Attention to participants!

First stage presentation will be on the 31st of October in Rotterdam

Who are we?

Brusnika is a housing developer located in Ekaterinburg with projects in 6 Russian cities. We construct high quality housing for affordable prices. We have worked with leading local architects and renowned foreign architectural companies. You can have a look at the our work of Brusnika at


Competition subject - Design of an architectural language for a collection of urban blocks
We developed a system of standardisation and customisation of urban blocks. This consists of a large number of block volumes that can be used depending on different contexts (the collection). The architecture (facades and detailed massing) of this collection is the design task of this competition. The architectural language is a toolbox with which all modifications of the building volumes can be designed. The participants are asked to demonstrate their approach on four elements of the collection: a small block, a large block, an urban villa and a tower.

The aim of the competition - Selection of 2-5 winners
The aim of the competition is to select 2-5 companies with which we will engage in a long-lasting cooperation for the application of the architectural language in concrete projects and locations.

Competition type

Open two-stage competition with pre-qualification
pre-qualification: selection of 10 participants of the basis of portfolio and Skype interview.
1st stage: preliminary design of the architectural language. 2-5 finalists will be selected. Jury presentation in Rotterdam.
2nd stage: definite design of the collection. 2-5 collections will be selected. Jury presentation in Rotterdam.

The competition language - Russian and English

Remuneration - Total prize fund: 60.000 - 105.000 Euro
1st stage: 10 x 3000 Euro + travel costs
2nd stage: 2-5 x 21.000 Euro + travel costs

Implementation - 3 projects over a period of 2 years.

Pre-qualification: Portfolio - May 14
1st stage: Preliminary design - October 12
2nd stage Phase: Final Design - December 8

Ruurd Gietema, partner, KCAP Architects and Urbanists, Rotterdam
Elena Eremenko, director, Brusnika Design, Ekaterinburg
Timur Shabaev, partner, DROM Architects, Rotterdam
Bart Goldhoorn, chief architect, Brusnika Design, Amsterdam/Ekaterinburg

The Competition Program

The design task

Participants are asked to develop an architectural language for the Urban Block Collection: all variants of urban block envelopes, towers and urban villa’s. This comprises the facade and massing of the blocks. They will do this by presenting the design of 4 elements (a small block, a large block, an urban villa and a tower), each in a specific contextual setting (street width and character, orientation). Result of the competition will be the formation of 2-5 Urban Block Collections by specific authors.
Please note that we are developing mass housing with a construction costs of less then 500 Euro per sqm The possibilities for expensive materials and complicated technical detailing are limited. Colour, texture, rhythm, composition, accents and massing are the means of expression architects can use. This does not mean that more expensive elements cannot be used: it just means that their use should be limited. The designers are helped to control costs by a facade calculator that puts price levels on various design elements such as balconies, bay windows, setbacks and cutouts.


The competition consists of the following stages

Pre qualification. Open Call
In an open call we ask architects to present us with their work in housing design showing (or showing the ability to develop) a particular and refined architectural language. 10 companies will be selected and asked to participate in stage 1. A Skype interview will be part of the selection procedure.

In order to take part, you have to fill out the application form and send us a portfolio of maximum 24 pages A4 landscape. The booklet should be sent digitally in pdf format (max size 10 MB) together with the application form
Instead of the portfolio you can send us one or more links to your website.
  The jury will rate the candidates.
The candidates with the highest ratings will receive a draft contract for stage 1 and an elaborate brief. The client will conduct Skype interviews with the candidates, after which the final decision about participation is taken

Stage 1. Preliminary design
For the first stage the participants receive an elaborate brief, the building envelopes and the typical floor plans for the four elements to be worked out. They are asked to work out the facades and the massing – the latter in particular for the first and last floors of the blocks. Participants are asked to present their work in person in Rotterdam.

An A3 booklet containing the elements of the architectural language and sketches for the 4 blocks to be worked out in stage 2. Remuneration for each of the 10 participants is 3000 Euro + travel costs.

Stage 2. Definite design
In stage two of the competition the architects selected will be asked to work out the design for the four elements, including a cost estimation based on the calculator provided by us. Finalists are asked to present their work in person in Rotterdam.

Drawings of all four blocks 1:200, detailing, materials, cost calculation.
Remuneration for each of the participants is 21.000 Euro.


It is our intention to realise at least three blocks by each author over the next two years.

