The summer of 2008 saw the start of the this first international project. The project was developed in our Canadian office and on site in Russia. Two members of our staff travelled
to Abinsk in September 2008.
The project consisted of creating and developing one of the largest orchards in Europe. Covering some 1400 hectares, the site comprised three distinct zones : the orchard,
the living quarters and the operational headquarters.
While work on the orchard was relatively simple, a major task was site drainage. Rain water will be naturally filtered via a system of canals that drain into large
lakes used to irrigate the orchard. A road system has also to be planned for this huge domain.
La base vie
The living quarters comprise both housing and leasure facilities grouped in ten buildings. An old historical building on the site will be restored. Situated on the
banks of a lake with pleasant views, the site provides a calm and relaxing environment for management staff. The idea is to provide residents with natural surroundings combined
with everyday amenities. With its wooden chalets separated by different types of vegetation, its wooden footbridges, its terraces and swimming pool, the site is ideal for relaxing
after a hard day's work.
The Operational Headquarters
This is the heart of the project. All the necessary facilities are found here. A factory for handling the apples, offices, garages and living quarters for the production
staff, a cafeteria and other facilities. Open to the public at certain periods of the year, this sector also has recreational and tourist oriented infrastructures. These include
an informative orchard, a mini farm, a restaurant and terrace, parks and footpaths and a large area that can be used for example to install a circus tent.
This sector also comprises several old and very long buildings that were formerly part of a Soviet collective farm. Most of the buildings are preserved and restored
as part of the project. Access to the site is via two roads separated by a long park. Planted with trees and with a pedestrian route the landscaping project links all the historical
buildings together. For the design team, it was important to respect the site's historical past and to take advantage of it's inimitable characteristics. By preserving the old
farm buildings, the site has a distinctive identity and opens an important page of Russia's history.
Another interesting feature is the recovery of surface water from the car parks. The water is drained to several islands, consisting of stones and gramineous plants
that act as filters, providing better quality water for the lakes. The site also has a square with a water feature, a terrace, shelters and footpaths. Situated alongside one of
the long buildings housing a dormitory, this area can be used by the agricultural workers for relaxing, socialising or even for playing football.