По-русски

Compilation and modern interpretation of the context

Ilya Utkin, one of the three winners of "Tsarev Sad" ("Tsar's Garden") contest, talks about his project and the contest itself.

Interviewed by:
Alla Pavlikova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

05 August 2013
Interview
mainImg

Archi.ru: 

Ilya, what you do think about the contest and its results?

Ilya Utkin: 

Frankly, I do not understand the results of this contest and do not understand its purpose at all. Agreeing to participate in it, I assumed that the customer would not want to make any radical changes to the already-existing project. Generally speaking, everything was OK with the customer - the volumes and the dimensions of the building, and its square footage, while architecture per se did not matter at all against this background. Getting a new and clear architectural and town-planning solution was something that the architectural community was after, as well as the experts and the historians. They wanted to see a different architecture in this place. Apparently, it is because of this that the contest ever took place. However, its results and its three winners will give the project absolutely nothing. In reality, this is absolute stupidity.

As for me personally, I guess everyone knows my branch of architecture. If I am invited to participate in this or that contest, that means that the organizers and the customers are interested to know what I can say on the given subject - meaning they want to know what Ilya Utkin thinks about that. And in this case I simply expressed my opinion.

What concept did you propose for this land site?

Having studied the situation in detail, I proposed the concept that, in my view, was maximally contextual; my project preserved the historical image of the place. The new complex must become the final piece in the general composition, form the eventual appearance of the quarterly building of Kokorevskoe farmstead, from which today little is left. This place has a complex history, its buildings changed over different periods of time, several times they were rebuilt, much was destroyed and lost, unnecessary and inappropriate superstructures appeared there. I attempted to gather and to restore piece by piece the morphology of this land, to find the basis of its composition and to complete it with a powerful, dramatic and expressive “master stroke”. The symmetrical solution here seems to me the most appropriate one it answers all the tasks that were set before us.

Project by Utkin Studio. Overview

Utkin Studio, one of the contest winners. Photo courtesy by contest organizers.

The solution is based on the traditional layout of an expensive hotel of the early previous century. This is an extended building with a central entrance that is accentuated by the symmetrical facades of the side wings. Before the main facade, there is a long court, flanked by three-story structures. From the side of the Sophiyskaya Embankment, I proposed restoring the historical perimeter planning, while the courtyards were to be linked with passageways running through arched double-height openings.

Project by Utkin Studio. Overview

Project by Utkin Studio. Volume and space proposal


One can argue about the architecture of the complex, of course. Some people will even say that my project looks more like a train station or an airport. But I think it is far from that. Any architectural detail can be revised, shifted left or right a little bit - this is not what matters. What does matter, though, is finding the optimum volume/space/composition solution. And this is what my whole project was about.

What style would you prefer when forming the external image of the building?

The style that I proposed for the facade design may be called eclectic. This is a contemporary style that employs every architectural technique there is. This is freehand compositional design that uses natural materials exclusively. The tectonics of the buildings that are already there on the land site set the tone of the new construction. These are the arch spans, the facades coated with bricks, stone, ceramics, and metal. All the details of the project are conditioned by the environment.

Winner of "Tsarev Sad" Contest. Project by Utkin Studio

Project by Utkin Studio. Compositional solution. Top view

Besides, the architectural image was defined by the proximity of the Red Square, Saint Basil Cathedral, and the Historical Museum. My project also takes into consideration the architectural traditions of the late XIX century. This is some sort of a patchwork, compilation, and a modern interpretation of the context.

The specifications of the contest included "preservation and improvement of the Kremlin Ensemble from the apartments". You can only see the Saint Basil from the windows of each of the apartments if you use the classic "bay window" layout of the facades or if you use extended windows. Our proposal is based on the triangular bay window that protrudes a meter and a half from the wall surface.

Project by Utkin Studio. Masterplan

 

All the basic markers of the existing project that was developed by Vyacheslav Osipov, are preserved in my concept - because they were gotten by sweat of the architects’ brow in the course of the studio's three years' work.

Fragment of the facade with triangular bay windows. Project by Utkin Studio

Main facade. Project by Utkin Studio

 







Project by Utkin Studio. Facade from the Kremlin side

Do you plan to take part in the development of the project on the conditions that were offered to you?

So far, I am not in the loop of all the intricacies of the implementation plan of the projects, I only heard some bits and pieces of how the contest ended, and I am afraid to even suppose how it might develop further on. I did not communicate with the commissioner on this subject either.

I would describe the whole situation, however, as “Swan, Crayfish and Pike” (A classic Russian fable by Krylov that has become the Russian idiom close to the English “circular firing squad” – translator’s note). As we all very well remember, the heroes of this fable never did move the cart off its place. Any project activity must be centralized and must be submitted to a single "brain center". There must be someone who is accountable for the fate of the building that is under construction; somebody who is capable of making the right decisions. In the situation where the borders of responsibility areas are vague, and important decisions are made by different people, it turns out that nobody - and I mean nobody - is responsible for the end result. And this is a system of ultimate negligence and irresponsibility. And, to be quite frank, I do not at all feel like trying to prove something and carry my own millstone in this situation.

Project by Utkin Studio. Facade/Section

Contest project by Utkin Studio. View from the side of the Moskva River


05 August 2013

Interviewed by:

Alla Pavlikova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
comments powered by HyperComments
Headlines now
​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.
​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.
​Christmas Skyscrapers
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.
​Parade Order
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.
​Super Pergola
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.
​Dialectical Manifesto
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”.
​Asimov’s Dream
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.
​Near-Earth Space
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.
​The Ecological Bend
A story about how plans for laying a road on the border of a park turned into plans for saving the ecosystem and improving the walking trails.
​Kasimir from Kemerovo
The project of the branch of the Russian Museum for the Siberian Art Cluster is based on the ideas of Suprematism: basic shapes, and dynamism of color and form.
​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.
In the Rhythm of Block Construction
Last week, the housing complex “Ty i Ya” (“You and Me”) was presented, built in the northwest of Moscow. By a number of parameters, it exceeds the originally stated comfort-class format, and, on the other hand, fully meeting the city block construction paradigm, popular in Moscow, demonstrates a few interesting features, such as a new kind of public spaces for the residents, and high-ceilinged apartments on the first floors.