Towers on the crossing

The complex “Miraks-Plaza” is a most large object that is being built today, designed by the architectural company “Sergey Kiselev and the Partners”. It is very large, the total floor space is 368 square meters. And the site for construction development is problematical. Yuri Luzhkov looking at the site said: ”…a most complicated one in Moscow, even in Russia”

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:
Julia Tarabarina

07 March 2008
Administrative and retail complex at Kulnev str.
Russia, Moscow, Kutuzovsky prospect (crossing with Kulnev street)

Project Team:
Sergej Kiselev, Andrey Nikiforov, Andrey Breslavcev, Anton Busalov, Gleb Holopov, Elena Klueva
Engineers: Igor Shvarcman, Konstantin Spiridonov

6.2006 — 9.2007 / 10.2007

The client: OAO “Mezhdunarodny Centr”

The pessimistic remark certainly is not reasonless. There is the metro, railroad and pressure canalization by the site’s boarders. Also, the difference in relief is around 10 meters, strictly saying, there starts the flank towards the Moscow-river. They also had to tear down and build again the building of local OVD and round the rectangular of the saved at its place “Prezident-servis” from the three sides.

This is true, but the territory is not only complicated but also is very advantageous. Its location is very observable – it is right on the cross of the two important roads: from one side there is the prestigious yellow-stoned “Kutuzovka” of the Stalin period, and from the other – the third ring road, the main for the past years Moscow route. Diagonally, across the river and the bridge, there are the glass towers of Moscow-City, and one of the most famous of them is the “Federaciya”, which is also being built by “Miraks”.

“Miraks-Plaza” by Sergey Kiselev will not just really grow from the crossing but figuratively as well. The two glass towers make its core, one is higher (47-storey) and the other is lower (41-storey). In the upper level their volumes are cut towards Kutuzovka, and it is done so smoothly and evenly, as if the glass giants are made of butter and a knife has cut them. The towers are positioned close and there is an X-gap between them that also seems to be cut from an imaginary “skyscraper pattern”, not along a straight line but along the two arches. The arched “inner” surfaces are entirely glazed and the flat “outside” facades are divided into storeys by horizontal stone stripes that add them materiality.

Besides the described facade intrigue, the outline of the two towers remains plain and strict, very skyscraper-like. From some viewpoints the towers can be mistakenly taken for a part of the CITY ensemble, they blend with it very harmoniously. From the other views, particularly for those driving along Kutuzovsky Highway, the towers will look like an “ambassador” of the CITY, a giant, which separated from its party and stepped over the river to have a walk. In the main body of the towers there will be offices, in the upper level – apartments.

The other part of the complex responds not to the CITY but to the Stalin period empire of Kutuzovsky Prospekt. The two 10-storey constructions, which facades are more of brown stone, round the “President-servis” in an arch. In fact, the external outline is inserted into a regularly-shaped oval – but this is well seen only on the layout, and those passing by can see only a dynamic curve that visually joins the two buildings into a single stone “stylobate” – a pedestal for the towers decorating the crossing, supporting the facade line of “Kutuzovka” and roundly finishing the neighboring institute district between Kulnev street and 1812 goda street.

Except for the dynamic curve, the most impressive part of the “stylobate” is the 4 giant atriums of 10 storeys, on facades they will appear as huge panels of continuous structural glazing, like thin membranes between “inside” and “outside”. The glass surfaces without frames will hang on metal ropes fixed to strong reinforced concrete beam over them – the German engineers were engaged into strength calculations. Inside there will be as much light as outside – the roofs of the atriums consist of triangle skylight lights (quite like shades of Kiselev’s “Krasnaya Roza”), and the walls have a double solution – the side walls are lined by stone-glass squares and resemble the facades, the side wall that meets those entering atrium – is mostly of glass, like the entrance glass panels. Atriums turn into a full transition between the city and the interior – it will be warm there, and light as well.

It would seem everything is clear now – we have an impressive object, bright, which uses all the advantages of its remarkable position. It is not surprising that the complex, together with “Federaciya” is one of the “significant” elements of “Miraks-Group” company’s advertising.

But a medal has another side (this does not at all exclude the first one). The thing is that according to Sergey Kiselev’s idea, the location of the site is not advantageous, but on the contrary – absolutely inconvenient for construction development. First of all this concerns transport issue: there is no other way to get here except by the 1812 goda street and vehicles will drive up making a considerable loop. But yet, the location of the constructed “Miramaks-Plaza” the architects poetically characterize – “between the two Cities”. Here, by the line of the today third ring road, Ekaterinburg Kamerkollezhsky Val and the Stalin period circular railway, once was the boarder of Moscow.

