XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi left behind a vast architectural legacy. Besides the sports and housing projects, these are the impressive infrastructure objects, among which a special place is occupied by "Olympic Park" railway station built upon the project of "Studio 44".
Written by: Anna Martovitskaya Translated by: Anton Mizonov
For the team of Nikita Yavein this project became a huge professional challenge. And it was not so much about the status of the object (the architects were to create, no more no less, the "gate" of the Olympics), as in the time frames that the object was to be completed in. "Studio 44" got the commission for the project of the railway terminal in March of 2010, i.e. a little less than four years before the Olympics: before that, the project was done by a different team but the customer started having problems with it, both from the technological and the architectural standpoint. "Strictly speaking, in Russia the architects with an experience of designing railroad terminals are rather hard to find. "Studio 44" had such an experience - first of all, we built the Ladozhsky terminal in Saint Petersburg, and, second of all, by that time we had already won the international contest for building the main railroad terminal in Astana, and the work on it was in full swing - Nikita Yavein shares - furthermore, the Ladozhsky terminal was designed in a record-breaking term, a little over a year, and I think that to a large extent it was this particular project that brought us such a prestigious and complex order as the Olympic Terminal. A mere month and a half after the first meeting with the customer we already signed the official contract, and we started designing even earlier than that: strictly speaking, in the end of April the schematic design of the complex was approved by the architectural board of "Olimpstroy".
It is clear that under such circumstances the architects were devoid of the possibility to start their project "from scratch". For one, before "Studio 44" coming into the project, it already included the passenger platforms and the track facilities. Besides, the architects were supposed to tie in the location of the building with the layout of the entrance area of the Olympic Park. At the same time, both the track facilities and the layout of the park had a curvilinear geometry, so the "curved" plan of the terminal was in fact predestined: born at the junction of two curvilinear geometries, it acted as the perfect matchmaker between them.
This plan is perfectly complemented with the non-linear "flowing" architecture of the building. Like two waves running abreast one another, the awnings over the passenger platforms billow over the central volume, and then, abruptly changing their direction, cascade down in the marquee that covers the terminal's square from the sun. "The terminal is both the beginning and the end of the whole planning system of the Olympic Park, very much like its fountainhead and its estuary. Because it is from here that the route to the main Olympic Square starts - Nikita Yavein explains - we wanted our architecture to set the tone to this whole momentum, and to adequately convey its dynamics. Hence - the constant flowing of the form and the "hydraulic" plastic of the shell of this edifice". Such plastic is resonant with the character of the surrounding landscape: the building of the terminal is located at the very edge of the Imeritinskaya lowland, to the north of which the relief ascends to the mountains in ledges and terraces.
Of course, the architectural and planning solution of the terminal was influenced by its very function: a modern terminal, "Olympic Gate" or not, besides looking beautiful, also needs to be really easy to navigate. In order to optimize the organization of traffic, luggage, and passenger flows, the architects made a two-level square in front of the terminal. The top level - a platform situated at a height of 6.3 meters - is wholly given to the pedestrians and is treated as the public territory, from where the grand staircase leads down to the Olympic Park. Down below, there are driveways leading to the railway station and the places for boarding/alighting of the passengers of the public transportation and personal vehicles, parking lots for the personnel vehicles, and the bus depot.
The inside organization of the terminal is also of a multilevel nature. The infrastructure of the passenger service for the short-distance destinations is mainly situated under the platform, while the long-distance terminal is situated above the tracks, in the form of a в виде конкорса. Still higher, at the point of +18,620 meters, there is a waiting lounge, a hall for the official delegations, a bank, a service center, a VIP lounge and the maintenance facilities. All the levels are interconnected and are also connected to the passenger platforms with stairways, ramps, moving stairs, and elevators.
The complex multi-branch system of vertical communications forms the "face" of the inside space of the terminal, also serving to express the idea of constant movement and locomotion, in its own way. It is also manifested in the bare structure of the roof supported by multicolored pillars: the architects deliberately decided not to hide it with the false ceiling but simply covered it with fireproof paint of a steel hue that perfectly matches the natural stone that was used fir covering the walls and the elevator chutes. As for the stone itself, "Studio 44" made its choice in favor of the Italian travertine that looks very much like the local limestone that was extensively used in the buildings of Sochi during the 1950's. "This is both tribute to the local building tradition and at the same time a token of reverence to the natural surroundings, i.e. the mountains" - says Nikita Yavein. The travertine, by the way, is used both in the interior and in the exterior design - which enhances the integrity of the architectural image: it is only the texture of the stone (jagged or sawn) that varies.
A special mention should be given to the roof that forms the image of the entire complex. Transforming the striking-looking idea from paper to reality proved to be very challenging indeed: in fact, its every unit was designed individually. Each element of the metallic structures (these being over three hundred there in the roof coverage) was calculated on a special formula, was prepared individually and then was going through a controlled assembly with the "model-adjustment" procedure. The architects deliberately made their choice in favor of the hollow tubes: the circular sections facilitated the junction of the columns and the supporting struts, linking the struts to the roof and so on. The roof coverage is executed from galvanized lock-seam sheet metal. In order to bring into reality its curvilinear geometry, the architects had to make use of the parametric modeling software.
