Vaskhnil Novosibirsk: A public space framework for a new residential area

The masterplan, made by KCAP, is part of a family of three sites in the south-west of Novosibirsk, surrounded by largely agricultural fields and the Vaskhnil Agricultural Research Institute. The aim of the project is to create an intimate urban area that mixes lower buildings, intimate landscapes and shared public spaces, in contrast with the standard high-rise developments in Russia.



The masterplan fits within an existing framework of a circular-shaped approved local plan, but is reinterpreted through a contrasting public space and landscape network. The open space is composed of different layers, operating on multiple scales.


‘’Together they play with the sequence of individual and public spaces, from block to urban quarter to regional landscape.’’

The strategy begins with the preservation of the existing forest patches, creating natural breaks in the urban development and connections to the surrounding landscape. The green ring, as a circular park, integrates the forest patches into a public landscape zone that links together the entire district. The ring crosses the green strips, linear parks running through the blocks as the identity carriers of each neighbourhood. The strips are the link to the individual courtyards, creating enclosed private spaces for each block.



VASKhNIL was the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the Soviet Union (the acronym stands for Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences). The main public space structures interprete the agriculture theme as placemaking principle in different ways. The courtyards are herbgardens for the block, the green strips are picking gardens for the neighborhood, the circular park an eco-circle for the urban quarter. Food production in relation to nature is the story this new development of Vaskhnil tells, and adds to the rich history of Vaskhnil as Academy of Agricultural Sciences.


The design of the courtyards is part of the masterplan of Vaskhnil, a new urban quarter in Novosibirsk. The first phase involves the design of the courtyards, as part of the open space strategy for the whole quarter.


‘’The agricultural history of the site is used as an inspiration to organize the main public spaces.’’

In wine regions roses are planted in the vineyards. Insects that harm vines, like roses more than vines. So that’s where they go first. When they are infected, that’s a sign for the winemaker to protect his plants. The roses add both a romantic and functional element to the functional organisation of vineyards.
In parallel to the production grounds, the courtyards are designed as solid spatial structures. A toolbox is developed, dealing with the functional organisation. The same elements are used in all the courtyards, but in a different configuration based on the block. The tools deal with the edges, organise the circulation, and the green/planting.

The principle of ‘signal crops’ is used to add an aberrant ‘special identity carrier to each block. Parallel to the use of roses in vineyards, these specials combine functional aspects with added spatial identity: in the shape of a butterfly -referring to the insects the roses attract in the vineyards- the playgrounds are organised.




Vaskhnil Novosibirsk: A public space framework for a new residential area
Location | Novosibirsk, Russia
Client | Sibacademstroy LLC, Engineering LLC
Year | 2013
Design Companies: Felixx + KCAP
Team: Michiel Van Driessche, Marnix Vink, Deborah Lambert, Carlijn Klomp, Albane Poirier

Images & Text | Felixx + KCAP

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About Damian Holmes 5668 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at