So, the new complex is right behind the border of the “old” capital, in a kind of border area. If imagine the once disappeared ground wall, on the line of which there is now the third ring road, “Plaza” would adjoin this imaginary city wall. Sergey Kiselev is convinced that it is better not to build anything huge either on crossing or by “boarder areas”. The best way is to leave the area empty. If it is necessary to construct there, then it must not be grand, without any extravagancy.

Quite a paradox. The impressive, good for advertising object with the two towers, the typology and the appearance of which are obviously close to skyscrapers, from one side, and from another – the authors want to make the architecture of the complex most calm, and, strictly saying, intelligent. All these things – the boldness of a skyscraper, advertising showiness and effectiveness and intelligent care for the context, history of the place, wish to calm the energy of the architectural giant – are seemingly dissonant and are even opposite. They destroy each other. Either the skyscraper, or the context.

Actually, there are skyscrapers in the closest surrounding. And the Kiselev’s “Miraks-Plaza” is somehow manages to combine the incompatible, playing with form and material. Regularly and exactly arranging different materials on the facades – glass and stone. Letting the towers grow, the “stylobate” curve – and at the same time taking them into firm geometrical frames of square and oval. Reducing the “city” of 368 thousand meter to the two volume structures: vertical parallelepiped and the “spreading” over the horizontal oval – and due to plainness of the forms achieving the needed level of composure and modesty.

Administrative and retail complex at Kulnev str.
Russia, Moscow, Kutuzovsky prospect (crossing with Kulnev street)

Project Team:
Sergej Kiselev, Andrey Nikiforov, Andrey Breslavcev, Anton Busalov, Gleb Holopov, Elena Klueva
Engineers: Igor Shvarcman, Konstantin Spiridonov

6.2006 — 9.2007 / 10.2007

The client: OAO “Mezhdunarodny Centr”

07 March 2008

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:

