Why will rental houses be developed in Russia?

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Why will rental houses be developed in Russia?
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The Housing Mortgage Lending Agency (HMLA) has announced the results of the open competition for rental concept development

The idea of a special housing construction project for non-commercial rent has long been in the air. The Housing Mortgage Lending Agency has decided to implement it.


The task set by the HMLA was not easy: to create a project for a rental house which will meet all modern requirements. The competition was open to all, and among the participants were such leaders of the design and construction market as “INTEKO” and “Mosproekt”… and now the results have been announced.

The winner of the first stage of the competition (jury-only applications) was the “BRT RUS” Russian-German design bureau. It is a joint venture from the “INTEKO” company and the German architectural bureau BRT Architekten — one of the most popular in Germany.

Such objects as the multifunctional complex “Liner”, and the apartment complexes of Balchug Residence, Balchug Viewpoint, etc. have been built by the bureau. It is this bureau that will start designing the new rental house.

We talked with the winner of the competition, Yury ZHURAVLEV, Director General of the “BRT RUS” design bureau, about the new housing format.


— Is there a concept for a commercial apartment building?

We do not have a concept yet. We have won the tender for designing a rental house as part of the competition held by HMLA. Our portfolio and price proposals were considered the best by the jury.


— As I understand, there is no project yet?

— We are at the initial stage now – we have received rather detailed technical design specifications from the customer. According to this, the house must have all the necessary infrastructure, including a reception, pram storage room, security rooms, manager’s room, etc.

The flats will be adapted for the most in-demand formats: one-bedroom flats with an area of not more than 30 m2, two-bedroom flats of not more than 40 m2, and improved two-bedroom flats of not more than 45 m2.

— And still, I would like to learn first-hand about your idea for the project. It is a rather new format for Russia…

— I must say, the format to some extent connects us to the Soviet past. Do you remember the famous Soviet Khruschev-era houses? The rental house will resemble them, but will be more modern.

We will try to take all modern approaches and technologies into account, both at the stage of construction and at the stage of facade finishing. Besides this, we’ll consider residents’ requirements such as spacious entrances, and different equipment for the building’s fire security.


— What is the main difference between the new rental housing and those from Soviet times?

— It will be housing with modern finishing materials and high technologies, and it will be long-lasting. Natural materials will be used in the facade finishing. We are going to reject the use of such materials as ceramic tile, which is not durable, both in the lobby areas and the sanitary facilities. Instead, stronger and more reliable porcelain stoneware will be used.


— Is any finishing or special designs of flats suggested, or will people do the inner decoration themselves, as is routine now?

— Yes, the flats will be decorated. Besides this, together with the HMLA we are developing a project which includes full decoration, including furniture and even kettles and microwave ovens. Even a glass for a toothbrush will be included…


— How will the furniture be chosen?

— We have already started determining it. The main criterion is, of course, value for money. Besides this, the furniture should be long-lasting and ecologically friendly. We have not chosen a producer yet, but of course we would like it to be a Russian manufacturer.


— Will there be public spaces, terraces, etc. in such a house? Perhaps you might use the example of communal houses of the Russian Constructivism era of the 1920s?

— In Constructivist houses, there really was a communal dining-room, a kitchen, a shower-room, a club, a hair-dresser’s, and a nursery school, but some of them appeared only because the flats lacked them.

In our case, it is about individual housing, which will meet a family’s requirements.


— But still, it is fashionable to have some public spaces in a residential complex or a quarter…

We are designing a house, not a complex of houses, so the technical assignment does not include the development of public spaces.


— The project you are starting work on will be a standard design, as far as I understand, won’t it?

— I hope so. That is why we have covered many finishing variants. I hope the story told in the film, “The Irony of Fate, or I Hope You Enjoyed Your Bath” will not be happening with us.


— Do you think such housing will be in-demand?

— I think it will be in-demand from different social strata…


— What do you think the rental price might be in the houses?

— I think the price may vary greatly within one region or even within one town or city, depending on the people’s living standards.


— Will any new technologies be used? Energy efficient ones, for example? Elements of green construction?

— Of course we will use energy-efficient technologies. They will allow us to decrease the factors influencing payments, and the construction materials will be chosen upon the principles of energy efficiency.

On the whole, the concept of the house will be as follows: it should attract people both by its outer and inner appearance. It should become, though temporary, both comfortable and cozy for the people who will live in it.

— Well, we hope it will be. The rental house will be presented at the end of summer, so there is not long to wait.