Europe on the Yauza River

  • contemporary architecture

ADM Studio has designed a business center in Nastavnichevsky side-street, setting the trend for changing the genre standards. The new center is not a skyscraper glass tower, and not some restricted area with a security point by the gate, but a seemingly unassuming but carefully thought-through European quarter of office townhouses.


Today, on the land site adjacent to the bend of Yauza river, one can see a variety of odd buildings of various heights (from one to three floors) and shapes. The way how Sminex, the owner of this land site, is going to use it, vividly illustrates the fact that in the recent times the conditions of working in the development business have dramatically changed. Instead of taking everything down and building a monster skyscraper in the now vacant lot, Sminex chooses to implement the idea of integrated redevelopment of the already-existing buildings, turning them into a conceptual and respectable business town. “We offered our commissioner the idea of office townhouses - Andrew Romanov, the leader of ADM Studio shares – and we also added new entrance lobbies to the existing buildings and thus divided them into several comparatively small and fully independent blocks. Each one of those blocks has an entrance of its own, a staircase, and two or three floors of office premises the area of which does not exceed a thousand square meters. Such an office is just what a small company may be looking for”. The architecture of the center is quite laconic, but with a certain twist to it. It is the eternal theme of interaction and interpenetration of different kinds of matter. Metal is represented by green patinated bronze – it covers the slanted roofs and it marks the entrances to the “office townhouses”. The walls are traditionally made of simple freshwater limestone. Wood, on the other hand, found its use in the interior decoration of the entrance lobbies – outside, it only shows through in the horizontal inserts in the windows. Glass marks the boundaries: the main reception of the center is a large glass cube, made as transparent as possible and open to the maximum number of observers. The image of this transparent cube is the direct opposite of Moscow’s contemporary stereotype of a security checkpoint with a narrow turnstile and a guard with a ledger to register the visitors in. In this particular case, the image is really justified – most of the future business center will have free access for the people. Considering that this is the center of Moscow, this is almost a revolutionary intention. It is also worth mentioning that the improvement of the courtyards and inner little streets in this project is as important as the outer facades. The landscape design is also laconic but textured at the same time and is not devoid of the Japanese-style warmth. Four paving patterns neighbor on the grass lawns that look like a fluffy carpet that was laid upon the pavement. Into the granite frameworks of the lawns and the stone strips in front of the facades there will be installed the lines of the spotlights, and at night the pavement will turn into a light ornament. As a result, the courtyards of the business center (and together they form a rather sophisticated labyrinth because, as we remember, the architects decided not to take down the old buildings, just completely renovate them) – become a fully-fledged part of its architecture. If these plans are to come to pass, this business center will begin not from the entrance doors or from the reception desk, but a lot earlier along the way – once the passer-by or the visitor steps onto the pavement circling the building, they will want to enter this attractive cityscape. And (behold the miracle) you do not have to produce your ID to enter it! Now the project is in its implementation stage – the architects are working on the modification of the project and the detailed design, and the redevelopment is running concurrently. Quite possibly, in half year’s time, in the stead of the redeveloped quarter one will able to see a piece of a good old European city.
Text by: Ekaterina Kuznetsova, Andrey Romanov, Anna Garanenko, Julia Tarabarina
Translated by Anton Mizonov

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