"Contemporary Architecture Space" competition winner. 2010
There are more than athousand towns in Russia scattered over a territory of 17,000 sq. km. As amatter of fact all these towns always had poor integration with the other worldas well as between themselves. In the beginning of the 18 centuryPeter I used military means to secure the Baltic shore aiming for closerintegration with Europe. This action has become known in Russia as “hacking thewindow to Europe”. 3 centuries later with the help of new digital means wepropose “hacking a window to Russia” to augment the interaction between Russiantowns.
The proposal is to installtwo types of plastic frames in all Russian cities. The first type of frames(yellow) is called CityConnector and is due to be placed in highly accessibleurban areas such as pedestrian streets. These frames work as an interactivewindow to other cities. Having an integrated web-cam CityConnectors are used asa marker enabling augmented reality application in mobile devices (nearly allversions of modern communicators support this feature). Pointing a mobile phonecamera to the frame allows people to see real-time view of any other Russiancity where a similar frame is set up. Yellow frames are in fact a low-costinteractive installation providing an opportunity to have a quick look intoanother city.
Red frames(UrbanConscience) work in a similar way as yellow ones but they are installedin architecturally problematic areas. These areas can be chosen by local Unionof Architects or by residents themselves. The purpose of setting up the UrbanConscienceobject is to physically frame the problem which needs architectural treatmentand to draw the attention of local authorities. At the same time there isanother digital layer in every UrbanConscience object. Pointing a mobile phonecamera to the frame will replace the existing situation with a real-timebroadcast from another city where a similar problem has been successfullysolved. Residents and authorities will be able to see with which means theirproblem can be solved and how it all works in real life in any particularmoment of time.
To make a smooth videobroadcasting every frame has an integrated free wi-fi module which also can beused by citizens as a free internet access point.

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