UNStudio Reveals its Winning Masterplan for Sochi Waterfront in Russia

Sochi Coast

UNStudio Reveals its Winning Masterplan for Sochi Waterfront in Russia

Once again, with our sensational images, UNStudio’s proposal was selected as the winner for the competition called Sochi Waterfront, right on the coast of the Russian Black Sea. 

The masterplan aims to define new targets for the city of Sochi, after hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014. By rebranding the cities’ seacoast as a vibrant and progressive mixed-use place, the Sochi Coast (SoCo) is soon to become one of Russias’ most relevant holiday destinations that both enriches the life of the local community and its new visitors.

Sochi also boasts a historical seaport that is home to the most famous concert hall in the south of Russia, the Winter & Summer Theatre and other numerous cultural spots. Among the many goals, the masterplan wanted to activate and cleverly blend the venues within the development and its surroundings to form a ‘cultural spine’ with a familiar yet strong identity.

UNStudio now only needed a team of motivated artists who would help them create the visualizations that won the jury and our images were picked out to be the best out of all submissions.

Folks at UNStudio threw everything they had into this successful 21st-century plan to ensure inclusivity. In order to achieve this, their proposal followed three major objectives: the Sochi Coast must become an all year round destination, it must provide diversity in its features to everyones’ liking and also promote a healthy lifestyle. As a base for all this, they have set their mind to also try to resolve some of the environmental issues we, humans cause, so it was very important to come up with a design in which people and nature aspire to live in harmony.

The UNStudio Team had five main design features in mind that they wanted to include in the final plan. The first objective was to introduce to the site a wide variety of facilities, hence came the idea of a business and innovation centre for both business and leisure travelers. This centre is equipped with modern-day conference rooms, high-end hotels, a globally recognized Design and Innovation Museum and a Yacht club.

Secondly, to make the Sochi Waterfront as memorable as possible, when brainstorming the architects submitted this bold concept: you will find that the two ends of the site are undeniably strong tourist attractions and, to make things more exciting, are also polar opposites in intensity. On the northern end is the Festival Village with laid back vibes—perfect for local events, summer concerts or casual gatherings while on the south end, you will find yourself in the bustling Marina City. 

Another idea was to designate three main areas between the two ends of the site, defined by a difference in character and theme: the SoCo Playgrounds, the SoCo Arts & Culture and the SoCo Healthy Lifestyle areas.

The unique pedestrian circulation through the site is the fourth design feature. There are three routes, each with its own distinct style, thus providing different speeds and experience as you move along the waterfront. The Lanes is the one lined with shops, restaurants, and bars, The Boardwalk on the other hand is bordered with palm trees, beach bars and bathing spots. Weaving in between these two routes is The Green Wave, a meandering bio-diverse green corridor with its nature walk that connects all of them.

Whichever trail you decide to take, you will definitely come across the so-called ‘Pops’; attractions such as temporary concert halls, pop-up galleries, local markets, botanical gardens, cultural institutions and open-air cinemas to make the journey more eventful.

Fast paced life and large scale masterplans are some of the main challenges ZOA Studio and our clients have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Most tiny details, like parasols and beach balls are objects we should place and implement into the model before the rendering of a final image. This gives us freedom through the process—both by slowly building up the environment according to our taste, but it is also something we should consider carefully when we have to act fast and deliver on time. This time, UNStudio had a strict focus on the images being as photorealistic as possible and we believe that it was one of the key factors in winning the competition along with the help of the talented artists of ZOA.


Sochi, Russia


Resort City of Sochi

Plot size

550,000 sqm


Botond Sass
Krisztina Sárdi
Fabio Tavola


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