Tall and Round

  • contemporary architecture

This June, «Aleksey Ivanov architectural studio “Archstroydesign ASD”» took part in the architectural contest for the project of a multifunctional residential complex in the center of Novosibirsk. For the Siberia’s capital, the architects proposed a composition of a few houses that together from a circle.


What was peculiar about the specifications was the fact that the architects were to design two buildings fully independent of one another. This was due to the fact that the commissioner owned not one but two land sites, one being the size of a whole city block, and the other being a small plot on the other side of the street. “We could not connect them in any possible way, so from the start it was all about designing some sort of a pair, two parts of which would visually interact and at the same time be completely independent of one another” – Aleksey Ivanov explains. The architects almost at once decided that one of the parts of this pair should be a high-rise volume – almost the entire Novosibirsk downtown area consists of low-rise bearing-wall houses and it was in need of some high-rise centerpiece. This is why on the smaller site Aleksey Ivanov proposed to build a skyscraper. Apart from other benefits, this solution helped minimize the construction footprint and fill in more than half of the site with green planting – regretfully, the Siberian city lacks green parks even more than it does high-rise centerpieces.

And it was mainly for this same reason that the green planting became the main theme of the second house. In fact, the architects plant trees and shrubs along the entire perimeter of the block – and ultimately get a giant green rectangular carpet that they then “grow” their houses upon. The residential volumes are placed on a single stlylobate – quite a predictable solution that lends the opportunity to hide under the green territory the necessary number of parking places and the necessary volumes of the infrastructure.

Inscribing this circle into the green rectangle of the park, the architects then split it in two with a wide esplanade going from North to South. First of all, this was a necessary move from the insolation standpoint, so as not to leave the courtyards devoid of sunlight. Second of all, the green diagonal opens up directly to the skyscraper standing on the opposite side of the street. Yet another “green corridor” (yes, pun intended) is cut through to Nekrasov Street: the architects sensibly decided that two entrances to the huge territory of the huge complex will obviously not be enough. If we had pieced this house together out of separate “sector” buildings, we would never have achieve the necessary figures of usable floor area – Aleksey Ivanov explains – this is why practically from every building we shoot the “protuberance” volume. This gave us the opportunity not only to get the necessary number of square meters but also break the inner space into a system of different-looking courtyards, thanks to which each of the houses got a secured territory of its own.

There is also a shared area here – round in shape of course. And, because the summer in Novosibirsk is two months long at most, functionally this public space is doubled by a roofed pedestrian gallery – also circular on the layout. What is especially interesting here is the fact that the architects do not “belt” the square with it but elevate it to the level of the upper marks of the buildings. In fact, the square gets sort of a halo above it, a glass ring that visually gathers the differently looking buildings into a single composition. At night it can be backlit and thus become a prominent oriented point on the entire city scale.

Text by: Aleksey Ivanov, Anna Martovitskaya
Translated by Anton Mizonov

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