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Arch Speaking to the River

Aleksey Ivanov's studio "Arkhstroydesign" developed several large-scale urban planning concepts.

13 March 2014
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"Ekodolye" Settlement, Orenburg © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

For "Arkhstroydesign", the past year turned to be a very productive one indeed: the team of architects lead by Aleksey Ivanov got several commissions to develop master plans for large-scale residential areas. And, even though the designed settlements are different in their size, landscape, and geography, the architect sees a lot of common among them. "What is really in demand now is the rational urban planning that gracefully ties in the rigorous economic factors and the urge to create a thought-out environment that is comfortable to live in" - he explains. How these principles were implemented in every specific project, Aleksey Ivanov shared with Archi.ru.

"Ekodolye" Settlement, Samara Region © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

"Ekodolye" ("Eco-Valley" - translator's note), Samara Region, 329 hectares

- This project has a budget so tight that initially we thought that any "frills" were completely out of the question. We were to forget from the very start about the "liberties" in the form of straggling parks or creating a broad "fork" over the areas of the land sites. Upon carefully studying the peculiarities of this sight, however, and putting a certain spin on them, we were ultimately able to design for the future settlement a rather large number of recreational areas and public territories.

On the plan, the land site has the shape of an almost perfect oval, only its western border is a bit more on the winding side. Diagonally, it is pierced by a ravine with a brook running at its bottom and flowing into the Sok River, while on the outside radius it is skirted by a highway. This was what prompted the planning idea: through the territory of the settlement, we run the arch of the road that is meant to connect the two exits to the highway. This arch crosses the brook in the conditional center of the territory, thus dividing it into four virtually equal segments, which, on the one side, conditioned the construction priorities of the project, and, on the other side, allowed for introducing into the tissue of the settlement a self-sufficient green-and-blue axis that is completely traffic-free - the boulevards running along the landscaped embankments. The main arc of the road predestined the pattern for all the other secondary roads: we do not use here the rigid orthogonal grid, opting for the smooth curves and ovals. The advantages of such a plan are hard to overestimate: within the settlement, the perspectives constantly change, and, in fact, each estate can boast a unique view of its own to the nearest surroundings and the scenery that spreads out there.

What is also important is the fact that such planning concept allowed us to avert almost all of the land sites from the main road - all the houses here face either this or that secondary road, while the main road is isolated from the cottages with green areas - which ensures peace and privacy to the people who will ultimately live here. The architects were also able to gracefully set off different types of housing here: along the highway, they place the public functions and the logistic complexes, after them there are these sectional medium-rise houses, and then there are townhouses and other buildings. The public centers are located at the settlement's every keystone, plus near the densely built spots. The recreational and the social centers, on the other hand, are "scattered" all over the area so as to give its every district a public space of its very own. 

"Ekodolye Sholokhovo" Settlement, Moscow Region © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

"Ekodolye Sholokhovo" Settlement, Moscow Region, 102 hectares
- This settlement is located but 15 kilometers away from Moscow, down the Dmitrovskoe Highway. Its very name lets one guess that this is the same customer as in the previous case, so it is not surprising that the project is based on similar principles. The master plans even turned out somewhat similar to each other, or at least this is the first impression that they produce, thanks to the arches of the two "in-settlement" roads. They perfectly fit the existing terrain - so the architects did not even have to "come up with" anything new in this case. This place also has a river whose smooth bend we offset with the arc of the main road. In this case, though, they are facing one another, so the central part of the settlement looks like a conditional "fish" when you look at its layout.

The "fish" even has a tail - the site falls into two unequal parts, the smaller of which adjoins the highway and has a diamond shape on the plan. At this spot, we organize the entrance group with all the necessary public and commercial functions, and, on the same territory, we concentrate the entire social infrastructure: the kindergarten, the sports grounds, the school, the community center, and the sectional medium-rise buildings.

And as for the part of the site that adjoins the river, it is predictably given to the individual houses. Here we also broke from tradition a bit, though, placing along the forest edge townhouses instead of villas - this was done to attract the mass buyer. The main arc of the road in this part of the settlement serves as a string on which we "hang" a few circular-layout areas - these are roundabouts, and landmark places that are meant to make each part of the settlement more recognizable. There are also small green squares that will give the settlement a fair share of coziness and privacy. The river, together with its ravines, will also be turned into a recreation area, also serving as the natural zoning element and something that will determine the construction phases.

"Dream" Settlement, Moscow Region © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

"Mechta" ("Dream") Settlement, Moscow Region, 222 hectares
- This villa community is being built between the Dmitrovskoe and the Leningrad highways, 23 kilometers away from the Moscow Ring Road. One of its features is the fact that it has in it a maximally broad range of housing - you will see here compact and two-level apartments, townhouses and duplexes, as well as villas of various square footages. This was the customer's main requirement who was deliberately going to bring to the market a multi-format product - this is one of our primary objectives was coming up with a master plan that would allow for such "peaceful coexistence".

