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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Park of Sentiments
The project of “Romantic Park Tuchkov Buyan”, which was developed by the consortium of Studio 44 and WEST 8, and has won an international competition, combines sculptural landscape design and wooden structures, variety of spatial features and an eventful agenda, designed for diverse audience, with a beautiful and complex passeist idea of a palace park, meant to evoke thoughts and feelings.
Architecture as an Educational Tool
The concept of a charity school “Tochka Budushchego” (“Point of the Future”) in Irkutsk is based on cutting-edge educational programs, and is designed, among other things, for adapting orphaned children for independent life. An important role is played by the architecture of the building: its structure and different types of interconnected spaces.
The Gallery Approach
In this article, we are covering the concept of a Central District Clinic for 240 patients, designed by Ginzburg Architects, which won at a competition organized by the Architects Union and the Healthcare Ministry.
In this issue, we are publishing the concept of a standard clinic designed by UNK Project, which took second place in the competition organized by the Union of Architects of Russia in collaboration with the Healthcare Ministry.
From Foundation to Teaspoon
Based on the taste of their friendly clients, the architects Olga Budennaya and Roman Leonidov designed and built a house in the Moscow metropolitan area playing Art Nouveau. At the same time, they enriched the typology of a private house with modern functions of a garage loft and a children’s art studio.
Continuation and Development
The second “office” stage of Comcity, the most popular business park of the “New Moscow” area, continues the underground street of the already existing part of the complex, responding to its architectural identity.
The Flying One
Expected to become an analogue of Moscow’s Skolkovo, the project of the High Park campus at Saint Petersburg’s ITMO University, designed by Studio 44, mesmerizes us with its sheer scale and the passion that the architects poured into it. Its core – the academic center – is interpreted as an avant-garde composition inspired by Piazza del Campo with a bell tower; the park is reminiscent of the “rays” of the main streets of Saint Petersburg, and, if watched from a birds-eye view, the whole complex looks like a motherboard with at least four processors on it. The design of the academic building even displays a few features of a sports arena. The project has a lot of meanings and allusions about it; all of them are united by plastique energy that the hadron collider itself could be jealous of.
A Comfortable City in Itself
The project that we are about to cover is seemingly impossible amidst human anthills, chaotically interspersed with old semi-neglected dachas. Meanwhile, the housing complex built on the Comcity business part does offer a comfortable environment of decent city: not excessively high-rise and moderately private as a version of the perfect modern urbanist solution.
Moving on the Edge
The housing complex “Litsa” (“Faces”) on Moscow’s Khodynka Field is one of the new grand-scale buildings that complement the construction around it. This particular building skillfully tackles the scale, subjugating it to the silhouette and the pattern; it also makes the most of the combination of a challenging land site and formidable square footage requirements, packing a whole number of features within one volume, so the house becomes an analogue of a city. And, to cap it all, it looks like a family that securely protects the children playing in the yard from... well, from everything, really.
Visual Stability Agent
A comparatively small house standing on the border of the Bolshevik Factory combines two diametrically opposite features: expensive materials and decorative character of Art Deco, and a wide-spaced, even somewhat brutal, facade grid that highlights a laminated attic.
The Faraday Cage
The project of the boutique apartment complex in the 1st Truzhenikov Lane is the architects’ attempt to squeeze a considerable volume into a tiny spot of land, at the same time making it look graceful and respectable. What came to their rescue was metal, stone, and curvilinear glass.
The Union of Art and Technology
His interest for architecture of the 1930’s is pretty much the guiding star for Stepan Liphart. In his project of the “Amo” house on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island, the architect based himself on Moscow Art Deco - aesthetically intricate and decorated in scratch-work technique. As a bonus, he developed the city block typology as an organic structure.
The project that Evgeniy Gerasimov and Partners developed for Moscow’s Leningrad Avenue: the tallest building in the company’s portfolio, continuing the tradition of Moscow’s Stalin architecture.
In the project that they developed for a southern region of Russia, OSA Architects use multilayered facades that create an image of seaside resort architecture, and, in the vein of the latest trends of today, mix up different social groups that the residents belong to.
Just a Mirror for the Sun
The house that Sergey Skuratov designed in Nikolovorobinsky Alley is thought out down to the last detail. It adapts three historical facades, interprets a feeling of a complex city, is composed of many layers, and catches plenty of sunlight, from sunrises to sunsets. The architect himself believes that the main role of this house is creating a background for another nearby project of his, Art House in the Tessinsky Alley.
Part of the Whole
On June 5, the winners of Moscow Architectural Award were announced. The winners list includes the project of a school in Troitsk for 2,100 students, with its own astronomy dome, IT testing ground, museum, and a greenhouse on the roof.
Yet another project of a private school, in which Archimatika realizes the concept of aesthetic education and introduces a new tradition: combining Scandinavian and Soviet experience, turning to works of art, and implementing sustainable technologies.