ETU “LETI”: Finalists for Contest to Transform LETI Spaces Announced

June 24, the International Jury met to announce finalists of the Contest “LETI – Future Academic Spaces” with renovation projects of the four university’s public spaces. Previously, the jury of renowned international and Russian architects and LETI representatives evaluated 154 works of semifinalists chosen from 225 works submitted to the contest. In each nomination, only five works can take part in the final stage. The participating young architects are from 18 universities and architectural firms from Russia, Austria, the UK, Taiwan, Egypt, India, and Syria.

The Vologdin Garden site in the inner yard of Building D attracted the largest number of contesting projects. Nikolay Lysenko, professor and member of the LETI History Council, announced the winner projects in this nomination. They were designed by young architects from the Reparametrize Studio (Austria), SPbGASU, Ilya Repin Academy of Arts, and National United University (Taiwan).

Names of the finalists in the Forum nomination were announced by Vladimir Linov, Associate Professor of SPbGASU. This site is the place for public events and active recreation in the green open space bordering on a future mixed-use building. As explained by Vladimir, in this case, the jury prioritized the future multifunctionality of the space, the novel design of the new building, and the realizability of the project. Finalists in this nomination are students from SPbGASU, National United University (Taiwan), and Stieglitz Academy.

Another jury member Pekka Helin, Founder of Helin & Co Architects (Finland), commented: “In this category, my best choice was the work of D&A LAB from Taiwan. This work shows a kind of submersion, deep understanding of the subject and space, which is an intrinsic quality in all academic spaces.”

Ksenia Diogenova, the representative of LETI’s student organizations and future users of the designed spaces, named finalists in the American Lounges nomination, in which contestants proposed innovative and comfortable public spaces for students. Best in this nomination were projects by young architects from the Higher School of Economics, SPbGASU, and St. Petersburg State University.\

Finalists of the fourth nomination, LETI Entrance Space, were presented by Yuri Kashuba, a jury member from St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design. The importance of this space cannot be overestimated. And this nomination turned out to be the most “international.” Its finalists are from the Oxford Brookes University (UK), SPbGASU, National United University (Taiwan), and the Design School of the Higher School of Economics.

“In comparison with other nominations, the entrance should have a more pronounced communication and information functionality, combined with security issues, whereas in others contestants can concentrate on ergonomics, usability, comfort, etc.”

Mitya Kharshak, Head of the HSE Design school
The professional jury felt free to share critical remarks about the contesting projects.

Pascal Leistra (TU Delft, the Netherlands) noted that most of the projects failed to deliver the unique generic atmosphere of the LETI campus, which, for example, was present in the students’ videos on site.

Ruud Reitelsperger (Observatorium, the Netherlands) commented that he missed a little bit the “crazy ideas”: “With years all have to become very serious. Be crazy while you are young! It would be great if the final design is more experimental or radical because that is what we get inspiration from.”

Mitya Kharshak (HSE, St. Petersburg) expected that more modern technologies, which LETI is famous for, would be integrated into the projects. This is especially applicable to the Entrance nomination. This space has the potential of being the hallmark of Innovative LETI.

The finalists’ projects will be exhibited in the public spaces of the LETI campus and on the university website. Winners will be chosen by public voting and announced in autumn, at the conference “Universities on the Move” dedicated to the development of universities in the urban environment.

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