A guide to creative Russia
The last twenty years of architecture has added little but bog-standard steel-and-glass office blocks to the limited palate of the Russian cityscape — the usual glinting onion domes, pompous Stalinist neoclassicism and crumbling tower blocks. But lately some architects have dared to differ and turned bold blueprints into bricks and mortar. Here’s our pick of the best Russian buildings of the last decade.
David Adjaye’s School of Management, Skolkovo
Drawing inspiration from works of Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich, British architect David Adjaye designed a building that is reflective of both the rebellious nature of Russian art and the innovation agenda of Skolkovo, a government-sponsored tech research centre opened in 2010 as part of a plan to turn a sleepy village outside Moscow into a Russian Silicon Valley.
The Red Guest House, Pirogovo
These prefabricated wooden cottages elevated on steel legs at the Pirogovo Luxury Resort outside Moscow seem to recall the houses of Japanese samurai. Their unique shape is accentuated by the striking red colour.
Fisht Stadium, Sochi
The 40,000-seater stadium, currently under construction, will hold the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Its massive, eccentric arches give the impression of a gigantic sea creature thrown from the depths of Black Sea and anchored between the mountains, sky and water.
House on Mosfilmovskaya, Moscow
An award-winning complex of towers designed by architect Sergey Skuratov. This building was almost demolished before it was completed when former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov decided that it “breached the height limit” in a city filled with skyscrapers. Luckily the building outlived the mayor and is now one of the most sustainable residential complexes in Moscow.
General Staff Building Restoration, St Petersburg
The new modern art extension of the State Hermitage Museum, this magnificent development will not only house the twentieth-century treasures of Russia’s biggest museum, but also host large-scale shows by leading contemporary artists from around the world. The building’s main atrium recalls the opulent Jordan Staircase in the neighbouring Winter Palace and will function as a new concert and exhibition space.
Posolsky House, Moscow
This minimalist residential building flirts with motifs from Moscow constructivist masterpiece Melnikov House, but remains a completely modern building that integrates harmoniously into a residential area in central Moscow.
Last year photographer and fashion journalist Dmitry Shabalin spent a month capturing three of Russia's most high-profile performance artists in action: Sasha Frolova, known in Moscow fashion circles as Latex Superwoman; Roman Ermakov, an architect and creator of “living” sculptures; and Andrey Bartenev, who took him on a journey into the the Russian woods and fields, along with a full team of green-clad performers. The results are beguiling.

View the full gallery on The Calvert Journal.

The Shortlist gives you the inside track on contemporary Russian culture. Every fortnight the team at The Calvert Journal shares a handpicked selection of our favourite people, places and products.

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