13.01.2011

A rocket on chetverik

  • contemporary architecture

Architectural bureau "Studio 44" is designing a mixed-use complex with a theater, an art center, offices and residence in the West End of London. As the client desired it has absorbed recognizable motifs of the Old Russian architecture.

Information:

According to Nikita Yavein, the head of "Studio 44", the client is a Londoner fascinated by Russia and Russian culture. In due time this made him search for Russian partners for business, now a Russian architect who is able to smoothly bend the methods of national architecture in with the urban context of the British capital. "Studio 44" got a tough task. On the one hand, there are mentioned earlier motifs of the Old Russian architecture the client loves shater [hipped roof], kokoshnik and zakomar. On the other, he admires Gagarin and wanted the idea of the first human space flight to be clearly shown in the project as well. Plus, the complex includes 10 functions, among are rehearsal halls, an art school and a museum of tea and vodka. Luckily in the area of Southwark it is allowed to build tall dominants - the high-rise construction concept of the central London allows building new dominants and citywide landmarks. So the general composition was found at once: all the social functions are arranged at the ground floor, the high-rise building is residential , offices are somewhat isolating layer between them. According to the construction concept, the 80-storey skyscraper was moved back within the block, so the theater got a separate building fronting the red line, and the art center occupied first floors of the second building, out of which, in fact, the tall building grows. The territory among two buildings was named Gagarin Plaza. It is raised above the ground on the level of one floor, from the street there is an open staircase placed along the side façade of the theatre. Its composition includes 3 flights of stairs with platform-lockers according to the architects symbolizing the Red Porch of the Palace of Facets in the Moscow Kremlin. Another reminder of the famous monument is the diamond-pointed rustication of the red line façade of the theatre. Although historically such finishing is designed to create illusion of very solid, in the project of "Studio 44" they dispel it. Faceted "stones" are separated by narrow strips of glass, so if you look closely you will notice that the stone blocks are false and the massive wall is just a fake, a provocative architectural decoration.
Text by: Nikita Yavein, Anna Martovitskaya

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