Russia’s Technopark wants to take on Silicon Valley

The legendary success of Silicon Valley has led to many imitators around the world—such as Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Sao Paulo, Brazil—that are trying to catch the same magical, self-sustaining combination of innovation and venture capital.

In Russia, another of these rival high-tech corridors called Skolkovo is being planned on the outskirts of Moscow that uses many green building principles to encourage technological advancements.

Last year, in a competition to house some of the 30,000 people who will populate the vast Skolkovo “Technopark” residential district, Moscow’s Atrium Studio came up with a design for a collaborative space where scientists, researchers and their families could all live together in a communal space that encourages creativity as well as recreation.

Atrium’s design for one such housing community in the D2 section of the Technopark includes a 70,000-square-foot circular complex of five multistory buildings surrounding an open green courtyard. A green roof would also be added atop each of the five buildings to provide added insulation against the frigid Russian winters and reduce the heat-island effect during the summers.

The buildings would house 45 two-story apartments with underground parking and a maximum rental period of five years. Common areas located at the ground floor of three of the dormitory-style housing blocks would be extended underneath the central grassy courtyard, providing a pleasant place for families to interact and for children to play.

The mixture of residential, recreational and commercial buildings is intended to foster a sense of collaboration and the random sharing of ideas that led organically to the success of Silicon Valley, according the Skolkovo’s master plans. By including all of the buildings on one campus, Skolkovo can greatly reduce commute times and is prioritizing walking and cycling for its residents, thus saving on fuel and reducing pollution.

Each of these residential districts would be included in five main “clusters” that focus on certain sectors, including information technology, biomedical science, energy efficiency, nuclear science and aerospace. The entire Skolkovo Technopark campus would be spread across a nearly 1,000-acre serpentine plot of land outside Moscow, sponsored by the Russian government and a group of more than 700 technology partner firms.

All told, the techno-city, scheduled for completion in three main phases through the rest of this decade, says it will use at least 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources, include many passive energy saving designs and adopt state-of-the-art water conservation strategies.

Randy Woods, EarthTechling