Urban Adaptaion 2nd prize: Zerno


by Alexandra Chislavleva, Sergey Ogorodnikov, Xenia Yakimenko

Village extinction is a significant issue in Russia from the beginning of XXI century.

The main factors of outflow of people are closure of schools and hospitals and consequently full termination of social life due to the leaving of young families and working age population.


The definition of ZERNO in Russia means a seed of plant. This project was inspired by dandelion lifecycle, which can fly for kilometres till it drops in the fertile ground.
The ZERNO might be located all around the world, we design it to solve a problem of Russian villages on the example of Haya, where we had growth, but there are a range of other places that are waiting for support.

The ZERNO’s lifecycle includes several phases:
At the first stage “Germination”, the body of ZERNO is transported to the chosen location and installed on the special screw piles that have been prepared in advance. During this stage, the ZERNO will serve as attraction for tourists, and present abandoned location drawing attention to it.

The second phase “Pollination” may take longer time, till the moment when somebody of villagers or newcomers will activate this process. The open ZERNO needs at least 4 people who should turn the wheel to activate mechanical system that will open the ZERNO finally. Each of 4 petals are the part of general community centre, all materials that will be required for construction premises of community centre, can be kept in the empty spaces between load bearing beams of the petals.

JURY's comments

At the bottom of the ZERNO's body Individuals can take buildings sets for construction of their private houses. The sets are placed inside the stem of ZERNO on the special spots that lowered instead ones that have been taken earlier. After 4 sets, box with details of the first part of a windmill are placed. The windmill will generate energy for a growing village, when all sets will be withdrawn there will be one more box with another part of wind turbine. In the empty space connections between petals will be equipped.

Since the windmill will be finally completed, another phase of ZERNO’s lifecycle – Generation will begin. At this stage ZERNO becomes a complex with own ecosystem. Generated energy will be more than enough to create a small IT centre. The top part of structure will function as a drone station.

There is opportunity to enhance certain environment using more than one ZERNO, equipped to different needs: local school, medical or community centre, workplace or even energy station.

The last stage is Redemption. Nothing lasts forever, after 70 years the construction and materials will be worn out, the society, probably, will have absolutely new lifestyle and needs. What will be happen with the body of ZERNO? Reasoning from the present time, the most progressive and obvious way is recycle. Wooden construction may be transformed into new materials, used as fuel or in any other way that will be available.

There is no reason to get upset, nothing lasts forever.

Urban Adaptation

Want to learn more about the possibilities of modular wood construction?

Here are some interesting reference cases about efficient use of prefabricated elements.