Oleg Carlson built three wooden houses in Moscow’s suburbs - all three having similar layouts based on one shared module. In spite of the similarity of the layouts and almost the same sizes, the houses look very unlike one another – one can even say that each of them represents once certain epoch in the history of architecture.
Written by: Julia Tarabarina Translated by: Anton Mizonov
14 April 2011
Imagine a quadrant that is divided into 9 equal cells, the side of each cell being 5 meters. All the three layouts are drawn within this simple and unsophisticated framework; they only occasionally cross the outline of the main quadrant. Five of the squares, including the central one, form an equilateral cross that serves as the core of the composition of each house, making it center-oriented and grouping all the squares around the central one. This timeless classic had been strictly clerical until Palladio built his “Rotunda” villa, upon which it quickly made its way into secular residential architecture, adding a lot of grand nobility to it. And this makes it all the more exciting to examine the variety of solutions that Oleg Carlson was able to come up with. In the “modernist” Khlyupino house, the centripetency of the layout is not demonstrated to the outside observer. Rather, it is neutralized in a whole number of ways. First of all, one of the nine squares crosses the main outline - which makes the entire composition asymmetrical. Second of all, not all the three squares are even filled up – the two corner ones are “given up” to the terrace: thus the main, residential, volume of the house recedes back inside, away from the main façade surface. And finally, even though the cross clearly shows through on the layout, on the outside the stress is laid not on its upper central part but on the crossing of the two volumes. The second house of the three under study was built soon after the first one and not far away from it – the settlements of Khlyupino and Zakharovo are only some 10 kilometers apart. The settlement of Zakharovo is famous for the fact that the house of Maria Gannibal, Alexander Pushkin’s grandmother, is located here. Pushkin would be there from time to time back in his childhood, thanks to which some tourist routes go through the former estate. The house is not what it really used to be, though:it was completely rebuilt back in 1991. Still, Pushkin’s house – new or old – remains Zakharovo’s main tourist attraction. Thus, building the house for his commissioner in this settlement to the North-West from Gannibal estate, Oleg Carlson made use of the same layout but made the house look as if it was built in the classic style. Comparing this house with its Khlyupino predecessor, one can easily notice that a lot of things have been done here in a diametrically opposite manner. The main façade does not retreat and does not hide behind the terraces – here it looks like a wall with a clearly perceived center, outlined by the four-column portico with a triangular pediment. The terrace is also there but, as is the rule for the classical manor house, it commands the backyard and forms a park façade. The veranda is also there but here in is inbuilt into the opposite pediment whose arrangement of columns is also paned with glass in the “dacha” style. It is worth mentioning, for the sake of fairness, that this stylistic solution does not actually refer us back to Pushkin times. The house looks nothing like Gannibal’s abode with its thick round columns and drawn blinds, even though there are definitely some “architectural quotes” to be seen - for example, the windows the upper pediments of which border directly on the eaves. Looking at Oleg Carlson house, one can observe both “Pushkin” classics, and neo-classics, the style of dachas of the early XX century, and even some hints of Stalin era “health-houses”.Plus – some of the inevitable “Anglicism” of today, for example, the fireplace and the staircase in the drawing room. This house can hardly be pigeon-holed to one certain style, rather, this is a generalized image of a Russian manor house,not too large but very cozy. The third house was built still later on in the park of “Modern Estate”. This is the “Chinese” house for the owners’ daughter. Here the “center-oriented” layout is explored to capacity: the five squares on the layout fall into the equilateral cross; in the center of which there is this high-ceilinged double-height drawing room with a fireplace in its center. A great place to sit by the fire and under the roof at the same time (think back to Khlyupino house with a similar solution where one could sit on the terrace but under the glass roof)! Thus, the house is built around the fireplace – the solution that’s so classical it’s almost archetypical. One should say, however, that the living room is a little bit wider than the central square, i.e. the layout does not limit the volume in the strict sense. The fact of this house being “Chinese” is clearly seen from the first sight: bright-colored, surrounded with balconies with wooden openwork frames, with its massive roof that curls up at the edges, with its Chinese little bridges, a gate, and a gazebo (all three having authentic prototypes) – even from afar, the house can easily be described as a “Chinese” one. The “Chinese” stylization, however, is not done in this case in the literal sense:the author himself confesses that he opted not to replicate any particular Chinese консоли but settled for the ones that simply looked very similar. Rather, here we are dealing with the so-called “Chinoiserie” (the European imitation of the Chinese style.
