Vertical Solution

Vladimir Plotkin and Roberto Meyer offered to Moscow City a new tower typology – a block consisting of a few buildings put on the “shoulders” of one another and thus forming a silhouette of a symbolically rendered letter “M”.

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:
Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

30 May 2012
Vladimir Plotkin
M-City (Project BR)
Russia, Moscow, Moscow International Business Center “Moscow-City”, building site #17-18

Project Team:
(mvsa): Roberto Meyer, Barry van Waveren, Andrew Tang, Huub Larink; (reserve): Vladimir Plotkin, Sergey Gusarev, Anton Egerev, Natalia Tolmacheva, Aleksey Platonov, Elena Kuznetsova, Anastasia Ivanova, Olga Chalova, Azat Khasanov, Olga Prosvirina

1.2012 — 4.2012

The architects decided to make this building both a landmark one (just like all of the skyscrapers) and at the same time original, i.e. make it look different from an ordinary skyscraper. 

The entire building site is taken up by the nine-story high stylobate pierced with triangular openings of multi-level atria and open-air courtyards. The roof of the ninth floor is covered with green planting, and it is further on that the most interesting part begins. Instead of growing upwards in a successive fashion, just like any other city tower would, the building makes a radical change of concept: the green roof of the stylobate supports three 23-story triangular buildings spaced out by a 20 to 50 meters distance. The roofs of these three buildings, in turn, support yet another couple of triangular houses, 19 floors each. The upper mark meets the height restriction of this building site - it is 224.4 meters high. There is yet another solution, 280 meters high, where the three lower towers are 33 floors each, and the upper two - 41.

Put together, the whole building looks like a city block of several houses that stand on top of one another's shoulders like circus gymnasts or like cards in a card castle. This is, to put it mildly, an unconventional way of building up the mass: not the classic pyramid, not modernist vertical, and not even the more sophisticated "house on legs" or "mountain house", a tectonic pile-up of terraced apartments. What we see here is a city block that strides upward not with its mass but right out with its building units. At the same time, this IS a modernist block (neither "Reserve" nor MVSA would settle for less), and this is why the spaces are laconic and spaced out at a fair distance from one another. The silhouette of the building now looks a lot like the letter "M" if viewed en face from the side of the Kremlin or Kutuzovsky Avenue. It will only be fair to mention, though, that the M-shaped buildings are by no means a novelty for Moscow City, the trend having been set by the project of Moscow Mayor's office by Mikhail Khazanov, the red tower echoing the "saw tooth" of the Kremlin wall.

In the Reserve/MVSA project, however, the M letter is really "geometrized", almost made up of pixels, as if a small font on a jpeg image when stretched too much. The symbolic "M", when viewed from the side of Kutuzovsky Avenue, stands to the left from the silhouette of the City, logically preceding it and forming together with it a symbolic "M-City" - which gave the name to the entire project.

Functionally, this development, just like any other megastructure of this type, is a mixed-use one. The three-level underground parking garage plus the four parking levels above the ground form a powerful "technical belt" that also sports a number of shops and a hotel. Higher up, the stylobate is occupied by the offices that are grouped around the above-mentioned triangular atria; they are multi-level and, in the project, are covered with a glass grid and decorated with hanging plants that will remind the office employees of a tropical vacation, and to the more educated ones - of Semiramis hanging gardens. Out of the three towers of the first level, two are occupied by offices, and one - by apartments; both of the two top towers are apartment ones.

After some deliberation, the architects decided to make the façades striped, with floor decks protruding as terraces. Thus the whole building resembles the pieces of a neatly cut sliced pie: the thin slices of the terraces alternating with the glass filling. The outlines of the sliced terraces at times sink into the glass and at times stick out, turning their curious "noses" in different directions - their unobtrusive flicker creates the impression of various forms of life with the sophisticated façade system. 

