Rule of a garden

Project of the residential complex for 20 thousand people “Gardens of cultures” has the three components: urban conveniences, nature and allusions to architecture of various European countries. That is not easy. But it appears to be achievable and even possible to create a balanced image which smartly applies classic methods within modernism.

Written by:
Anna Savkina

14 January 2009
Master plan of residential complex “Gardens of cultures” on Pyatnitskoe highway
Russia, Pyatnitskoe highway

Project Team:
S.Tchoban, S.Kuznetsov, Stefan Sholtz, A. Dryabina, P.Karpeeva

2008 — 2008

For the past 5-6 years elite settlements have become rather popular, they have stylized design of a particular epoch or a country – Italian style settlements, or, say, English. Along the monoculture ones there appeared a concept of multicultural settlements – such would be a “City of millionaires” somewhere in Pyatnitskogo area: an elite district each block of which would picture a country or an epoch. They had been discussed the idea for a year and then rejected it. But ideas do not give up easily – this summer “SPeeCH” studio has offered their own solution for the alike concept, for the territory nearby and along Pyatnitskaya highway. In the project with the speaking name “Culture of Gardens”. Must notice, it is very much alive now, though its scale seems enormous after the autumn shake – in fact it makes a town, 20 thousand people will be accommodated on 67ha.

So, the speaking name. We will start with the second word “cultures”. The town is divided into blocks, according to the idea of the authors each reminds of a country, which are: Germany, Spain, Holland and France. This is a multicultural complex. One buys a place in the austere German block, and in the evenings strolls along emotional Spain, and vise versa. A small, limited in its ha Europe. That is the idea of developers known in private for about 5 or more years.

What is peculiar about the project by “SPeeCH”? Probably, that is a high degree of generalization. The goal – is to show differences between architectural images of various countries – first, is achieved not intensively, or so to say with “wide strokes”, and second, obviously, there is used characteristic motifs, familiar to anyone. What is more important – there is no cheating on the audience or no intentional copying. The authors are not indented to create an illusion of presence in England or in Holland, they find an image of each land.

Spanish block includes 12- and 6storey towers with stripes of balconies and insertions of colored panels. Clear horizontal lines of solid deepened balconies makes many associations. Take for instance the area between Calle de Costa Rica Street and Alberto Alcocer Avenue, or Campo Volantin in Bilbao with colored of the hotel in front of the Guggenheim Museum.
In the Dutch block the architects placed simple 7storey volumes faced with brick of a warm brown-red (true color of the brick) shade. This makes it similar to all small towns together and different from any of them. The German area got a characteristic combine of glass and polished pale-yellow stone.

Allow me to observe, everything is done within modernist model, by texture, colour and shape. Bauhaus guru would probably be pleased to see “authenticity without copying" in a room.

The word "gardens” in the name of the residential complex is not accidental and might be more important. It is responsible for both the general and the particular, for difference and integrity of the small town. Through all the details the complex on Pyatnitskoe highway is a garden. First, the architects have turned it into a really green town: on one of the two main axes there will be a park with a waterfall in the end where boating will be available in summer, and skiing in winter. Besides, each block will be planted with particular type of tree. There even might appear small private gardens on the ground floors. This is how the architects have developed the popular today idea of dwelling in the nature with regular urban conveniences. In this way the separate town-garden is a less expensive variant of a private house in an elite settlement.

Also the complex is integral due to common planning principles. It is more or less strict. The two main axes cross under a right angle: the mentioned earlier "park" one, with a pond and free layout. There is a school, a nursery school and a sports facility. The second axes suggests a parade town promenade, a small garden framed with shop and offices. Its architecture could be figuratively named “Moscow-wise” because there are gathered most recognizable features of projects by “SPeeCH” in the capital - stripes stone boards-jalousie, very much art-deco vertical lines…”Byzantine house” and “Marine”, office building on Leninsky avenue come to mind. This part of the project took all the strictness and respectability of the residential complex.

“National” blocks stretch along the parade “town centre”, perpendicularly to the garden part. Houses are sited differently, but most of them fence off yards. The plan is more like “Stalin period” blocks in Moscow, so that is rather a classical approach to town planning than a modernist. The logic is clear – sited along the perimeter, buildings make comfortable space of inner yards, and outside form a kind of frontage line and neat streets.

In addition to the axial, stone and parade main street, there is another part of the development which hasn't gain any “national feature”. It is an island. The block is sited on a round island in the middle of the pond and includes small (3-4storey) colored houses placed closely along the outer round. Within there are rings of the small garden which are like a park labyrinth (French parks had such, mostly round, of flowers or bushes). But here one can’t get lost there, the height is small. In the “labyrinth” there will be planted trees of pyramid shape reminding of the South. To complete the scene there will be a round pond with a fountain in the centre – the axes of the joyful block. Venice? But there are no direct analogies, and role of the island is different – it serves as a filter or a catalyst element. Images of various countries pressed together inevitably create much of garishness, much of diversity. The island takes all the extravagance and intensifies it – after its colorful whirl the rest might seem colder. At the same time the island is the major enjoyable spot of the park complex – it is a pole opposite to strictness of the main street.