The Possibility of Flight
The project of the airport, which ASADOV Architects developed for the city of Tobolsk, and which won in the architectural competition, was not implemented. However, it is interesting as an example of designing an airport building of a very small scale, where the main challenge is the optimal organization of space and infrastructure without compromising the imagery component.
Built in the town of Pushkino in the Moscow area, the “Turgeneva 13” housing complex, while fitting in with the surrounding context, differs from it with the rhythmic austerity of its dual composition, a slight wave of the façade, and the color design, in which one can see two images, winter and summer, both “growing” from the specifics of the place.
A Shell by the Sea
Designing the Sports Palace that will determine the development of the entire northern part of Derbent, ASADOV Architects turned to the architectural legacy of Dagestan, local lore, and ancient layers of history.
Karen Saprichyan is wishing everyone a merry Christmas, presenting a series of letter-shaped skyscrapers. The architect has long since been working on this theme, and has calendars of various years in stock. His latest development is a group of towers designed for the city of NEOM, which will be built in Saudi Arabia.
The three brick blocks of the “River Park” housing complex gaze at the water with their terraces. Each block forms a backdrop and two wings, while the residents-only yards turn into “stages” perceived from the river. The landscaped embankment, accessible to all the city people, complements the hierarchy of private, semi-private and public city life that is formed here.
Pompidou Inside Out
Renzo Piano and his GES-2 have already been compared to Ridolfo Aristotele Fioravanti and his Cathedral of the Assumption. And for a good reason: GES-2 also stuns you with its grace and loftiness, but ultimately turns out to be the richest collection of recognizable motifs from an early masterpiece by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the George Pompidou Center in Paris. These motifs are fused into the grid of Shukhov-esque structures, painted white, and they create a dialogue between 1910, 1971, and 2021, built on references (not devoid of a poster-like quality) to the main masterpiece. The basilica-shaped space of the former power station is taken apart virtually just like the museum, in accordance with the concept by Teresa Mavica.
Next to Lidval and Nobel
The housing complex designed by Anatoly Stolyarchuk in Neishlotsky Alley: tactful change of scale, tribute to the memory of the place, Finnish additions to the functional typology – specifically, saunas in the apartments – and plans for receiving a BREEAM certificate.
And stabbed it with a knife
The leader of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Wolf D. Prix, presented three projects that he is currently doing in Russia: a complex in Sevastopol, Crimea, which, as it turned out, a western architect could build bypassing the sanctions, because this is a cultural project; a museum and theater center in Kemerovo, and the “SKA Arena”, which is built in the stead of the destroyed Sports and Concert Complex in St. Petersburg – during the presentation the latter was symbolized by a round cake that the architect eventually cut.
The Thin Matter
The house named “Medny 3.14” (“Copper 3.14”) is composed of two textures, each of which resembles in its own way some kind of precious fabric, and of three units, each of which is oriented towards one cardinal point. The architecture of the house absorbs the nuances of the context, summing them up and turning them into a single rhythmic structure. In this article, we are examining the new, just-completed, house designed by Sergey Skuratov in Donskaya Street.
The new business center built in Moscow’s district of Presnya in the 1st Zemelny Lane is all about technology and sustainability. Its streamlined shapes and white facade grid are combined with a new version of vertical greenery: the green of wild grapes, placed at a distance from the facade, instead of arguing with the “pergola” grid, sets it off by contrast.
Lightness of Being
Blooming Sakura, a campfire party, kids splashing in a swimming pool – no, these are not pictures from a vacation, but everyday life going on in the yards of Kiev’s housing complex “Fayna Town”. In this issue, we are examining how the utopia designed by the architects is wired, and what they did to make it a reality.
A Triangular Folded Structure
The project of the new terminal of the Muraviev-Amursky airport in Blagoveshchensk offers architecture based on a modular form – endowed with a special imagery, it becomes the basis both for the carrying structures of the building and the plastique of the facade, at the same time reverberating in the interior design.
The Breath of the East
Designing a residential complex for Tashkent, GENPRO is turning to traditional architecture and modern trends, aiming at emotionality and efficiency: the panjar window lattices and mishrabias are neighboring on vertical greenery and parametric ornaments, while the theme buildings do on a cotton alley and an oriental bazaar.
The Openwork XX-Construction Set
The yard of the Architecture Museum on Moscow’s Vozdvizhenka hosts an installation by DNK ag. It is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the company, and was originally presented at Arch Moscow. The art object is expected to stay in the yard of the museum for one year and set a new tradition – a regularly renewed exhibition project called “Modern Architecture in the yard of MUAR”.
