Moscow Metro: book-crossing, buskers and alive relationship stands

The discussion titled “The Moscow Metro as seen by an architect and a user”, organised by the Centre strategic development agency, was held in the unusual place of the Museum of the Cold War. The Bunker-42 object in Taganka is also called Stalin’s bunker. It was for him that the strong steel walls with huge intermediate slabs were once erected. 

The Metro as seen by an architect

It is difficult to imagine, but presently there are 203 metro stations in Moscow and 2.5 bln journeys are registered annually. The subway has successfully managed the volumes of transportation for years, and the priority problem now is the comfort of a trip, modern services and the new architecture of the metro rendering it possible to immediately feel its modern character.

Experts think that the architectural image of Moscow directly influences the Muskovites’ health and mood as some of them spend several hours a day travelling via the underground. And the way the stations look helps to form behavioural mechanisms.

This is why the Moscow Metro organised a competition marathon of several architectural competitions for new metro station projects.

— We welcomed all kinds of projects, including the super-creative, challenging, complicated and very simple, — Victoria Raubo, head of the urban initiatives’ department of the Moscow City Architecture Committee, says. — Whilst choosing, the jury paid attention to the identity of a project, and its correspondence to the history of the place. The Solntsevo station is filled with different sunlight effects, and the Nizhniye Mnevniki station is made in black and red colours, with massive columns, in a constructivist style.

The main task of an architect is to deliver users aesthetic pleasure and develop good taste, Victoria affirms. All architectural solutions are very functional, in order to manage a vast passenger flow filling the metro stations daily.

 

The Metro as seen by a user

According to new urban development trends, the subway is considered both as a means of urban transport and as a public space. This is why such projects as book-crossing and Music in the Metro have appeared there, plus new services such as chargers for devices have become available, etc.

The personnel of the centre for low mobility citizens’ service have been increased, the navigation has been improved, and a card payment system has been introduced for passengers’ convenience, Anna Yermalitskaya, head of passenger service development complex, enumerates. According to her, the recently opened stands for alive relationship have become very popular, and anybody may come and get the information they are interested in, including in English. Striking Troika (transport payment) cards in the form of a key fob have appeared and are very popular and not only with the city’s visitors. Their demand has surpassed the offer.

The Moscow Metro cooperates with the city museums. The Park Kultury station has housed a constantly changing exhibition dedicated to the richest collection of the Tretyakov Gallery.

 

The Metro as seen by a sociologist

The Metro is presently more than a means of transport, Moscow sociologist, Oksana Zaporozhets, remarked. People tie the events of their life to the metro stations (“I have grown up on the Belyaievo metro station”, “Let’s have dinner at Pushkinskaya”, “I work at Kiyevskaya”, etc.).

For the capital’s visitors, the metro is both a reliable harbour and a mobile office, because there is Wi-Fi available there with easy access to the Internet. The subway is a skill of life and communication with other people, with constant interaction and becoming accustomed to them. 

Moscow Metro: book-crossing, buskers and alive relationship stands

Furthermore, the crowded metro, as paradoxical as it may seem, has become a place of emotional protection for a person, because there a person is together with others yet simultaneously alone. People are independent and free there, and have an opportunity to relax emotionally.

It is also well known that the main metro stations decorated in the classic style are acknowledged as architectural monuments, and thus are likewise a museum and cultural heritage itself.

Elena MATSEIKO

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