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​Sand Castles Testing Ground

In Ekaterinburg, the architects Ashot Karapetyan and Peter Lyubavin have designed and implemented a landscaping element of a new type.

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:
Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

29 August 2017
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The sand castle that I built has long since been washed away
Armen Grigoryan and “Crematorium” Russian rock band

Landscaping of public territories is a trend that is popular these days but not all of its elements can be considered well-mastered. We are all used to paved trails, park benches, lime and maple trees but the Yeltsin Center in Ekaterinburg has come up with something different – it put up before its grand entrance staircase an enormous 190 square meter sandbox. The idea belongs to the daughter of Boris Yeltsin, Tatyana Yumasheva, the realization – to the Ekaterinburg architects Ashot Karapetyan and Peter Lyubavin.



The sandbox is not prone to “mushies” figures. It generally looks like a giant flowerbed that, against all expectations, is filled with sand (resting on an expanded-clay bed, with a total volume of 100 cubic meters). The sand is surrounded and held in place by a pinewood curb mounted on a metal framework: the structure can be easily dismantled and stored away for the winter. The curb is fit for people to sit upon; in addition it has ramps, benches, and a couple of bunks attached to it. As for the V-shaped or triangular form of the object, the architects call it “adaptive” – it is designed in such a way as to avoid obscuring the views, blocking the pedestrian trails, and harming the surrounding trees: two of them for found a place inside the sandbox, and for one of them the architects made a semicircular cutaway in the contour of the curb.









According to the authors and initiators of this project, the sandbox is meant for both children and adults alike: here you can “walk over warm sand”, and at the inauguration ceremony on the 24th of July they were building sand castles here. The architects also suggest that this object be used as an open-air stage.

Of course, this sandbox became the largest one in the city, and, frankly, one will have a hard time racking his memory for another similar project in the whole country. And the temptation is too great to refrain from making trivial and at the same time slightly dangerous jokes about the young and still underdeveloped Russian democracy, and about sand castles with their unenviable fate. Now go and hide your sandbox – the winter is coming!
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center. Plan © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan
Sandbox of the Yeltsin Center. Location plan © Peter Lyubavin, Ashot Karapetyan


29 August 2017

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:

Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
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