The Spinning Vibe
The pavilion designed by Sergey Tchoban for the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai is a bright and integral architectural statement, whose imagery can be traced back to avant-garde graphic experiments by Jacob Chernikhov, but allows for multiple interpretations. The pavilion looks both like a dome temple, a spinning “Planet Russia”, and the head of a matryoshka doll. Still more interestingly, the core of the exposition is a “brain”. In this article, we take a closer look at the interpretations and the subtleties of the implementation.
Tolerant Aesthetics of Terraforming
The World Expo is a gigantic event; it is difficult to give it one definition or cover it at a glance. All the more so – such an ambitious and record-breaking fair as the one that is now open in Dubai despite all the pandemic restrictions. By no means claiming to present an all-rounded review, we are making an attempt to examine Expo 2020, where signs of aesthetic tolerance of a developer project begin to loom behind the imposing-looking “wings” of “star” architects and delights from space exploration.
The Town in the Snuff-box
The new academic building of Cooperation School in Moscow’s Taganka, designed and built by ASADOV Architects, is a compact volume, at the same time filled with functions and impressions. It easily combines classrooms, a theater, a cafeteria, a gym, and a double-height atrium with an open library and an exit to the terrace – virtually everything that you expect to see in a modern school.
The Northern Versailles
On the bank of the magnificent Vychegda River, in a picturesque location six kilometers away from Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi republic, the renowned neoclassical architect Mikhail Filippov has designed the town of Yugyd-Choi in the traditional aesthetics inspired by the center of St. Petersburg. The customer Elena Soboleva, the head of the Syktyvkar Housing Construction Fund, sees her mission in making Yugyd-Choi the hallmark of the republic.
Analysis and Synthesis
The project of the housing complex “Krasin”, designed for the historical center of St. Petersburg, and situated in a very obliging place – next to the Mining University designed by Voronikhin, yet bordering on an industrial area – became the result of a thorough analysis of the specifics of historical construction on the Vasilyevsky Island, and a subsequent synthesis with avoidance of direct stylization, yet forming a recognizable silhouette, resonant with the “old town”.
Tatiana Guk: “A document that determines the development of the city has to be flexible”
In this issue, we are talking to the director of the Genplan Institute of Moscow about trends that determine the future, about the 70-year history of the Institute, which is celebrating an anniversary this year, about electronic computing in the field of urban planning and about international experience accumulated in this area, as well as about how the Institute is involved with other cities, and about the perfect document for the city development, which has to be flexible and strategic.
The high-rise housing complex MOD, whose construction has begun in Moscow’s district of Maryina Roshcha next to the site, on which the new Russian Railways headquarters will be built, is responding to the “central” context of the future city surroundings, and at the same time is positioned by the architects as a “manifesto of Modernist minimalist principles in architecture”.
A project by DNK ag won in a competition for the science campus of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics in the city of Sarov, conducted by ROSATOM corporation in collaboration with the Moscow State University, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Kurchatov Institute.
The new terminal of the Leonov Airport in Kemerovo was built in record-breaking time, despite the pandemic. It became one of the important factors for the rapid development of the city, visually reflecting its dedication to the first spacewalk, both in the interiors and on the facades. Its main features are the “starry sky” effect and overall openness.
The Spiral Approach
The school building in the city of Nur-Sultan, designed by Vera Budko and Anton Nadtochiy from beginning to end – from concept to working documentation – became the embodiment of the architects’ method for creating a modern educational environment, which the ATRIUM architects have been developing for years. Its fundamentals include creating an inspiring environment that motivates you to create. This is why the new school received a shape of an ornamental golden spiral that symbolizes ascension to knowledge; on the inside, the building is a compound and multifunctional “city within a city” with multilevel atriums, amphitheaters, and varying routes.
Stream and Lines
Stepan Liphart’s projects of Art Deco villas demonstrate technical symbolism in combination with a subtle reference to the 1930s. One of the projects is a “paper” one; the others are designed for real customers: a top manager, an art collector, and a developer.
On the Bank of a Very Quiet River
The project of landscaping the territory of the residential complex NOW in Moscow’s Nagatinskaya Valley goes beyond the limits of its task and looks more like a modern park: with viewing platforms, an embankment, spaces different in their moods, and thought-out scenarios for visitors aged between 0 and 80.
The Strategy of Transformation
In this article, we are publishing eight projects of reconstructing postwar Modernist buildings that have been implemented by Tchoban Voss Architekten and showcased in the AEDES gallery at the recent Re-Use exhibition. Parallel to that, we are meditating on the demonstrated approaches and the preservation of things that architectural legislation does not require to preserve.