Vladimir Plotkin
M-City (Project BR)
Russia, Moscow, Moscow International Business Center “Moscow-City”, building site #17-18

Project Team:
(mvsa): Roberto Meyer, Barry van Waveren, Andrew Tang, Huub Larink; (reserve): Vladimir Plotkin, Sergey Gusarev, Anton Egerev, Natalia Tolmacheva, Aleksey Platonov, Elena Kuznetsova, Anastasia Ivanova, Olga Chalova, Azat Khasanov, Olga Prosvirina

1.2012 — 4.2012

30 May 2012

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:

Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​The Energy Family
The housing complex Symphony 34 will be built in Moscow’s Savelovsky district; it will consist of four towers from 36 to 54 stories high. Each of the towers has an image of its own, but they all are gathered into a single architectural ensemble – a fragment of a new high-rise urban space lying outside the Third Transport Ring.
The Fifth Element
The high-end residential development in the Vsevolozhsky Lane features a combination of expensive stone and metal textures, immersing them into a feast of ornaments. The house looks like a fantasy inspired by the theater of the Art Nouveau and Symbolism era; a kind of oriental fairy tale, which paradoxically allows it to avoid direct stylization and become a reflection of one of the aspects of modern Moscow life.
​Springboards and Patios
The central element of the manor house in the village of Antonovka, designed by Roman Leonidov, is the inner yard with pergolas, meant to remind its owner about his vacations in exotic countries. The exposed wooden structures emphasize the soaring diagonals of single-pitched roofs.
​Adding Up a Growing City
The housing quarter “1147” is located at the border between the old “Stalin” district in the north and the actively developing territories in the south. Its image responds to a difficult task: the compound brick facades of the neighboring sections are different, their height varying from 9 to 22 floors, and, if we are look from the street, it seems as though the front of the city development, consisting from long narrow elements, is forming some sophisticated array at this very moment in front of our eyes.
Agility of the Modular
In the Discovery housing complex that they designed, ADM architects proposed a modern version of structuralism: the form is based on modular cells, which, smoothly protruding and deepening, make the volumes display a kind of restrained flexibility, differentiated element by element. The lamellar and ledged facades are “stitched” with golden threads – they unite the volumes, emphasizing the textured character of the architectural solution.
Polyphony of a Chaste Style
The “ID Moskovskiy” housing project on St. Petersburg’s Moscow Avenue was designed by the team of Stepan Liphart in the past 2020. The ensemble of two buildings, joined by a colonnade, is executed in a generalized neoclassical style with elements of Art Deco.
​In Three Voices
The high-rise – 41 stories high – housing complex HIDE is being built on the bank of the Setun River, near the Poklonnaya Mountain. It consists of three towers of equal height, yet interpreted in three different ways. One of the towers, the most conspicuous one looks as if it was twisted in a spiral, composed of a multitude of golden bay windows.
​In the Space of Pobedy Park
In the project of a housing complex designed by Sergey Skuratov, which is now being built near the park of the Poklonnaya Hill, a multifunctional stylobate is turned into a compound city space with intriguing “access” slopes that also take on the role of mini-plazas. The architecture of the residential buildings responds to the proximity of the Pobedy Park, on the one hand, “dissolving in the air”, and, on the other hand, supporting the memorial complex rhythmically and color-wise.
​Dynamics of the Avenue
On Leningrad Avenue, not far away from the Sokol metro station, the construction of the A-Class business center Alcon II has been completed. ADM architects designed the main façade as three volumetric ribbons, as if the busy traffic of the avenue “shook” the matter sending large waves through it.
​Steamer at the Pier
An apartment hotel that looks like a ship with wide decks has been designed for a land plot on a lake shore in Moscow’s South Tushino. This “steamer” house, overlooking the lake and the river port, does indeed look as if it were ready to sail away.
The Magic of Rhythm or Ornament as a Theme
Designed by Sergey Tchoban, the housing complex Veren Place in St. Petersburg is the perfect example of inserting a new building into a historical city, and one the cases of implementing the strategy that the architect presented a few years ago in the book, which he coauthored with Vladimir Sedov, called “30:70. Architecture as a Balance of Forces”.
​Walking on Water
In the nearest future, the Marc Chagall Embankment will be turned into Moscow’s largest riverside park with green promenades, cycling and jogging trails, a spa center on water, a water garden, and sculptural pavilions designed in the spirit of the Russian avant-garde artists of the 1920, and, first of all, Chagall himself. In this issue, we are covering the second-stage project.
​Architectural Laboratory
A-Len has developed and patented the “Perfect Apartments” program, which totally eliminates “bad” apartment layouts. In this article, we are sharing how this program came around, what it is about, who can benefit from it, and how.
