For a certain sort of architect, Moscow is a land of opportunity. This capital city is an economic free-for-all where the adventurous can flex their muscles.
Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and Will Alsop are all making their mark on Moscow. But at what cost? As Adam Wilkinson says in his article on pages 18-19, the gung-ho mentality that has embraced the avant-garde has been just as quick to obliterate its architectural heritage and accommodate the monstrous, the superficial and the truly vile. Intent on reinventing itself as a great world city, Moscow favours impact for impact's sake - the distinction between radical architecture and crass monstrosity is neither here nor there.
In a culture of top-down decision-making, dissenting groups can only watch as development continues at an astonishing pace. Statistics newly acquired by the Moscow Architectural Preservation Society suggest that over 1,000 city-centre buildings have been destroyed in the last five years. In a bid to stem the flow, the society is working with SAVE Europe's Heritage to stage an exhibition of 'best practice', designed to demonstrate ways in which conservation and redevelopment can be intelligently reconciled. The exhibition 'Saving Moscow', planned for September, will showcase high-profile buildings such as Tate Modern alongside smaller projects that demonstrate a more generally applicable approach.
The wealth of conservation lobbies and heritage groups that operate in the UK sometimes encourage undue conservatism, but rarely allow for thoughtlessness. Projects that pass for 'everyday' in the UK could be held up as exemplary in Moscow. The exhibition organisers are keen to hear from practitioners who have completed projects which could be relevant.
This could be your chance to energise Muscovites into taking a more thoughtful approach to development, and to show off your expertise to a society with a shortage of relevant experience and an enormous hunger to build.