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Reka Mira

Reka Mira (Russian: River of Peace) is a development project of local tourism – rafting on the Nerl River between the two ancient Russian cities of Suzdal and Vladimir. The request was to create tourist infrastructure along the way: camping space, shower, toilet, big picnic table, contemplation spot and others. Besides their functionality the facilities should be iconic and visible from the river.

Reka Mira is a non-profit project which aims to help shrinking population of small villages apply their skills through the development of tourism along the river where those villages stand. With the budget limits and amount of work to be done it was decided to call for volunteers among young architects and students into the process of design and construction. The curators set a series of design and craft workshops for them before the actual design process. Several field trips and research activities were organized to study Russian wooden architecture techniques, especially for flooded areas, the construction of traditional Russian oven and glazed ceramic tiles. The design of the tiles was inspired by the research field trip to Suzdal town together with history expert. Local visual code was translated into set of symbols which were put into tiles design.

The construction was made during several shifts in 2018 and 2019 mostly by the same people participated in the design and craft workshops. It was especially helpful for young architects and students who studied material properties in practice. The raft was made in order to build objects on the opposite side of the river. It was used to deliver the construction materials and people.

The construction was constrained by the possibilities of local sawmill. The available wooden elements slightly changed the initial design and gave all objects specific look.

The idea was to make the objects visible and recognizable but very contextual, beautifully aged and a bit “wild”. As though they were here for a long time. The facilities are orientated to be visible from the river and to provide view when you are inside. For example, the magnificent view to the river opens while you eating at the big table, the view to the meadow when you take shower. Visiting toilet is also quite an experience: the one should climb the staircase from where a forest view for contemplation opens.

All objects were gratefully appraised by local residents. They use these infrastructure even more actively than the tourists. The project is still developing and there are other educational and construction activities planned for 2020 for local children.

Name of the project: Reka Mira
Project category: Public Project
Role of the entrant in the project: Curator, Architectural design, Construction
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (if any):
Andrey Popov and Evgeniya Kazarnovskaya – ideologists and co-authors of the project Reka Mira
Olga Rokal and Xenia Rakovskaya – curators of the research, design, craft and volunteer programs
Stas Dervoedov – technical director of volunteer construction
Project location: Russia, Suzdal and Vladimir Region, Nerl River
Design year: 2018-2019
Year Built: 2018-2019

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