Noteworthy, Sergey Tchoban again appeals to international theme and idea of combining various architecture within a single place. In summer of 2008 at the architectural biennale in Moscow there was showcased a project of residential district Kudrovo nearby Saint Petersburg, designed by the studio together with “Evgeny Gerasimov and partners” architectural studio. The architects suggested the project of a town where blocks would remind arrangement of European cities, for example, Paris, Berlin, London.

Comparing the two projects, must notice, Kudrovo district is closer to the historical image of European capitals and “pictures” them precisely. And the complex on Pyatnitskaya highway is more generalized and modern. It is functional to the utmost, but its area is open and friendly, adapted for socializing. Distance from a block to block makes 30 meters, so one may reach by foot any community centre. Due to development of yards and squares, closeness of public zones, it doesn't have isolation that large residential volumes of high-rise housing have. The environment is not strange anymore, not only apartment area makes home but the yard, street and the entire town.

Many times architects tried to “peace” a man, town and nature. In Great Britain, around a century ago, the idea of there a garden-town started up – an alternative to cramped and stone town of early capitalism. A garden-town aimed to combine idyll of a countryside living and urban conveniences and comfort, the idea is still urgent nowadays and has a history. In the “Garden of cultures” there is a third element – culture. During the 20th century it became obvious - a man can't survive without it. The task is tougher now. Checks and balances are needed here. There has shaped a town vaguely resembling a palace park of the 17th century – in those times people knew that for balance living nature, house and something for mind were needed. They were building pavilions in different styles, Moresque, Gothic or rural. So the idea of “Gardens of cultures” is not new, but is a well forgotten thing, came from the history. And that is alright.

Master plan of residential complex “Gardens of cultures” on Pyatnitskoe highway
Russia, Pyatnitskoe highway

Project Team:
S.Tchoban, S.Kuznetsov, Stefan Sholtz, A. Dryabina, P.Karpeeva

2008 — 2008

14 January 2009

Written by:

