By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh architect Paul Ostergaard of Urban Design Associates will tell you that it’s not often that a nation rebuilds its government facilities in a capital city — but that’s what the Russians want to do.

“Moscow is growing so rapidly,” Ostergaard told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano. “They feel they want to move part of their government out of the center of Moscow. It’s become very difficult for government to grow in the center city.”

To design the new federal center, the Russians had a competition. Ten teams were selected — four from Russia — six others and “only one from the United States,” added Ostergaard. “And Urban Design Associates is the managing partner of our team.”

And Urban Design Associates, which planned the North Shore, won special honors in Moscow.

“They selected our team as the best design for the federal district for the city of Moscow.”

The Russian review team was impressed with the American recommendations, and “the first question from the expert panel was about Pittsburgh,” said Ostergaard.

Turns out coming from Pittsburgh didn’t hurt.

“They just think Pittsburgh worked miracles by itself.”

As for the East-West, cultural and language barrier?

Delano: “Do you speak Russian?”

Ostergaard: “I don’t speak a single word of Russian. I know, ‘nyet.’”

But ‘nyet’ or ‘no’ was not what the American team heard — it was all ‘da’ – or ‘yes.’

Urban Design Associates will present their plan to the Russian public in Moscow this coming Friday. After that, the Russian federal government and the city of Moscow will begin its planning process.

And don’t be surprised if a little piece of Pittsburgh ends up in the new federal city in Moscow.

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