First block Block size will be between 10.000 to 30.000 sqm saleable floor area. The architect will be responsible for design and supervision. The preparation of tender documentation and working drawings will be done by a local architect.
The fee is 1 Euro per sqm saleable floor area

Consecutive Blocks
Variant 1: the language is applied on a new block size from the collection.
In this case the fee is 1,0 Euro per sqm saleable floor area.
Variant 2: the same block size is repeated.  In this case the architect receives a royalty of 0,3 Euro per sqm saleable floor area + payment for adaptations of the original design.

Who are we looking for

We are not necessarily looking for a large, experienced and/or well-known architectural offices. The most important factor is the artistic quality of the architect, his or her signature, and his/her ability to develop convincing solutions within a limited budget. Preferably, participants should have experience in housing design. Moreover, they should be able to carry on the project in the coming 10-15 years.
Moreover we are not interested in projects that propose to generate diversity within the blocks, or projects that make the creation of diversity between copies of the blocks as their design strategy.


Each stage of the competition will be judged by an international jury consisting of:

Ruurd Gietema, partner, KCAP Architects and Urbanists, Rotterdam
Elena Eremenko, director, Brusnika Design, Ekaterinburg
Timur Shabaev, partner, DROM Architects, Rotterdam
Bart Goldhoorn, chief architect, Brusnika Design, Amsterdam/Ekaterinburg.

Context of the competition

Notwithstanding the considerable changes in its economy and the political system, Russia is still dealing with the aftermath of Soviet housing policies. A majority of housing projects being constructed today consist of badly designed, uniform housing blocks. Only housing for the elite meets the standards that we have gotten used to in Western Europe in the last decades: custom designed contextual projects that create a pleasant environment with good urban spaces.

Together with the chief architect of the company, Bart Goldhoorn, we devised the Urban Block Standard: a new approach to mass housing that combines standardisation and customisation, and aims at bridging the gap between high cost custom designed housing and low cost standard housing. By applying architectural expertise at strategic moments in the design process we can reach a high architectural quality while keeping the advantages of standard design: predictability, speed and the possibility to improve designs over time.


Our approach is based on the following principles:

Mass customisation
Within each masterplan we use a large variety of block volumes and architectures based on our collections. However, the same elements can be used in multiple locations.

The integrity of the architectural design
Our approach is very different from traditional standardisation systems for mass housing that work with simple, lego-like cubes, sections, containers or other unfinished half-products that lack architectural quality. The establishment of the urban block as the basic element of the system guarantees the integrity of its architecture: each block is a fully designed three-dimensional object.

Sophistication instead of simplification
The aim is not the simplification of design through the use of mass produced similar building elements, but the sophistication of design through repetition. Just as in other fields of mass production, the larger the number of items produced, the larger the R&D investment can be.

Flexible application of standard and custom design
Standard solutions are no dogma. Most sites can only be solved by combining standard and custom designed projects. Accordingly, in each case the scope of the architects’ task is different.

The Shaumyana Housing Area by KCAP Architects and Planners (NL) is the one of the first BRUSNIKA projects where the Urban Block Standard is used. In red the standard blocks, in white the blocks that will be designed individually


The Urban Block Standard consists of the following elements:

Urban Block Collection
The basic unit is the urban block. We believe high-density housing should be created on the basis of the contrast between lively streets with street fronts and quiet private courtyards. The block can be filled with various typologies: from perimeter blocks to urban villas and towers. There are 6 basic urban block sizes. Apart form this, tower blocks and urban villas are part of the system. All possible solutions together constitute the collection that is used by the masterplanner to design a unique masterplan for each location.

We have designed a large number of apartment types within a standard structural grid of 3450 x 3450 mm for specific locations within the block, such as corner apartments, penthouses and first floor apartments.

Landscape architecture
The courtyards, streets and squares of our projects are designed individually for each location on the basis of catalogue of standard elements developed by our landscape architect Miroslav Sztuka.

Interior design
For the design of entrance hall, staircases and corridors we work with a catalogue of ready-made solutions designed by a variety of interior architects.

Facades and massing
Architects develop architectural languages that can be applied to the urban block collection. These comprise the facades and the massing of the blocks. The masterplanner decides which language is to be used on which block. The architect is invited to apply the language in accordance with the specific location.

Mass Production and Customization in Fashion and Housing Functionality and sizes are predefined, after which elements are designed and mass-produced. Since they are interchangable, elements can be combined into unique compositions.

Please complete Application form to take part in the competition.

Questions concerning this competition can be sent to

Answers will be published on this page no later the April 30.

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