Anna Savkina
Headlines now
​In Three Voices
The high-rise – 41 stories high – housing complex HIDE is being built on the bank of the Setun River, near the Poklonnaya Mountain. It consists of three towers of equal height, yet interpreted in three different ways. One of the towers, the most conspicuous one looks as if it was twisted in a spiral, composed of a multitude of golden bay windows.
​Dynamics of the Avenue
On Leningrad Avenue, not far away from the Sokol metro station, the construction of the A-Class business center Alcon II has been completed. ADM architects designed the main façade as three volumetric ribbons, as if the busy traffic of the avenue “shook” the matter sending large waves through it.
​Steamer at the Pier
An apartment hotel that looks like a ship with wide decks has been designed for a land plot on a lake shore in Moscow’s South Tushino. This “steamer” house, overlooking the lake and the river port, does indeed look as if it were ready to sail away.
The Magic of Rhythm or Ornament as a Theme
Designed by Sergey Tchoban, the housing complex Veren Place in St. Petersburg is the perfect example of inserting a new building into a historical city, and one the cases of implementing the strategy that the architect presented a few years ago in the book, which he coauthored with Vladimir Sedov, called “30:70. Architecture as a Balance of Forces”.
​Walking on Water
In the nearest future, the Marc Chagall Embankment will be turned into Moscow’s largest riverside park with green promenades, cycling and jogging trails, a spa center on water, a water garden, and sculptural pavilions designed in the spirit of the Russian avant-garde artists of the 1920, and, first of all, Chagall himself. In this issue, we are covering the second-stage project.
​Architectural Laboratory
A-Len has developed and patented the “Perfect Apartments” program, which totally eliminates “bad” apartment layouts. In this article, we are sharing how this program came around, what it is about, who can benefit from it, and how.
​“Architectural Archaeology of the Narkomfin Building”: the Recap
One of the most important events of 2020 has been the completion of the long-awaited restoration of the monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture – the Narkomfin Building, the progenitor of the typology of social housing in this country. The house retained its residential function as the main one, alongside with a number of artifacts and restoration clearances turned into living museum exhibits.
​LIFE on the Setun River
The area in the valley of the Setun River near the Vereiskaya Street got two new blocks of the “LIFE-Kutuzovsky” housing complex, designed by ADM architects. The two new blocks have a retail boulevard of their own, and a small riverside park.
​Celestial Tectonics
Three towers on a podium over the Ramenka River are the new dominant elements on the edge of a Soviet “microdistrict”. Their scale is quite modern: the height is 176 m – almost a skyscraper; the facades are made of glass and steel. Their graceful proportions are emphasized by a strict white grid, and the volumetric composition picks up the diagonal “grid of coordinates” that was once outlined in the southwest of Moscow by the architects of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clouds over the Railroad
In the stead of former warehouses near “Lyubertsy-1” station, a new housing complex has been built, which peacefully coexists with the railroad, with the flyover bridge, and with the diverse surrounding scenery, not only dominating over the latter, but improving it.
​Towers in a Forest
The authors of the housing complex “In the Heart of Pushkino” were faced with a difficult task: to preserve the already existing urban forest, at the same time building on it a compound of rather high density. This is how three towers at the edge of the forest appeared with highly developed public spaces in their podiums and graceful “tucks” in the crowning part of the 18-story volumes.
​The Towers of “Sputnik”
Six towers, which make up a large housing complex standing on the bank of the Moskva River at the very start of the Novorizhskoe Highway, provide the answers to a whole number of marketing requirements and meets a whole number of restrictions, offering a simple rhythm and a laconic formula for the houses that the developer preferred to see as “flashy”.
​The Starting Point
In this article, we are reviewing two retro projects: one is 20 years old, the other is 25. One of them is Saint Petersburg’s first-ever townhouse complex; the other became the first example of a high-end residential complex on Krestovsky Island. Both were designed and built by Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners.
The Path to New Ornamentation
The high-end residential complex “Aristocrat” situated next to a pine park at the start of the Rublev Highway presents a new stage of development of Moscow’s decorative historicist architecture: expensively decorated, yet largely based on light-colored tones, and masterfully using the romantic veneer of majolica inserts.
​Renovation: the Far East Style
The competition project of renovating two central city blocks of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by UNK project, won the nomination “Architectural and planning solutions of city construction”.
​The Contact
The Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome presents Sergei Tchoban’s exhibition “Imprint of the future. Destiny of Piranesi’s City”. The exhibition includes four etchings, based on Roman architectural views of the XVIII century complemented by futuristic insertions, as well as a lot of drawings that investigate the same topic, at times quite expressively. The exhibition poses questions, but does not seem to give any answers. Since going to Rome is pretty problematic now, let’s at least examine the pictures.
​In Search of Visual Clarity
In this article, we are reviewing a discussion devoted to the question of designing city space elements, which is quite complicated for the Russian expanses of land. The discussion was organized by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the ArchMoscow convention in Gostiny Dvor.
​The City of the Sun
Jointly designed by Sergey Tchoban and Vladimir Plotkin, the VTB Arena Park complex can arguably be considered the perfect experiment on solving the centuries-old controversy between traditional architecture and modernism. The framework of the design code, combined with the creative character of the plastique-based dialogue between the buildings, formed an all-but-perfect fragment of the city fabric.
​...The Other Was Just Railroad Gin*
In their project of the third stage of “Ligovsky City” housing complex, located in the industrial “gray” belt of Saint Petersburg, the KCAP & Orange Architects & A-Len consortium set before themselves a task of keeping up the genius loci by preserving the contours of the railroad and likening the volumes of residential buildings to railroad containers, stacked up at the goods unloading station.
​Lions on Glass
While reconstructing the facades of Building 4 of Moscow Hospital #23, SPEECH architects applied a technique, already known from Saint Petersburg projects by Sergey Tchoban – cassettes with elements of classical architecture printed on glass. The project was developed gratis, as a help to the hospital.
Park of Sentiments