Julia Tarabarina
Headlines now
Julius Borisov: “The “Island” housing complex is a unique project – we took it on with...
One of the largest housing projects of today’s Moscow – the “Ostrov” (“Island”) housing complex built by Donstroy – is now being actively built in the Mnevniky Floodplain. They are planning to build about 1.5M square meters of housing on an area of almost 40 hectares. We are beginning to examine this project– first of all, we are talking to Julius Borisov, the head of the architectural company UNK, which works with most of the residential blocks in this grand-scale project, as well as with the landscaping part; the company even proposed a single design code for the entire territory.
A Balanced Solution
The residential complex “Balance” on Moscow’s Ryazansky Prospekt is one of the large-scale, and relatively economical (again, by Moscow standards) housing projects. Its first phase has already been built and landscaped; the work on the others is in progress. Nevertheless, it has an integral internal logic, which is based on the balance of functions, height, and even image and space composition. The proposed solutions are recognizable and laconic, so that each of them was reduced by the authors to a graphic “logo”. To see everything, you have to flip through the pages and look through to the end.
Horror Vacui
In the city of Omsk, ASADOV architects took on a very challenging task: they are developing a concept of a public and residential complex, which involves reconstructing the city’s first thermal power station standing right next to Omsk’s first fortress. This territory has already seen a lot of projects designed for it, and the residential function of this land site has been the subject of heated debate. In this article, we are examining the project in question, aimed at developing a mid-scale city fabric suited for the historical center. We also examine the above-mentioned debate. Seriously, will this project save this place or will it bring it to ruin?
A Multi-Faced Grotto
This building, seemingly small, unremarkable, semi-ruined, and not even very ancient – the Grotto in the Bauman Garden – was restored by the “People’s Architect” architectural company with all the care applicable to a heritage monument. They preserved the romantic appeal of the ruins, added multimedia content, and explored the cascading fountain, which, as it turned out, was completely preserved. Brace yourself for a long story!
First among Equals
The building of a kindergarten in the town of Beloyarsky is more than just another example of a modern educational space. Its design began a long time ago; it is located in Russia’s Far North; it is also a state-owned facility that is subject to regulations, and had to cut costs during construction (as usual). However, the design is contemporary, the layout is modern, and the building feels very fresh. The project is planned to be replicated.
Gustave Falconnier
In the “ruin” wing of Moscow’s Museum of Architecture, an exhibition of “glass bricks” by Gustave Falconnier is open. These “bricks” are essentially the predecessors of glass blocks, but more complex and beautiful. The exhibition shows genuine “bricks”, buildings composed of them, the history of the destruction of Falconnier windows in the building of the State Archives, and it also became one of the reasons to revive this unique production technology.
​Streamline for City Canyons
Stepan Liphart has designed two houses for two small land sites situated in the area surrounding the Varshavsky Railway Station, which is being intensively developed now. The sites are situated close but not next to each other, and they are different, yet similar: the theme is the same but it is interpreted in different ways. In this issue, we are examining and comparing both projects.
​The Eastern Frontier
“The Eastern Arc” is one of the main land resources of Kazan’s development, concentrated in the hands of a single owner. The Genplan Institute of Moscow has developed a concept for the integrated development of this territory based on an analytical transport model that will create a comfortable living environment, new centers of attraction, and new workplaces as well.
A School of Our Time
On the eve of the presentation of the new book by ATRIUM, dedicated to the design of schools and other educational facilities, based on the architects’ considerable experience, as well as expert judgments, we are examining the Quantum STEM school building, constructed according to their project in Astana. Furthermore, this building is planned to be the first one to start a new chain. The architects designed it in full accordance with modern standards but sometimes they did break away from them – only to confirm the general development rules. For example, there are two amphitheaters in the atrium, and there is an artificial hill in the yard that is meant to make the flat terrain of the Kazakhstan steppe more eventful.
The Fluffy Space
Designing the passenger terminal of the Orenburg airport, ASADOV architects continue to explore the space theme that they first introduced in Saratov and Kemerovo airports. At the same time, the architects again combine the global and the local, reflecting topics inspired by the local conceptual context. In this case, the building is “covered” by an Orenburg downy shawl – an analogy that is recognizable enough, yet not literal; some will see the reference and some won’t.
The White Fitness Center
The white health and fitness center, designed by Futura Architects at the entrance to St. Petersburg’s New Piter residential complex, provides the developing area not only with functional but also with sculptural diversity, livening up the rows of the brick city blocks with the whiteness of its seamless facades, cantilevered structures, and dynamic inclined lines.
The New Dawn
In their project of a technology park to be built on the grounds of “Integrated Home-Building Factory 500” in Tyumen Oblast – the biggest in Russia – the HADAA architects preserve not just the industrial function of the giant hangar built in the late 1980s and 90% of its structures, but also respond to its imagery. They also propose a “gradient” approach to developing the available areas: from open public ones to staff-only professional spaces. The goal of this approach is to turn the technology park into the driver for developing the business function between the industrial zones and the future residential area in accordance with the Integrated Land Development program.
​Tame Hills for New Residents
T+T Architects have reported that they have completed the landscaping project for the yard of the first stage of Alexandrovsky Garden housing complex in Ekaterinburg – the landscape complements the contextual architecture, tailored for the buyers’ preferences and downtown standards, with bold neo modernist master strokes and lush and diverse vegetation.
The Crystal of the City Block
