Architecture of Interaction: Re-thinking Moscow's Apartments
During the social transformation in the 1950’s through to the late 1980’s, thousands of Khrushchyovka* were built in Moscow to cater for the social housing demand after the war. After nearly 70 years of occupation these housing developments and homes have become outdated, overrun and irreparable. The current government strategy is to forcibly relocate families from Khrushchyovka to apartments of ‘equal size’ on the outskirts of Moscow. Even in the newer developments high-density living is seen as temporary and confined to specific life stages. This view is informed by the lack of social space and increase of narrow and dark spaces which are seen to compromise health and safety and is the result of ridged and stringent planning.
This thesis proposes to incorporate the principles of social interaction such as passive contact and low intensity interaction opportunities; which is merely the ability to meet, see and hear and thereby to improve living conditions and bring back a sense community to high-density urban housing in Moscow. It argues that a new planning and design framework for high-density housing through low intensity social contact can promote greater social engagement, which can contribute to people’s wellbeing and happiness.
The development of an urban and architectural framework for greater social interaction will look at creating opportunities for the interaction of people in public and semi-public space. This will provide a method for understanding how social contact can be combined with the provision of private and public space, while looking to promote safety, comfort and healthier living environments. It also recognises the importance of the public and semi-private spaces being governed by the residents and not private entities or individuals.
Khrushchyovka [Хрущёвка] - Housing built in the 1950s-1960s and named after Nikita Khrushchev (First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) 1953-1964.