Blocks on the Slope

  • contemporary architecture

Vladimir Plotkin, one of the most famous Moscow architects, spends this year part of his time in the city of Vladivostok at the Far East coast of Russia, where he is planning a residential compound with an area of almost 120 Hectares.


The layout of the land site allotted for the construction of the new block is diamond-shaped and its layout looks like a handkerchief with its corners pulled to the sides. Its lower smaller part that faces the sea is separated from the main area by the axis of the future highway; yet another highway pierces the site almost diagonally, and the fact that the site thus gets cut in three parts, virtually predetermined the functions of those parts, as well as the construction priorities. For one, the closer to the seashore, the sparser the residential houses become they give way to open public areas and the multifunctional sports and leisure center that was also designed by Reserve studio, while the two larger triangles are dominated by residential houses that are occasionally cut with infrastructure objects and green planting areas. The total difference of heights here amounts to over 100 meters: the landscape is dominated by a large hill of complex shape, so the construction area is mostly spread over the slopes of this hill, to which the architects had to lock on the residential houses. The block-type housing was chosen because of the comfort that it yields; however, to create the necessary private spaces the architects had to come up with a whole pattern of cells for every particular slope. For the places where the land is sloping relatively gently, the traditional square blocks with multi-section buildings on their perimeters were designed. The architects leave the perimeter open, though: on the layout, the houses look like the Cyrillic û and the Latin L with wide gaps between them. The land sites with a difference of heights that does not exceed 9 meters, get similar layouts, only here the houses are not parallelepipeds but are placed in a cascade fashion, following the logic of the slope. In the places where the difference of heights is greater, the architects place the houses only on two sides of the imaginary square the upper, and the lower one, giving the space between them the solution consisting in a series of green terraces. And, in the places where the slope is to steep to do even that, the block takes on a triangular shape and is completed with tower-type houses, between which a semi-closed courtyard is made. The overall principle of planning the layout of this area holds true in respect of the already-mentioned sports and leisure center that will be built on the other side of the highway and next to a small creek. However, while the block itself falls into its three parts due to the directions of the highways, the architects deliberately cut the volume of the center into three - in order to maintain its pedestrian and visual connection to the residential area. The building that could otherwise have been a monolith trapeze falls, thanks to this solution, into four segments of different sizes. Each of those segments gets a shape and a set of functions of its own a movie theater, an aqua park, a sports center, and a restaurant cluster. These volumes are united by a multilevel stylobate that makes up for the difference of heights and is even used as a cozy pedestrian square.
Text by: Vladimir Plotkin, Anna Martovitskaya
Translated by Anton Mizonov

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