For the terminal, just as for a number of other Olympic objects in Sochi, special ecological standards BREEAM Bespoke were developed, ones that took into consideration the specifics of Russia and the sport objects. By the moment it was done, though, "Studio 44" had already got the federal approval with its project, so in fact the architects had to go back to it introducing a whole number of changes related to energy and water conservation, the quality of the indoor air and the acoustic comfort, as well as creating the conditions for the usage of bicycles. The building of the terminal uses energy-saving windows, low-noise ventilation equipment, lights with energy-saving bulbs, automatically adjusted lighting systems and motion sensors. Special impulse and infrared sensors also control the water consumption, upon the roof there are solar batteries, all the ventilation machines are equipped with inside filters, while the system of purifying the outside air is a two-phase one. This giant work was not done in vain, though: it was "Olympic Park" that became Russia's first edifice that was certified in accordance with the international standard BREEAM. It was awarded the honorable rating VERY GOOD with a total number of points 63,3% - which, for today, is the absolute record for Russia.
A five-story housing complex designed by Stepan Liphart in Kazan, responds to the stylistically diverse context with its form, both integral and agile, and as for the vicinity of the “Ekiyat” movie theater, the complex responds to it with a semblance of theater curtain folds, and active plastique of its balconies, that bear some resemblance to theater boxes. Even if excessively pompous a little bit, the complex does look fresh and modern. One will have a hard time finding Art Deco elements in it, even though the spirit of the 1930s, run through the filter of neo-modernism, is still clearly felt, just as a twist of the Occident.
The restoration of the Salt Warehouse for the Zvenigorod Museum, on the one hand, was quite accurately implemented according to the design of the People’s Architect, and, on the other hand, it was not without some extra research and adjustments, which, in this case, was quite beneficial for the project. The architects discovered the original paint color, details of the facades, and studied the history of rebuilds of this building. As a result, the imposing character of the empire building, the oldest one in the city, and the differences of later additions were accurately revealed. Most importantly, however, the city got a new cultural and public space, which is already “working” in full swing.
From Moscow to Khabarovsk
This year, the works submitted by the students of the Genplan Institute of Moscow included a proposal for revitalizing Moscow’s “Pravda” complex with its structures designed by Ilia Golosov, landscaping an East Siberian town, located a 12-hour drive away from the nearest big city, and three versions of turning a derelict “pioneer camp” into an educational hub, similar to “Sirius”. Two sites out of three have an interested client, so chances are that the students’ works will be ultimately implemented.
Harmonization of Intentions
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Cité for Naro-Fominsk
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A Tower and a Manor House
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The Warm Stone
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For All Times
The modular technology combined with the building material of glued wood allows the architectural company Rhizome to create quick-mount hotels (no less!) that are highly rated by the architectural community: last week, the new hotel “Vremena Goda. Igora” scored three awards. Below, we are examining the project in detail.
The Other Way Around
Few awards instead of many, the award ceremony conducted on the first day instead of last, projections instead of sketch boards, trees inside and art objects outside – the renewal of the Architecton festival seemingly took the sure-fire path of turning all the professional traditions upside down – or at least those that happened to be within the scope of the organizers’ attention. There’s certainly a lot to pick on, but the exhibition does feel fresh and improvisational. It looks that pretty soon these guys will set trends for Moscow as well. We shared with you about some elements of the festival in our Telegram channel, and now we are examining the whole thing.
ArchiWOOD-14: Building Bridges
This season, the festival’s jury decided not to award a grand prize: judging by the fact that the shortlist included several projects that had not reached the award in previous years, and the “best house” was pronounced to be an undoubtedly beautiful but mass-produced model, the “harvest” of wooden buildings in 2023 was not too abundant. However, there were many unusual typologies among the finalists, and restoration and revitalization projects received their share of recognition. Let’s take a look at all the finalists.
The Chinese Symphony
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Ensemble of Individualities
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Black and Red
Kazakov Grand Loft received its name for a reason: responding to the client’s brief and proceeding from the historical industrial architecture of its immediate surroundings, Valery Kanyashin and Ostozhenka architects proposed a new version of a modern house designed in the fashionable “loft” style. What makes this building different is the fact that the bricks here are dark gray, and the facades of the romantic “fortress” towers blossom with magnificent glazing of the windows in the upper part. The main highlight of the complex, however, is the multiple open air terraces situated on different levels.
Mezonproject has won the national architectural and town planning competition for designing a hotel and a water recreation center in the city of Irkutsk. The architects chose hummocks of Baikal ice as a visual image.
The Mastery of Counterpoint
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The project of the museum of Aleksey Gastev, the ideologist of scientific organization of work, located in his hometown of Suzdal, is inscribed in multiple contexts: the contest of a small town, the context of avant-garde design, the context of “lean production”, and the context of the creative quest of Nikolai Lyzlov’s minimalist architecture – and it seems to us that this project even reveals a distant memory of the fact that Aleksey Gastev learned his craft in France.