The typology and plastique of large housing complexes move with the times, and you can sometimes find new subtleties in the scope of seemingly familiar solutions. The Sky Garden complex combines two well-known themes, forming a giant residential area consisting of tall slender towers, placed at the perimeter of a large yard, in which a crossroads of two pedestrian promenades is “dissolved”.
Sunshine, Air, and Water
The construction of the “Solnechny” (“Sunny”) summer camp, designed by ARENA project institute, has been completed, the largest summer camp within the legendary Artek seaside resort for children. It was conceived still in Soviet time, but it was not implemented. The modern version surprises you with sophisticated engineering solutions that are combined with a clear-cut structure: together, they generate Asher-esque spaces.
​Art Deco at the Edge of Space
The competition project by Stepan Liphart – a high-end residential complex executed in a reserved classicist style in close proximity to the Kaluga Space Museum – responds equally well to the context and to the client’s brief. It is moderately respectable, moderately mobile and transparent, and it even digs a little into the ground to comply with strict height restrictions, without losing proportions and scale.
​A Hill behind the Wall
The master plan of a new residential area in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by the Genplan Institute of Moscow with the participation of Kengo Kuma & Associates, is based on the complexities and advantages of the relief of the foothills: the houses are arranged in cascades, and multi-level improvement penetrates all the blocks, continuing in forest trails.
Going, Going, Gone!
The housing complex “Composers’ Residences” has been built in accordance with the project by Sergey Skuratov, who won the international competition back in 2011. It all began from the image search and “cutting off all spare”, and then implementing the recognizable Skuratov architecture. It all ended, however, in tearing down the buildings of the Schlichterman factory, whose conservation was stipulated by all the appropriate agencies prior to approving Skuratov’s project. This story seems to be educational and important for understanding the history of all the eleven years, during which the complex was designed and built.
The Life of Iron
The building of the Vyksa Metallurgy Museum, designed by Nikita Yavein and Sergey Padalko, provides for the natural aging of metal – it is planned that the iron will gradually rust – at the same time utilizing the advanced type of construction, based on metal’s ability to stretch. The building will be constructed from pipes and rolled steel supplied by OMK company, as well as from recycled bricks.
​And the Brook is Flowing
ASADOV Architects have designed a master plan for developing a residential area at the outskirts of Kaliningrad: a regular grid of housing blocks is enriched by large-scale public facilities, the main “artery” of the new area being the fortification channel that regains its original function.
Off We Go!
The new terminal of the Tomsk airport is being designed by ASADOV bureau. The architects keep on developing its identity, building the imagery upon the inventions of Nikolai Kamov, whose name the airport bears. The result is laconic, light, and, as always, levitating.
Maximum Flexibility
The Multispace Dinamo, which recently opened within the Arena business center, is an example of a project that is entirely based upon cutting-edge approaches and technologies. It is managed via a mobile application, special software was created for it, and the spaces are not just multifunctional but carefully mixed up, like some kind of jigsaw puzzle that allows the office workers to mix their working routine for better efficiency.
A Factory’s Path
Last week, the new center for constructivist studies “Zotov” hosted its first exhibition named “1922. Constructivism. The Inception”. The idea of creating this center belongs to Sergey Tchoban, while the project of the nearest houses and adjusting the building of the bread factory for the new museum function was done by the architect in collaboration with his colleagues from SPEECH. We decided that such a complex project should be examined in its entirety – and this is how we came up with this long-read about constructivism on Presnya, conservation, innovation, multilayered approach, and hope.
The Savelovsky Axis
The business center, situated right in the middle of a large city junction next to the Savelovsky Railway Station takes on the role of a spatial axis, upon which the entire place hinges: it spins like a spiral, alternating perfect glass of the tiers and deep recessions of inter-tier floors that conceal little windows invented by the architects. It is sculptural, and it claims the role of a new city landmark, in spite of its relatively small height of nine floors.
Parametric Waves
In the housing complex Sydney City, which FSK Group is building in the area of Shelepikhinskaya Embankment, Genpro designed the central city block, combining parametric facades and modular technology within its architecture.
The Multitone
The new interior of the Action Development headquarters can be regarded as an attempt to design the perfect “home” for the company – not just comfortable but broadcasting the values of modern development. It responds to the context, yet it is built on contrast, it is fresh but cozy, it is dynamic, yet it invites you to relax – everything of this coexists here quite harmoniously, probably because the architects found an appropriate place for each of the themes.
Refinement No Longer Relevant
A few days ago journalists were shown the building of Bread Factory #5, renovated upon the project by Sergey Tchoban. In this issue, we are publishing Grigory Revzin’s thoughts about this project.
The Comb of Strelna
In this issue, we are taking a close look at the project that won the “Crystal Daedalus” award – the “Veren Village” housing complex in Strelna, designed by Ostozhenka. Its low-rise format became a trigger for typological and morphological experiments – seemingly, we are seeing recognizable trends, yet at the same time there are a multitude of subtleties that are a pleasure to go into. Having studied this project in detail, we think that the award is well-deserved.
A Tectonic Shift
For several years now, Futura Architects have been working with the “New Peter” residential area in the south of St. Petersburg. In this article, we are covering their most recent project – a house, in which the architects’ architectural ideas peacefully coexist with the limitations of comfort-class housing, producing a “multilayered” effect that looks very attractive for this typology.
Three “Green” Stories
In this issue, we are examining three environmental urban projects showcased by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the Zodchestvo festival. The scale of the projects is really diverse: from gathering information and suggestions from the residents on a city scale to growing meadow grass between houses to paintings, which, as it turned out, possess power to cure trees, healing their wounded bark. + a list of kinds of plants natural for Moscow to help the developer.