Founded in 2009 in a former chocolate factory on an island near Moscow, the Strelka Institute offers a free annual nine-month postgraduate research-based programme in urban design and development for 45 international students. It also hosts free summer-long public programmes of lectures, workshops, discussions, concerts, and film screenings, has a digital publishing arm, and a great bar overlooking the Moskva river.
With a staff of both established names and young, hip contributors and a tightly controlled graphic identity, Strelka garners acres of press attention. There’s also a touch of glamour and mystique, due to the billionaire backer who supports the programme. But it is also proving increasingly influential beyond the scope of teaching, with events like the annual Moscow Urban Forum and a consultancy for public design competitions. Whilst everyone is critiquing or abandoning the institute model, perhaps the most radical move really is to found a new one – providing you can find the cash. p (rgw)