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Public Rehabilitation in a Vegetable Store on the Solovetsky Islands

Part 2 Project 2015
Maria Kurkova
Moscow Architecture School MARCH Moscow Russia
The Solovetsky Islands are an archipelago in the arctic circle in the White Sea, in Russia. They have a unique natural landscape and remarkable history, which dates back to prehistoric times.

The Soviet period saw the famous Solovetsky Monastery turned into Stalin's most feared forced-labour camp (Gulag); churches were desecrated, the historic monks' settlements encircled by barracks and mass graves. After the Gulag, it was decided to restore the monastery, and transform the site of the camp into the village. The village retains its structure to this day; families live in the barracks, the village centre is the Gulag parade ground. Therefore, villagers can hardly see the natural beauty and cultural meaning which surrounds them.

To mend this situation it is essential to reform public consciousness, to offer a qualitatively new space for public dialogue: an Agora designed to address the backlog of conflict and strife. This space will be the social and political nucleus of the village, a place of discussion and festivity, a place where each person feels a part of the unique Solovetsky archipelago. A library and public square is proposed, in a disused part-submerged vegetable store, to act as a catalyst for dialogue and rehabilitation.

Maria Kurkova


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