Wadi: water efficient landscape in Tyumen | Brusnika Design

An innovative approach to treating water resources in the continental subarctic climate Tyumen / Russian Federation / 2024

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Sustainable landscaping is one of the worldwide priorities in urban development, consistent with the UN climatic change action. Oktyabrsky, a housing estate in Tyumen developed by Brusnika, presents an initiative in this field. An innovative approach to treating water resources in the continental subarctic climate, typical of Siberia, is used to protect vital biodiversity. 


The Oktyabrsky estate is composed of four houses with dominant towers and underground parking. The height of the built-up area ranges from eight to ten storeys in blocks and seventeen in tower blocks. Located in the peninsula of the low Tura river and surrounded by water meadows and a forest, the project has rich natural potential. 


This area of Tyumen took off in the 1930s. The district was dominated by a timber processing factory, with low-rise houses for its workers. To prevent spring flooding, Soviet engineers built dikes around the settlement. The system had its flaws: designed to sustain a 6-metre water rise, it failed when water levels reached a 9-metre mark in 1979.


After the flood in the area, the construction strategy changed. The new dam was higher, with the buildings surrounded by French drains. These measures proved effective and were adopted by Brusnika before they started construction work in the area. By combining Soviet practices with new technologies, the company designed an efficient system of water management, which is unique to Russia. 


The biggest challenge for the project was to design drainage and preserve the local ecosystem. Raising the construction plot by three metres to level it with the dam resolved the problem. French drains were built around the houses, while walls, expansion joints, and foundations below zero mark were waterproofed for extra protection.  


A crucial element of the system is the wadi - a channel filled with water coming from rain, melting snow, or seasonal floods. Flood-resistant shrubs, grasses, and trees, acting as the biological pump, suck in and evaporate water, preventing area flooding. The slopes are topped with the pollutant-absorbant substrate, which later fertilises the plants. Drain pipes designed to keep the wadi from overflowing divert the water to the stormwater system when it reaches the top mark.   


When devising the wadi system in the estate, landscape designers selected endemic Siberian plants. It addresses three objectives. The top priority is to reduce the stormwater system load. The wadis are filled with rooftop water coming through drainpipes. They protect the area from flooding in spells of seasonal rains and raised water levels. If tarmac diverts surface water, plants are capable of absorbing it. Local species are better suited to the environment, taking up more water due to their deep root systems. 


The second objective is educational, aiming to acquaint residents with regional flora. Next spring the following species will be planted along the channels: willows, a hedge of shrubs, such as spiraea and cotoneaster, and perennial grasses and flowers, for instance, bog myrtle, fireweed, irises, sedge, millet, and day lilies. 


The third objective is to preserve biodiversity and attract wetland fauna, including rare species of frogs, lizards, beetles, dragonflies, and pollinators. They will encourage fruit development, chase away pests, and attract birds, for example, yellowhammers or Siberian long-tailed rosefinches. 


The natural landscape spreads to the inner yards of the buildings. With densely planted shrubs, tall wetland plants, bushes, and grasses of different sizes, the yards are transformed into seasonal gardens. The paving patterns and lighting enhance the natural shapes of greenery. The yards also house playgrounds of eco-friendly materials and recreational spaces. The streets are lined with evergreen plants and trees perimeter-wise. The area will comprise 40 species of plants, with trees, such as willows, pines, birches, rowan, and cherry trees; shrubs, for instance, cotoneasters, guelder roses, Mugo pines, junipers, and spiraeas, as well as ornamental grasses and perennials. 


Oktyabrsky is to become a wildlife haven in Tyumen’s cityscape. The engineering of development encourages efficient water management while maintaining natural landscapes and biodiversity. In its turn, this reduces the heat island effect and promotes a healthy urban environment.

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    Sustainable landscaping is one of the worldwide priorities in urban development, consistent with the UN climatic change action. Oktyabrsky, a housing estate in Tyumen developed by Brusnika, presents an initiative in this field. An innovative approach to treating water resources in the continental subarctic climate, typical of Siberia, is used to protect vital biodiversity.  The Oktyabrsky estate is composed of four houses with dominant towers and underground parking. The height...

    Project details
    • Year 2024
    • Work started in 2019
    • Work finished in 2024
    • Main structure Mixed structure
    • Client Brusnika
    • Contractor Brusnika
    • Status Current works
    • Type Parks, Public Gardens / Waterfront / Landscape/territorial planning / Apartments / Multi-family residence / River and coastal redevelopment
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