On November 19, the oldest city in Russia hosted the final jury meeting of the Open International Competition for the development of a master plan for the Derbent Urban District. Experts reviewed the concepts of the three finalists and chose the best design.
The first place was awarded to a consortium led by Novaya Zemlya, which included Groupe Huit (France), Mae Architects (United Kingdom), West 8 (Netherlands), and NRU HSE (Russia). This international consortium’s master plan is, at its core, human-centered. The key principle is to turn Derbent into a “compact city”, as measured on the human-centered scale; this implies further developing territories that already have an infrastructure in place, and thus prevents the emergence of isolated commuter districts. The architects want Derbent to be green again: Pleasantly landscaped streets with all the proper amenities will link the city districts together and improve the state of the local environment.
The embankment is to be transformed into the city’s main community space. The old industrial zones will be replaced by new hotels, modern multi-purpose residential areas, and natural parks. It will also include a system of continuous pedestrian routes. At the heart of it all will lie a multifunctional waterborne space that will serve as the culmination of the route from the Naryn-Khala fortress to the sea, and a place where the old and the new Derbent meet. The winning project’s goal is to highlight that Derbent stands at a cultural crossroads, where its ancient past meets its future.
Second place was awarded to a consortium led by IND Architects, which also included ADEPT (Denmark), SWA (USA), Knight Frank (Russia), and RussiaDiscovery (Russia). Their master plan has “Derbent spreads its wings” as its motto, as it proposes transforming the city’s outlines by giving it two wings: an urban oasis in the north, including orchards and an innovative agricultural park, and a community of master craftsmen and craftswomen in the south, home to a consumer goods industry hub. The urban garden network is to be enhanced by green streets, the quarries are to be converted into ecoparks, while the Samur-Derbentsky Channel at the mountain foot is to become a linear park, preserving water for the local community.
The historical center should be merged organically with the creative and business clusters, public recreation spaces, and entertainment zones. The embankment could be turned into a park, blending gradually into the natural landscape with its favorable microclimate.
And finally the judges awarded third place to a consortium under the leadership of the Genplan Institute of Moscow (Russia), which also included the Ginzburg Architects Bureau (Russia), and SKTS (Russia). They have thoroughly analyzed the strategic documentation of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Dagestan, as well as industry policy papers. They have also accounted for the current benefits and opportunities presented by Derbent and its agglomeration. The consortium’s architects follow a stage-by-stage principle of urban development, moving from the city center to the suburbs, while retaining a space-efficient urban layout. During the first stage, they propose developing infrastructure and transport, repurposing inactive facilities, and redesigning the embankment. The subsequent stages are to result in the creation of an entirely new urban district, which will be used for residential housing, community interactions, and business purposes, along with an agricultural and industrial complex, and a tourism infrastructure.
Text by Agency for Strategic Development Center (centeragency.org)