​“Architectural Archaeology of the Narkomfin Building”: the Recap
One of the most important events of 2020 has been the completion of the long-awaited restoration of the monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture – the Narkomfin Building, the progenitor of the typology of social housing in this country. The house retained its residential function as the main one, alongside with a number of artifacts and restoration clearances turned into living museum exhibits.
​LIFE on the Setun River
The area in the valley of the Setun River near the Vereiskaya Street got two new blocks of the “LIFE-Kutuzovsky” housing complex, designed by ADM architects. The two new blocks have a retail boulevard of their own, and a small riverside park.
​Celestial Tectonics
Three towers on a podium over the Ramenka River are the new dominant elements on the edge of a Soviet “microdistrict”. Their scale is quite modern: the height is 176 m – almost a skyscraper; the facades are made of glass and steel. Their graceful proportions are emphasized by a strict white grid, and the volumetric composition picks up the diagonal “grid of coordinates” that was once outlined in the southwest of Moscow by the architects of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clouds over the Railroad
In the stead of former warehouses near “Lyubertsy-1” station, a new housing complex has been built, which peacefully coexists with the railroad, with the flyover bridge, and with the diverse surrounding scenery, not only dominating over the latter, but improving it.
​Towers in a Forest
The authors of the housing complex “In the Heart of Pushkino” were faced with a difficult task: to preserve the already existing urban forest, at the same time building on it a compound of rather high density. This is how three towers at the edge of the forest appeared with highly developed public spaces in their podiums and graceful “tucks” in the crowning part of the 18-story volumes.
​The Towers of “Sputnik”
Six towers, which make up a large housing complex standing on the bank of the Moskva River at the very start of the Novorizhskoe Highway, provide the answers to a whole number of marketing requirements and meets a whole number of restrictions, offering a simple rhythm and a laconic formula for the houses that the developer preferred to see as “flashy”.
​The Starting Point
In this article, we are reviewing two retro projects: one is 20 years old, the other is 25. One of them is Saint Petersburg’s first-ever townhouse complex; the other became the first example of a high-end residential complex on Krestovsky Island. Both were designed and built by Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners.
The Path to New Ornamentation
The high-end residential complex “Aristocrat” situated next to a pine park at the start of the Rublev Highway presents a new stage of development of Moscow’s decorative historicist architecture: expensively decorated, yet largely based on light-colored tones, and masterfully using the romantic veneer of majolica inserts.
​Renovation: the Far East Style
The competition project of renovating two central city blocks of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by UNK project, won the nomination “Architectural and planning solutions of city construction”.
​The Contact
The Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome presents Sergei Tchoban’s exhibition “Imprint of the future. Destiny of Piranesi’s City”. The exhibition includes four etchings, based on Roman architectural views of the XVIII century complemented by futuristic insertions, as well as a lot of drawings that investigate the same topic, at times quite expressively. The exhibition poses questions, but does not seem to give any answers. Since going to Rome is pretty problematic now, let’s at least examine the pictures.
​In Search of Visual Clarity
In this article, we are reviewing a discussion devoted to the question of designing city space elements, which is quite complicated for the Russian expanses of land. The discussion was organized by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the ArchMoscow convention in Gostiny Dvor.
​The City of the Sun
Jointly designed by Sergey Tchoban and Vladimir Plotkin, the VTB Arena Park complex can arguably be considered the perfect experiment on solving the centuries-old controversy between traditional architecture and modernism. The framework of the design code, combined with the creative character of the plastique-based dialogue between the buildings, formed an all-but-perfect fragment of the city fabric.
​...The Other Was Just Railroad Gin*
In their project of the third stage of “Ligovsky City” housing complex, located in the industrial “gray” belt of Saint Petersburg, the KCAP & Orange Architects & A-Len consortium set before themselves a task of keeping up the genius loci by preserving the contours of the railroad and likening the volumes of residential buildings to railroad containers, stacked up at the goods unloading station.
​Lions on Glass
While reconstructing the facades of Building 4 of Moscow Hospital #23, SPEECH architects applied a technique, already known from Saint Petersburg projects by Sergey Tchoban – cassettes with elements of classical architecture printed on glass. The project was developed gratis, as a help to the hospital.