At Zaryadye Park plantings evoking Russia’s diverse landscapes shore up a Moscow park marked by showy architecture.
Historically, parks in the Russian capital have been of the formal, symmetrical variety. To say that Zaryadye Park, just steps from Red Square on the north side of the Moscow River, deviates from tradition would be an understatement. A dynamic interweaving of natural elements that evoke Russia’s varied topography with built forms including amphitheatres, a restaurant and a dramatic, boomerang-shaped viewing deck, the 14-hectare site defies easy labelling, although the designers behind it – an international consortium led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) of New York – describe the result as “wild urbanism.”
The wildness comes in the form of gradually descending terraces that recreate four of Russia’s distinctive landscapes: steppe, tundra, forest and wetland. These areas are connected by a meandering network of stone paving that extends like fingers into planting beds. It’s a toss-up which of the built structures is most eye-catching.
On the park’s eastern side, a pair of open-air amphitheatres capped by a heat-retaining glass roof provides all-season performance space. Closer to the river is an elegant V-shaped viewing platform that cantilevers over the water. The latter has already become one of Moscow’s most visited attractions.