On May 18 and 19 2018 a yearly forum «Living Environment: All about Housing» took place in Kaliningrad. It was organized by Ministry of Construction and DOM.RF with the support from the Russian Government and the Government of the Kaliningrad region. Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design oversaw the program management.
Participants discussed challenges facing the construction industry today – in particular, they spoke about how to move from quantity to quality in housing indexes and form an urban environment that is comfortable for everyone.
The Kaliningrad forum was divided into two blocks: business program for government officials, entrepreneurs and experts in urban planning and «Urban Weekend», open to citizens.
800 participants attended the business program. Among them were representatives of federal and regional authorities from 51 Russian regions, architects, developers and experts in residential environment. Over four sessions they discussed how housing construction stimulates urban development and what should the high-quality and affordable housing in the XXI century be like.
The Governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov opened the forum. According to him, the forum was an important event for the region: «Thanks to the forum we can get a diverse view on the further development of regions from the best Russian and international experts in urban planning and architecture».
Invited speakers included some celebrities of the architectural world – the founder of the MVRDV studio Wini Maas (Netherlands), senior development consultant at MBL Housing and Development Inc Jeffrey Morgan (USA) and partner at Cityförster architecture+urbanism Martin Sobota.
One of the main results of the forum was the launch of the educational program for professionals in architecture and urban construction ARCHITECTS.RF. It is a free educational program aimed at raising domestic professionals and providing Russian cities with qualified personnel.
Also, within the framework of the forum, the winners of the Open International Competition of Architectural Concepts for Standard Housing in Russia were awarded. Grupo H (Slovenia), ESHER LLC (Russia), T.A.R.I-Architects (Italy), COMRADE ARCHITECTS LLC (Russia) and architectural bureau PLAN_B (Russia) took the first places. Each winner of the contest received a prize of 2 million rubles. The prize fund for other finalists was from 1 to 1,5 million rubles.
The «Urban Weekend» festival offered a new look at the potential of the region and the city for its residents. Apart from lectures and workshops, the program included a big picnic with gastronomy projects from all over Russia, tours to non-touristic parts of Kaliningrad organized by the locals, lectures from the ambassadors of the city changes, an open-air concert and a night market. Overall, two days accommodated 20 events.