The project of “Romantic Park Tuchkov Buyan”, which was developed by the consortium of Studio 44 and WEST 8, and has won an international competition, combines sculptural landscape design and wooden structures, variety of spatial features and an eventful agenda, designed for diverse audience, with a beautiful and complex passeist idea of a palace park, meant to evoke thoughts and feelings.
​Architecture as an Educational Tool
The concept of a charity school “Tochka Budushchego” (“Point of the Future”) in Irkutsk is based on cutting-edge educational programs, and is designed, among other things, for adapting orphaned children for independent life. An important role is played by the architecture of the building: its structure and different types of interconnected spaces.
​The Gallery Approach
In this article, we are covering the concept of a Central District Clinic for 240 patients, designed by Ginzburg Architects, which won at a competition organized by the Architects Union and the Healthcare Ministry.
Health Constructor
In this issue, we are publishing the concept of a standard clinic designed by UNK Project, which took second place in the competition organized by the Union of Architects of Russia in collaboration with the Healthcare Ministry.
From Foundation to Teaspoon
Based on the taste of their friendly clients, the architects Olga Budennaya and Roman Leonidov designed and built a house in the Moscow metropolitan area playing Art Nouveau. At the same time, they enriched the typology of a private house with modern functions of a garage loft and a children’s art studio.
Continuation and Development
The second “office” stage of Comcity, the most popular business park of the “New Moscow” area, continues the underground street of the already existing part of the complex, responding to its architectural identity.
​The Flying One
Expected to become an analogue of Moscow’s Skolkovo, the project of the High Park campus at Saint Petersburg’s ITMO University, designed by Studio 44, mesmerizes us with its sheer scale and the passion that the architects poured into it. Its core – the academic center – is interpreted as an avant-garde composition inspired by Piazza del Campo with a bell tower; the park is reminiscent of the “rays” of the main streets of Saint Petersburg, and, if watched from a birds-eye view, the whole complex looks like a motherboard with at least four processors on it. The design of the academic building even displays a few features of a sports arena. The project has a lot of meanings and allusions about it; all of them are united by plastique energy that the hadron collider itself could be jealous of.
​The Aperture Effect
For a housing complex built in the town of Pushkino in the Moscow metropolitan area, KPLN Architects designed facades that adjust the stream of light by using the wall geometry.
​A Comfortable City in Itself
The project that we are about to cover is seemingly impossible amidst human anthills, chaotically interspersed with old semi-neglected dachas. Meanwhile, the housing complex built on the Comcity business part does offer a comfortable environment of decent city: not excessively high-rise and moderately private as a version of the perfect modern urbanist solution.
Moving on the Edge
The housing complex “Litsa” (“Faces”) on Moscow’s Khodynka Field is one of the new grand-scale buildings that complement the construction around it. This particular building skillfully tackles the scale, subjugating it to the silhouette and the pattern; it also makes the most of the combination of a challenging land site and formidable square footage requirements, packing a whole number of features within one volume, so the house becomes an analogue of a city. And, to cap it all, it looks like a family that securely protects the children playing in the yard from... well, from everything, really.
Visual Stability Agent
A comparatively small house standing on the border of the Bolshevik Factory combines two diametrically opposite features: expensive materials and decorative character of Art Deco, and a wide-spaced, even somewhat brutal, facade grid that highlights a laminated attic.
The Faraday Cage
The project of the boutique apartment complex in the 1st Truzhenikov Lane is the architects’ attempt to squeeze a considerable volume into a tiny spot of land, at the same time making it look graceful and respectable. What came to their rescue was metal, stone, and curvilinear glass.
Color and Line
The new successful techniques developed by A.Len for designing a kindergarten under budget constraints: the mosaic of irregular windows and working with color.
The Union of Art and Technology
His interest for architecture of the 1930’s is pretty much the guiding star for Stepan Liphart. In his project of the “Amo” house on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island, the architect based himself on Moscow Art Deco - aesthetically intricate and decorated in scratch-work technique. As a bonus, he developed the city block typology as an organic structure.
The Countdown
The project that Evgeniy Gerasimov and Partners developed for Moscow’s Leningrad Avenue: the tallest building in the company’s portfolio, continuing the tradition of Moscow’s Stalin architecture.
White Town
In the project that they developed for a southern region of Russia, OSA Architects use multilayered facades that create an image of seaside resort architecture, and, in the vein of the latest trends of today, mix up different social groups that the residents belong to.
​Just a Mirror for the Sun
The house that Sergey Skuratov designed in Nikolovorobinsky Alley is thought out down to the last detail. It adapts three historical facades, interprets a feeling of a complex city, is composed of many layers, and catches plenty of sunlight, from sunrises to sunsets. The architect himself believes that the main role of this house is creating a background for another nearby project of his, Art House in the Tessinsky Alley.
​Part of the Whole
On June 5, the winners of Moscow Architectural Award were announced. The winners list includes the project of a school in Troitsk for 2,100 students, with its own astronomy dome, IT testing ground, museum, and a greenhouse on the roof.
Pedagogical Architecture
Yet another project of a private school, in which Archimatika realizes the concept of aesthetic education and introduces a new tradition: combining Scandinavian and Soviet experience, turning to works of art, and implementing sustainable technologies.
​Rational Arrangement
In this article, we are examining a complex of buildings and interiors of the first stage of the project that has recently become extremely popular – the Kommunarka clinic.
​Parallel Universe
In the “Parallel House” residence that he designed in the Moscow metropolitan area, the architect Roman Leonidov created a dramatic sculptural composition from totally basic shapes – parallelepipeds, whose collision turned into an exciting show.
In the Istra district of Moscow metropolitan area, the tandem of 4izmerenie and ARS-ST designed a sports complex – a monovolume that has the shape of a chamfered parallelepiped with a pointed “nose” like a ship’s bow.
​Stairway to Heaven
The project of a hotel in the settlement of Yantarny is an example of a new recreational complex typology, and a new format that unites the hotel, the business, and the cultural functions. All of this is complemented by 100% integration with nature.