or pick a random keyword:

Limitless Sky

Strelka Institute

Eagles, routes and data: understanding bird migratory patterns in Magadan.

The Strelka Institute, located in Moscow, Russia, is a highly selective research program that encourages exploration of various disciplines through architecture and design projects. The New Arctic, a short workshop led by Liam Young and Nathan Su in the "The New Normal" project timeline, is comprised of six films set in Magadan, an isolated port town along the Sea of Okhotsk. Read more at the end of the article.

"Limitless Sky" explores the increasing number of bird deaths in Magadan and the human factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Flying at the "bottom of an air ocean", these birds become poisoned by cyanide pollution from gold mining, one of the primary sources of economic production.
The team - Nikolay Nikolaev, Qiao Lin, James Kubiniec, Liudmila Savelyeva, Joy Zhu, Ekaterina Bryskina - search for answers through interviews with two scientists, a biologist and an anthropologist seeking to understand bird migratory patterns and what future lies for these birds.

While the anthropologist bases his theories off of past data, the scientist argues that he is working from an incomplete picture since she currently collects data patterns in real time. A partnership between the two can produce a better idea of where the species is headed, but as with many aspects of Magadan, it is slow to adapt to change.

This film is characterized by transitions between the sea, city and port, with digitally rendered amorphous forms proposed by the team serving as transition points. These rendered organic forms can be interpreted as possible homes for the migrating birds, represented by a single shelter they can take refuge in. This concept is appropriate, building off the scientist's statement that the regional birds migrate from the same point in the north but scatter in different directions when they reach the south. This solution would provide a beacon for the birds, leading them to safety since they often fall when passing over poisonous industrial areas.

The film format features several transitions, often between different regions in Magadan. These transitions serve to provide a comprehensive picture of the setting and issue, referring to experts in the city, workers in the port, and the birds themselves in the sea. A notable addition to the transitional slides includes the team's proposed architectural concept, which is coupled with audio of the dialect native to the region. Ultimately, this strengthens the film as it references all aspects of Magadan's culture, from the past to the present and proposed future.

Since its conception in 2010, the Strelka Institute has released new project themes each year centered around urbanism, public space, global trends and emerging technologies. The current theme, The New Normal, is a three-year program that focuses on the proposed connections between urbanism and technology in 2050.

(Story by Pilar Pereyra, The Architecture Player)


Written and directed by: Katya Bryskina, Qiao Lin, Nikolay Nikolaev, James Kubiniec, Liudmila Savelyeva, Joy Zhu
Mentioned project: The New Arctic (2018)
Project location: Magadan, Siberia, Russia
Tutors: Nathan Su and Liam Young

Russia 2018
Duration: 6'43"