The practice of reconstructing industrial buildings to create commercial or residential space reached Moscow about ten years ago. The decline and reorganization of manufacturing has left large space essentially unused. The type of factory most in demand among developers has pre-Revolutionary buildings of red brick which are reconstructed as high-class offices. The disadvantages of such properties are the neglected state of their facades, inadequate utilities systems, and possible pollution of the ground and the buildings themselves. Additional difficulties arise if the building is listed as an architectural monument. The other type of building involved in reconstruction projects dates to Soviet times. Such factories are situated on the out-
Skirts of the city, but are in a less neglected state and often have continuous glazing of the kind that is fashionable today.
One of the first Moscow redevelopment projects was Golutvinskaya Sloboda. What used to be the Krasnye Tekstil’shchiki Factory has for the last ten years been functioning as a large cultural and business centre. Here all the developers did was to redecorate the facades and install the utilities systems required in a complex of this kind. But Krasnokholmsky Worsted Fabric Factory was completely reconstructed when it was turned into the Avrora Business Park, picking up class-A status as a result. The latter status is unusual for a redevelopment project, given that under the classification system for business centres a reconstructed building cannot be awarded higher than B+. Currently there are several new major projects nearing completion. These include Novospassky Dvor near Paveletskaya metro station (developer: Promsvyaz’nedvizhimost’), LeFORT, the Stanislavsky Factory, and Luch. The latter three are projects by Horus Capital. Projects at a less advanced stage include the Krasnaya Roza Textile Factory (design by Sergey Kiselev i Partnery) and the Arma Factory, near Kurskaya.
The scale of reconstruction projects for old industrial buildings ranges from cosmetic redecoration to complete demolition and rebuild. Minimal changes involve replacing the roof, thermal insulation, and windows, as well as cleaning, restoring, and painting the facades. Sometimes staircases will need work doing on them or lifts or new utilities systems will have to be installed. Old brickwork is restored and cleaned. Space in old factory buildings is let as shell & core. In the case of ‘red-brick’ industrial buildings, this give them a distinctive character. But some put sheets of plasterboard over the old brickwork. The majority of factories have their own grounds. The most important use of such space is as car parking, but landscaping is also carried out. And an umbrella security service is set up. So old industrial sites turn into closed towns with own infrastructure. The grounds of the Stanislavsky Factory are planned to have a theatre, hotel, and garden. This feature has a good effect on the status of the surrounding office space.
A separate problem is pollution. If the factory workshops contained a noxious manufacturing process such as tanning or dying, then the vapours and radiation will have left a residue in the brick walls and settled in the ground itself. Conscientious developers will call in ecology specialists to advise on what may be built on the given plot. Earth and air samples are taken for analysis, and the results are used to determine many metres of earth will have to be removed and what other measures are necessary.