as market and an answer to the modern urbanite’s desire for comfortable, safe culinary experiences.

LEVS Forum City7 min
Selection of market hall impressions
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LEVS Forum City section markthal
Integration of the market hall
LEVS Forum City layout market hall min
Market hall lay-out

Inspiring living

The elegantly shaped towers stand in a layered landscape connecting several programs such as cafes, kindergarten, sport facilities and the market hall. This ‘small city’ has its own atmosphere: vital and open, yet also quiet and secluded. It creates an inspiring urban environment that also provides privacy and safety; an innovative approach to modern city life in Russia. From compact apartments of 46 m² to spacious 144 m² luxury penthouses, panoramic views of the city can be enjoyed from a wide variety of floor plans in the towers.

LEVS Forum City apartments min
Variation of apartments
LEVS Forum City interior
Penthouses with double height
Architecture is art that we can live in. The architect who knows how to combine beauty with the convenience of life deserves the highest praise. And that’s exactly what LEVS did.

Forum Group, client

Greening the urban landscape

Even for European standards, the green spaces in this plan are ambitious. For the extensive landscape design, LEVS worked together with S&P Architektura Krajobrazu, with offices in Poland and Russia, and with whom we share the ambition to use integrated landscape plans as a means to deal with concerns over biodiversity, climate change and quality of life in densely urbanized areas.

LEVS Forum City SP0795 min
Selection of landscape impressions
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DSC 5671 min
LEVS Forum City landscape design min
Landscape design

In Forum City, a total of 150 mature trees will be planted, and thousands of shrubs and flowers will be spread out over the park, terraces and rooftops. These are commonly started with saplings, that still need a few years to mature. Planting mature trees, of up to 25 years old, has two important advantages. First, they immediately start making their contributions to air-quality in the neighbourhood. And come next summer, the first renters will be able to enjoy the shade of trees and the cooling effects of large amounts of green surface area around them.

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New public space on the outside
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Semi-public roof tops

By planting a variety of tree species, the park should eventually have live foliage and a changing colour palette year-round. From evergreen pine trees to deciduous trees such as several species of maple. The inside and outside should make for varied and interesting landscapes to explore. All trees come from nurseries in Poland and Germany, specialized in growing them to develop extensive yet compact root-systems, making it possible to transport them over such long distances before planting. Importantly, the landscape covers an underground parking. Typically, it is only possible to lay some grass on top of a parking. Our specific construction of the decks creates deep and stable soils for serious vegetation.

LEVS Forum City landscape post

"Our courtyard is almost ready. Landscape designers and gardeners are busy with landscaping. It is a new type of living. The residential complex of Forum City will welcome you with a green park just inside the courtyard. For walking and living 'like in the nature' in the very heart of the city."

Forum Group, client

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LEVS Forum City meeting min
Meeting in Yekaterinburg

Dreams become reality

It is not a coincidence, however, that a Dutch office is getting involved in this type of large plans. One of the great opportunities for us working in Russia, is to contribute to the production of real quality of life, not only inside the home, but in residential urban environments in general. In the Netherlands, and in Europe more generally, there is a strong tradition in combining the dynamism and activity of a large city with the intimacy of a secluded neighbourhood. Many of the future residents of Forum City too want both.

LEVS Forum City foto7 min
A 'small city' under construction

Open spaces between the towers and the layered park with transitions from semi-public areas to private areas are intended to facilitate the mixing of these two complementary lifestyles. It has become possible for residents to move around, from house to work to leisure activities to day-care centre to doing groceries, all on foot. The private landscapes that connect all these elements in the complex are full of small paths and benches. The plan functions like a small city within a bigger city.

From compact apartment to luxury penthouse, and from sky-bar to a bench in the park. From bicycle stand to parking below the trees, and from medical centre to Sunday market. Our dreams for a new type of metropolitan living environment in the Russian inner city are becoming a reality.

LEVS made the integrated design for architecture and public space in close collaboration with landscape architects S&P Architektura Krajobrazu.

Info

Client
Forum Group
Design
Adriaan Mout, Jurriaan van Stigt, Marianne Loof
Projectteam
Anna Igumnova, Lenka Rezbarikova, Anna Borisova, Irina Vaganova, Surya Steijlen
Program
586 apartments, market hall, retail, cafe, school/ kindergarten, offices, gym, medical centre, underground parking
Location
Yekaterinburg, Russia
Year
2016 –
Landscape design
S&P Architektura Krajobrazu
Photography
Forum Group, S&P Architektura Krajobrazu (landscape photography)
Artist impressions
Moare