October results: visiting Minotaur

  • contemporary architecture

We continue to summarize architectural events of this month. October has seemed to pass in an atmosphere of a labyrinth - little bit confused, and also shipped in a theme of restoration and reconstruction


  • Firm:
    Project group Pole-Design

As it is known, the first known labyrinth was constructed by the architect Dedal for tsar Minos, and the son of this tsar the Minotaur lived in it. Already five years the Union of architects of Russia, awards the premium of a name of the builder of that legendary labyrinth - Crystal Dedal at the annual festival " Architecture ".

Expositions of "Architecture" always were complex for perception - because they consisted, with rare exception, of stands with set of pictures, and some complexity of corridors, in which these stands were built. However this year the usual complexity has amplified, giving the basis to assume, that to it aspired as to the realized effect. This is the first, and the second is in October has been arranged not one but two labyrinthes, one was at the usual place where all have got used to it, on "Architecture", and the other one took place a week earlier in The Central House of Artists on the interior exhibition Lifestyle - 2006 where a labyrinth was conceptual, all red - specially for the  kernels of a noncommercial exposition, an exhibition of the selected interiors. As it is known, there are a few interiors on "Architecture", they mismatch the scale. It has turned out so, that two exhibitions in any measure have added each other, having shown different architecture (though and not all), in a format of a labyrinth. Suspicions get stability when we learn, that the design of both exhibitions was done by the same people - architects Vlad Savinkin and Vladimir Kuzmin, having acted thus in a role mythological Dedal. It is necessary to find the Minotaur, other wards - who lives in a labyrinth?

In a labyrinth lives anyone. Less Moscow architects take participation on "Architecture". Among applicants Andrey Bokov, Paul Andreev, Alexander Asadov, Dmitry Aleksandrov, Ginzburg's workshop were present; the Mosproject-2, as well. The others were not  present, this is possible because many of them were included into jury, but the structure of jury precisely is not known. Nizhni Novgorod as always holds a rod, there are many artists from St.Petersburg .

The list of nominees turned out to be curious. The last year's winner became National Centre for Contemporary Arts by Michael Hazanov that has been amicably estimated as very positive shift in a position of jury. It seems that in present 2006 "Architecture" has continued the evolution further, having addressed to the most noble branch of architectural designing, namely, to restoration. The main prize, Dedal, was awarded for restoration Alexandr of theatre, among Gold diplomas - restoration of the bottom circle of the Kremlin palace of patriarch Nikona and the Oryol almshouse.

As we know, restorers in their best do not build anything new, but preserve and keep existing, and also - dig out surprisingly interesting things in bowels of a laying. All this costs big money for the customer and its big erudition, that in the modern Russian validity meets not so often as it would be desirable. Therefore to award good restorations, to attract as much as it possible the attention - is very necessary in hope, that the situation will change, in Russia will cease to break and alter monuments, and will start to keep them. Though it is not enough one rewarding for this purpose on "Architecture".

Anyway, to see restorers awarded in the top part of the list is very pleasant. It is necessary to tell, that the choice from these projects seems to be more complex, than usually - it is necessary to know, how all is made "inside", and it is impossible to show completely everything at the stand. In fact Tsaritsyn which has been submitted in horrifying scales, occupying several halls wasnt awarded, that means people knew, what should be pointed out. Because of that the award given in October acts somehow very professionally - selected on professional criteria, for which one sight at a tablet is not enough . As it is not enough to choose from town-planning projects (here the gold diploma has received the project of Rostov-on-Don).

The constructions and projects noted by "Architecture" support impression of a choice professionals of professionals. These are very constrained, quiet decisions which from the first sight even uneasy to find in the general leapfrog of bent, swelled, inclined to a side forms. The sensation is created, that all of them were selected by such principle  - cleanliness and not self-loving approach. It is a little independently - the house on Shpalernaja, obvious, but on-St.Petersburg noble stylization under northern modernist style, under Lidval.

As a result the choice of "Architecture" appears to be filled with some rare restrained nobleness. The main diploma for restoration can be understood doubly: on the one hand, it is pleasant, that the restoration was supported as a branch, on the another - this branch is very specific, closed in itself, anyway does not have any attitudes to formation of modern forms. It can seem, that the modern architecture as though is not present, there is nothing to award, so the restorers were awarded. Certainly, the jury didnt mean anything of a such kind, the jury meant to note the year of restoration and about that it was casually told at the ceremony. However it was easy to notice that not everything of the modern architecture was obviously on "Architecture". If the projects were awarded on nominations - the best restoration, the best town-planning project, thet would be clearer. And so it turns out, that not the project was awarded, but in some sense the all branch. Probably, therefore the impression of "Architecture" has left a little confused, in a unison of the labyrinth type of its hall.

While we wandered on labyrinths, foreigners became more active. The business with Marinka Dominica Perro have settled, Moscow town-planning committee has approved the project of two towers by Zachii Hadid for Moscow-city, Luzhkov has asked to rearrange only their places. English lord Norman Foster came across  with the most difficulties as his projects for New Holland and Zariadia were coordinated, but with a greater scratch. On Petersburg town-planning committee some one complained, that the competitive task has appeared to be too easy, and now no one can rescue the building which has not the status of a monument. In Moscow, on the contrary, have noticed, that in Fosters project not all conditions of the task were full filled he had raised (from the 5th up to 8th floors) the buildings, trace of the streets is not restored. It would seem, should he restore it to lead the street to the closed up Konstantino-Eleninskim gate? It is not excluded, here the matter is that the pulling down the hotel "Russia" which for long years was hated, and now - again favourite became the sign certificate, from the category of parting with the past. This ideological sign pulls behind itself desire to see something so basic on this place. For example, to restore Zariadie as it was in XVI century in the form of Potemkinskaia village and to send there the guides. Many figures are stored in the Museum of architecture with such hypothetical reconstruction - to gather all of them and to make all anew But then all useful areas should be dug under the ground.

Behind the discussion of plans on reconstruction of the street lines irrevocably lost forty years ago the present monuments continue to disappear. On October, 14th, having referred to fire-prevention safety, in the Oruzgeinom Pereulke have taken down a smithy of XVIII century. On the 31-st of October the criminal case was instituted, that probably became a step forward in business of protection of monuments, but hardly will return an original building.

After an October triad restoration - reconstruction taken down in November, probably the present will again become alive. Some sonorous rewordings are comming: in Moscow everyone is waiting for the results of ARX award - new, but already fairly sensational architectural premium, the fund of name Chernichov plans to hand over solemnly the international premium, the premium Archip will be handed over the interior, also it should become known, who from the foreigners will manage a scandalous Petersburg skyscraper. In November the Venetian Biennial on which the list of winners also should be declared comes to the end - as we remember everyone, except for the Gold lion handed over to Richard Rogers will name before closing of an exhibition.


Text by: Irina Filchenkova

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  • Tatiana Zulkharneeva
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  • Alexandra Kuzmina
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  • Katerina Gren
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  • Mikhail Kanunnikov
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