In the center of Kaluga, right in the middle of Stepan Razin Street there is a boulevard, sad as a Monday morning. To its sides are trees and grass with bald patches, in the middle is a paved triumphal pathway adorned every couple of steps with the traditional architectural duet of a bench and a trash can.
It feels that there’s simply too much beauty per square foot here.
The boulevard is located close to the local university yet still looks abandoned. Students don’t go here to hang out between lectures, don’t take photos for their Instagram accounts and don’t sit on the benches pensively swiping in Tinder.
We came up with a way to turn this sad provincial boulevard into a pleasant public space.
The face of the project and its gem is a striking portal at the entrance closest to the university. It’s strict but energetic, simple but expressive.
Inside, the portal is paneled with wood and illuminated. It can be easily seen from the street or from any place in the renovated territory, in any time of day.
The entrance zone contains lawns, benches and lamps of laconic shapes. The benches are made form the same materials and in the same colors as the portal.
The boulevard is separated from the road with a hedge of trees and shrubs. A winding path with rubberized pavement for children entwines the straight alleyway.
The path meanders into the green zone from time to time making playing hide and seek even more fun.
Rest areas are accented with colored concrete tiles. The roomy swings are designed for both children and adults.
At the end of the boulevard is a space encircled by a comfortable bench.
A set of modern street furniture was created specifically for the project.
In conclusion, a couple of thoughts.
More often than not, public spaces try to fit neatly into the environment. Our boulevard could not afford such luxury: it is surrounded by five-story apartment buildings that look oddly like shoe boxes.
The renewed area on Stepan Razin Street turned out foreign to its surroundings but in a good way: it’s bright, cheerful, modern. Even the character of the boulevard has changed: previously, all you wanted was to crawl to its end, collapse on a bench, bury your face in your hands and sob about the aesthetic imperfection of the world.
Today it’s a space that makes you want to come with friends, sit on a bench and trade funny stories till dark.