Under Threat: Novosibirsk Akademgorodok Ensemble
Novosibirsk, Russia
DATE: 4/9/2018
Docomomo Russia welcomes the inclusion of the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok in the state register of cultural heritage sites. The Novosibirsk Akademgorodok site was approved by order of the Department of State Protection of Cultural Heritage of Novosibirsk region from 12.01.2015, N 7.

Regarding the Distinguishing Features (subject of protection) of the regional significance of the cultural heritage site, without detracting from the Subject of Protection conducted in preparation, the Russian branch of Docomomo noted several extremely significant shortcomings that cast doubt on the effectiveness of that document in the conservation of the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok" site.

Nevertheless, we have to say that in view of the exceptional value and significant size of the Akademgorodok ensemble, the Subject of Protection should include every single part of the complex - not only individual sites and buildings, but all of its natural and urbanized areas, infrastructures facilities of the building setback lines of streets and driveways, shorelines of streams and bodies of water, and other spatial and compositional characteristics.

Not a single place in the Subject of Protection is referred to as a valuable and protected part of Akademgorodok red lines - the most important elements of urban management. Instead, a description is given of individual, unrelated fragments of facades of research institutes and other buildings. Thus, the key and most dangerous shortcoming of the Subject of Protection is its fragmentation and incompleteness.

In the area of the cultural heritage site the following are not included: coastline area, coastal pine forest and beach of the Novosibirsk water reservoir, microdistrict "Д" - an integral part of the Akademgorodok complex. Item 4.5 of the Subject of Protection is titled Historically Valuable Functional Zoning and yet does not contain any mention of microdistrict "Д", built at the same time and in accordance with the general design of Akademgorodok with microdistricts "A", "Б" and "B". Overall of the 1,700 hectares of the original territory, the Subject of Protection covers only 1,000 hectares.

Given the "average square landscaping of neighborhoods" (p. 26) looks very undervalued and unreasonable, and therefore - a possible reason for future violations of the initial design of Akademgorodok, "sealed" buildings and other abuses. Unfortunately, in the 2000s, such abuses took place - in the center of Akademgorodok construction was approved of several buildings which flagrantly violate the overall design of the original project. The multi-storey residential buildings on Prospekt Academika Koptyuga (buildings 5, 7, 9, 11, 15, 19) break the scale, height characteristics, characteristic density, stylistic features, functional zoning of the existing buildings, which are in need of protection as a cultural heritage site and place of interest.

According to the subject of protection under consideration, also excluded from the list of valuable and protected areas is the Central forest with an area 26 hectares, located between the buildings of scientific institutions and universities, on the north-west side of Prospekt Academika Koptyuga (cadastral plot number 54:35:091485).

In item 9.1 Distinguishing Features (subject of protection) and its sub-items contain information about the Subject of Protection of specific sites (buildings) of Akademgorodoks public areas. For most of them, the list is absolutely insufficient and cannot serve as a basis for the preservation of the original state of these buildings. For example, item Shopping Center, located at the address: Ilycha Street 6, built by an individual project НИИ п/я 45 и НИИЭП АСА СССР
(led by A. Obraztsov, K. Kartashova, architects A. Anisimov, A. Arapov, L. Kononov, I. Milashevskaya, E. Ozol).
In the subject of protection only the following are listed:

1. Layout Features:
1.1. Location of the building.
1.2 Open squares and cour dhonneur between buildings.
2. Three-dimensional characteristics:
2.1. Dimensions of the building in the plan, height.
3. Architectural features:
3.1. Plan type.
3.2. Number of floors.
3.3. Composition of facades.
The color scheme of facades (shades of gray, white, black).

In this list (and later in items 9.1.2, 9.1.3) completely insufficient specifications are given: there are no references to the authentic building materials of the walls and supporting structures; finishing materials; the configuration and material of window frames; the specifications of colors are completely inadequate; interior layout features are not described; original functions also are not referred to in the subject of protection.
The most perplexing subject of protection is the Akademia House of Culture, which includes only the location, volume-spatial characteristics and dimensions of the building in the plan (p., which does not correspond to the real preservation of the original architectural designs.

The subject of protection for buildings of scientific institutions (item 9.1.4.,) on Prospekt Akademika Lavrentiev (bldgs. 1, 3, 5, 9) also include totally inadequate specifications that allow reconstruction and rebuilding, and essentially nothing is preserved.

For example, plans for the first stage of construction of the Eastern bypass tracks were made public in June 2015 and include the release of all transit vehicles between Berdsk highway and Eastern bypass through Akademgorodok on Morskiy Avenue - cutting through the community center and in close proximity to the research institutes of Akademgorodok. An important memorial site - a bust of Academician M. Lavrentiev, the founder of Akademgorodok, is proposed to be transferred its location is excluded in the monuments subject of protection. The noise and air pollution if such an option of movement organization is implemented will affect not only the preservation of the cultural heritage site, but also the scientific work of the research institutes. The present street profile of Morskiy Avenue also is not suited for mass transit transport - the general idea of a city-forest implies walking and cycling, so the proposed scheme of organizing transport is also a public danger. All this stems directly from the fragmentation and incompleteness of the adopted subject of protection of the Cultural Heritage Site.

Adopted Subject of Protection is leading to the loss of the main characteristics, namely:
- functional zoning of an academic research center (with the exception of coastal recreation areas, buffer zone of the Central forest, construction of new housing in the industrial, university, and other areas);
- a diffuse, low-density built environment of medium and low-rise buildings;
- original architectural ensembles of public areas, research institutes, microdistricts "A", "Б", "B" and "Д";
- the original volume-spatial, material and structural designs;
- natural forest ecosystems, and the proportions of forest and built-up areas;

Separately, we note that the status of the cultural heritage site of regional significance is totally inadequate - the vital importance of the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok as a historical urban planning, architectural, natural landscape and memorial complex requires to have the highest protection status - Federal.

Docomomo Russia supports the expertise from September 6, 2013 (Chairman of the expert committee: N.I. Zavyalova, executive secretary: E.A. Shorban, member of the expert committee: M.V. Naschokina) and requests the clarification of Distinguishing Features (Subject of Protection) of the cultural heritage site "Akademgorodok of the Novosibirsk Scientific Center, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Mid-twentieth century." in accordance with its conclusions.

General Secretary DOCOMOMO Russia
N. Vassiliev

docomomo International is aware of the concern that the present situation has produced in architectural and conservation circles worldwide. We fully support our colleagues from Docomomo Russia and the group of experts involved in their efforts to save the invaluable architectural set. The vital importance of the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok ensemble as a historical urban plan, architectural, natural landscape and memorial complex requires the highest Protection Status - Federal.