Islands over the sea

Studio of A.Asadov have recently designed for Sochi one of their most daring and even most fantastic projects – hotels-islands raised upon supports above the water surface. These complexes are able to compete with the project of “Federation Islands”, plus solve a number of issues of the resort and future Olympic Games city. But the question is – will they dare to build them?

Written by:
Anna Gerasimenko

04 May 2009
Humanity have always severely struggled with the sea for centimeters of a dry land. The gained lands used to be cultivated, today they service to prosperous tourist resorts. The brightest historical example of the fight is draining of Holland shores, greatness of which is expressed in the saying: “God made the sea, but the Dutch have made the shore”. In our times the other “sea power”, Arab Emirates, have an alternative to drainage – man-made islands, much talked-of project ”the world". The trend have come to Russia – for the Olympic Games in Sochi Erick van Egeraat, the Dutch architect, has suggested making an artificial island (or rather, an archipelago) ”Federation”, with the shape of our country’s outline. They say, it will not be build, because developers have not considered one critical feature of the Black sea - its depth – solution of the problem would most probably take the entire project’s budget.
Today, drainage and artificial islands are the main ways to regain more territory from the sea. There is another one, worth following the line and become the third – constructions on pile structure. This is not an innovation: such houses had ancient tribes living in the central part of the country, those living on marshy lands. Besides, houses on supports are the only possible way to stay ashore without fearing for high water or storms.
We have already highlighted one of such “houses on supports” – the project “Aerohotel” by A.A.Asadov studio, a station for traveling hotel-dirigibles. The key idea of the project - buildings on supports, became the start point for new works of the architects, projects with a more specific aim – compete with “Federation” island which probably will not ever be built.
A.Asadov’s studio designed the four projects for Sochi, with different architectural approaches but the common idea. Each includes buildings (apartments, hotels, hanging gardens, yacht berth in the lower level) raised above the water on supports and connected with the shore by a pier. As to Andrey Asadov, one of the authors of the project, construction of supports is eleborated and reliable.
The first project shapes a thin semi-sphere pier, on the axis of which houses-butterflies are “thread". They have two slightly curved bodies like wings, growing in height in cascade manner towards the sea. Buildings - “wings” are joined by the large glass atriums with hanging gardens inside and outside. Bright green grained texture of the constructions with park among make a scenery of an oasis in the sea desert, at a time beginning dialogue with green coast mountings. Some kind of green anti-island – first, an island must rise from the water, this one is hanging over it. Second, and island has a hill in the centre, this one has a hole, but rises towards the exterior perimeter. Light, even “flying” idea challenges the sea nature.
Another form of the idea realization became the five round “islands” with towers in the middle of each one - from the view high over them (from an airplane) they make Olympic emblem. Circles symbolize the five rings-continents differently colored. The dark blue tower is Europe – cold of Scandinavian winter, tower in the centre reminds ice sculptures. Like an African sculpture is the tower of the black ring symbolizing Africa. Shape of the red tower uniting South and North America, resembles Brazilian carnivals, Aztec sacrifice, Indian Conquest. Tower of the yellow ring – symbol of the Asia - is like Chinese pagoda, its speckled pattern refers to modern art of the region. The last continent on the emblem, noted by green color, is Australia. Cultural history of the place is not so significant. But the nature indeed makes a great impression. Probably, that was the main thing the architect considered in design of the tower of the green ring – its façade resembles relief of the Australian Alps, where at the height of 2000 meters grow rare spots of green.
All the multicolored rings-plates of the five continents have common structure. The round foundation raised above the water on piles creates an atrium with public transport, hotel buildings are sited in different directions from there, and a tower crowns the construction – symbol of the continent. The peculiar thing is that symbolic takes us to the Olympic Games, and that is more logical than the loyal "Federation".
Such architectural complex would not only become a decoration and feature of Olympics in Sochi, but also one of the city’s symbols telling to the guests about the event of global significance.
Another project of all shapes a long low-raised building rashly passing from the shore into the open sea. It is hardly an island on supports, but a pier, only very large and compound. Closer, its solid volume appears composite and multilayered, a curve in the end and massive yacht berth make an artificial bay, isolated territory with a large beach which could mark privately owned territories.
The forth project is centrally symmetric. Its draft name is “Zvezda“ [Star]. Complex includes a foundation in the shape of a five-point star and five buildings place among its rays. Buildings function as hotels and have planted facades, which make them more similar to a water lily than to a star; or even to Passiflora. And the long pier-footstalk connecting the complex with the shore intensifies this similarit.
Another variant of the coastal building on supports - “South Forpost” project. Wide pier becomes a large park which might carry on the tradition of Sochi arboretum and covering the public gallery and parking areas. On the end of the pier-park there is a glass netted skyscraper with partly planted facades and the two helicopter landing decks above. Like the rest sea buildings the skyscraper must function as a hotel. Considering the record height very likely there can be placed view spots on different levels showing wonderful sights of the city. Skyscraper is symbolic: from the land side its facades are planted, from the sea side it is covered with cold glass ripples. This marks the two elements: land and sea. Besides, the tower, very high for Sochi, rises in the sea like a lighthouse, and again it might become a symbol of the city.
As the authors thought, all these conceptual projects would be able to become a complex solution for preparing Sochi to the Olympics-2014. Sea becomes the site for development, but not costly areas on the ground. They include many hotels and apartments, which have minimum two positive features: fine views from the rooms to the sea and city, plus the clear sea water since the complexes are quite far from the shore line. There is one more important feature – innovation in the projects. If they would be constructed, than Sochi would probably become a legendary city where fantastic projects of future become reality, just like Dubai.

04 May 2009

Written by:

Anna Gerasimenko
Headlines now
​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.
​Cape of Good Hope
In this issue, we are showing all the seven projects that participated in a closed-door competition to create a concept for the headquarters of Gazprom Neft, as well as provide expert opinions on those projects.