In memory of Jean-Louis Cohen
Marina Khrustaleva – about Jean-Louis Cohen (20.07.1949-7.08.2023), French architect and architectural historian that specialized in modern architecture and city planning.
On the Hills
In the project by Studio 44, the “distributed” IT campus of Nizhny Novgorod is based on well-balanced contracts. Sometimes it is hovering, sometimes undulating, sometimes towering over a rock. For every task, the architects found appropriate form and logic: the hotels are based on a square module, the academic buildings are based on a “flying” one, and so on. Modernist prototypes, specifically, Convent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette, stand next to references to the antique Forum and the tower of a medieval university – as well as next to contextual allusions that help inscribe the buildings of the future campus into the landscape of the city hills with their dominants, high slopes, breathtaking river views, the historical city center, and the Nizhny Novgorod University.
The Magic Carpet
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A Copper Step
Block 5, designed by ASADOV architects as part of the “Ostrov” (“Island”) housing complex, is at the same time grand-scale, conspicuous thanks to its central location – and contextual. It does not “outshout” the solutions used in the neighboring buildings, but rather gives a very balanced implementation of the design code: combining brick and metal in light and dark shades and large copper surfaces, orthogonal geometry on the outside and flexible lines in the courtyard.
The Light for the Island
For the first time around, we are examining a lighting project designed for a housing complex; but then again, the authors of the nighttime lighting of the Ostrov housing complex, UNK lighting, proudly admit that this project is not just the largest in their portfolio, but also the largest in this country. They describe their approach as a European one, its chief principles being smoothness of transitions, comfort to the eye, and the concentration of most of the light at the “bottom” level – meaning, it “works” first of all for pedestrians.
Spots of Light
A new housing complex in Tyumen designed by Aukett Swanke is a very eye-pleasing example of mid-rise construction: using simple means of architectural expression, such as stucco, pitched roofs, and height changes, the architects achieve a “human-friendly” environment, which becomes a significant addition to the nearby park and forest.
Ledges and Swirls
The housing complex “Novaya Zarya” (“New Dawn”) designed by ASADOV Architects will become one of the examples of integrated land development in Vladivostok. The residential area will be characterized by various typologies of its housing sections, and a multitude of functions – in addition to the social infrastructure, the complex will include pedestrian promenades, shopping malls, office buildings, and recreational facilities. The complex is “inscribed” in a relief with a whopping 40-meter height difference, and overlooks the Amur Bay.
Agglomeration on an Island
Recently, an approval came for the master plan of the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk agglomeration, which was developed by a consortium headed by the Genplan Institute of Moscow. The document provides for the creation of 12 clusters, the totality of which will give the region a qualitative leap in development and make the island more self-sufficient, more accessible, and less dependent on the mainland. We are inviting you to examine the details.
Ivan Grekov: “A client that wants to make a building that is “about architecture” is...
In this article, we are talking to Ivan Grekov, the leader of the architectural company KAMEN (translates as “stone”), the author of many high-profile projects that have been built in Moscow in the recent years, about the history of his company, about different approaches to form making, about different meanings of volume and facade, and about “layers” in working with the environment – at the example of two projects by Osnova Group. These are the MIRAPOLIS complex on the Mira Avenue in Rostokino, whose construction began at the end of last year, and the multifunctional complex in the 2nd Silikatny Proezd on the Zvenigorodsky Highway; recently, it received all the required approvals.
Grasping and Formulating
The special project “Tezisy” (“Abstracts”), showcased at Arch Moscow exhibition in Moscow’s Gostiny Dvor, brought together eight young “rock stars of architecture”, the headliner being Vladislav Kirpichev, founder of the EDAS school. In this article, we share our impressions of the installations and the perspectives of the new generation of architects.
The White Tulip
Currently, there are two relevant projects for the Great Cathedral Mosque in Kazan, which was transferred to a land site in Admiralteiskaya Sloboda in February. One of them, designed by TsLP, was recently showcased at Arch Moscow. In this article, we are covering another project, which was proposed during the same period for the same land site. Its author is Aleksey Ginzburg, the winner of the 2022 competition, but now the project is completely different. Today, it is a sculptural “flower” dome symbolizing a white tulip.
The architectural company ATRIUM opened a gallery of its own in a metaverse. Inside, one can examine the company’s approach and main achievements, as well as get some emotional experience. The gallery is already hosting cyberspace business meetings and corporate events.
From Darkness to Light
Responding to a lengthy list of limitations and a lengthy – by the standards of a small building – list of functions, Vladimir Plotkin turned the project of the Novodevichy Monastery into a light, yet dynamic statement of modern interpretation of historical context, or, perhaps, even interpretation of light and darkness.
Modernism in Avant-Garde
The contest proposal that Studio 44 made for the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet Theater is bright in all senses, and in many ways even provocative – just like a modern theater performance should be. Being in context with modern culture, it even shocks you in some respects. At first, you are amazed at the red color that is present all around, and then you gradually make sense of the picturesque congregation of volumes that share a multitude of functions. And it’s only later that you realize that this conglomerate conceals a modernist building, most of which the architects save intact.