When Sobyanin initially collected proposals for Zaryadye Park, Moscow preservationists welcomed the idea. Arkhnadzor, a historical preservation society, lobbied heavily for large-scale archaeological excavations of Zaryadye during the early stages of construction.
“We hoped that they would find something interesting,” Alexander Frolov, an Arkhnadzor member, told The Moscow Times. “It would have been possible to organize an excavation of it, to study a wider area, and to show more of the historic importance and exhibit a larger quantity of objects.”
In 2012, Sobyanin and his crew commissioned a conceptual landscape design from the group who built New York City’s High Line park. The winning project all but ignores the neighborhood’s history. Although Diller Scofidio + Renfro left the district’s 500-year-old buildings on Ulitsa Varvarka untouched.
A Park for the New Millennium
Built from 2013-2017, Zaryadye Park has three layers. At its foundation lies an underground parking garage with space for over 400 cars; from there visitors can access an underground media center and the Philharmonia concert hall, whose glass roofs break above ground surrounded by greenery, rolling hills, and two ponds.
The concept park pays tribute, at least in name, to Russian nature, consisting of four climatic zones: a birch and pine forest, tundra, steppe, and floral meadows. Plants from the warmer Caucasus region are housed under the glass dome, to be heated by solar panels in the winter.