"Dream" Settlement, Moscow Region © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

On the plan, the land site has the shape of a complex polygon that has by one "long" side - it is here that it adjoins the highway. The idea of the main "arched axis" that, together with the highway, would look somewhat like an angle protractor was also suggesting itself - but in this case we string upon in separate residential clusters. These are separated by the green zone - a small park that connects the road to the main forest, on the edge of which this settlement is being built. Through this park, we run a boulevard that we make deliberately winding - connecting the various public spaces and centers it offers and unconventional walking route that we thought would be a lot more interesting than just a straightforward "shooting-through" to the woodland. Plus - each cluster gets a public center of its own, together with a pedestrian square and a cultural object. 

Working on this project, I would often recall the words of Francesco Milizia "The plan of the city must be positioned in such a way that the beauty of the whole would be divided into an infinite number of endless beauties, so different that they never once repeat themselves". And I think that we have been able to build, if not a city, then a fairly large settlement in full accordance with these principles. In particular, we paid a lot of attention to designing the residential quarters as such - totally, we developed about a dozen types which ensures the visual variety of "Mechta". 

"Okhotino" Settlement, Tver Region © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

Okhotino, Yaroslavl Region, 80 hectares
- This settlement is located 145 kilometers away from Moscow, on the bank of the Nerl River, surrounded by the almost-virgin leaves and pine forests. For us, this project became the exposure to a new format of a countryside settlement - because although there are sites of individual residential housing, the residential function as such is far from dominant here. Here, the houses from the start were built for "renting out", so, this is rather a settlement of a recreational type - we were to lay the main stress on the entertainment and sports infrastructure, providing it in as broad range as possible. 

Analyzing the western analogues, we came to a conclusion that the sport resorts as such are not in great demand, really - the people who live in the contemporary megalopolises get so tired of their noise, constant rush, and information flow that they primarily look for the opportunities to relax in the first place. The settlement and its surrounding lend themselves to that, so we paid special attention to designing the pedestrian and equestrian routes, spots for meditation, as well as the objects of rural tourism. The challenge that we had to face was the fact that by the moment that we actually entered into our project, the territory of the future settlement already had in it the wood clearings of the future roads. In fact, we had to deal with the existing road grid, and it was definitely far from perfect. We think that our main achievement in this situation was being able to maximally relieve the bank area - in fact, there is only one recreation zone running along the river, and here I am not speaking about the water protection zone but about a much broader "belt" that turns the rivage into a sanctuary of sorts, a place where you can touch the magnificence of the nature but where you cannot be the absolute master of things. The project was not quite a success because we never were able to get across to our customer the planning subtleties that made the private housing from the resort type. In the latter case, you have to do something closer to Disneyland, and our project turned out to be on the boring side.

"Adagio Houses", Sverdlovsk Region © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

"Adagio Houses", Sverdlovsk Region, 182 hectares
- Yet another project that we would want to feature today stands apart from the rest. First of all, due to the fact that it belongs on a different price segment: "Adagio Houses" is a premium-class project and it was important to highlight its status when designing it. It is situated in Sverdlovsk Region, on the bank of the Ilinskoe Lake, 30 kilometers away from Yekaterinburg. The first thing that we did was think out and design a highly developed community center that was in effect a whole landscaped block on the lake shore that offered most diverse scenarios of recreational activities, including those of the family type. This block stands a little bit apart from the rest of the settlement, and this has to do with the features of the land site one of "protuberances" of which is fully stretched along the water area. We decided that it would be worth it to reserve this unique place for ALL the people who would ultimately live here - and this is why we concentrated the public functions here. 

"Adagio Houses", Sverdlovsk Region © "Arkhstroydesign ASD"

As for the houses that are from 200 to 330 square meters, they are situated on the main territory of the settlement that has the shape of a rectangle that "reaches out" its broad sleeves towards the shore line. The thing is that, in this part of the bank, there are already a few residential houses, and we are virtually "embracing" this area. The planning of the resulting "sleeves" basically presents no difficulties: each of them gets two lines of houses between which we run a loop of the access driveway. Each one of them indeed ends in a roundabout - which gave us the opportunity to place a few of the sites in the immediate "visual" vicinity of the water. Plus - each of such "neighborhoods" got local public territories of its own; these will later on be marked with a fountain or a sculpture. And, as for the central part of the settlement, it is embraced by the circle of the road, so the estates are placed in a "fan-like" pattern around the landscaped area. The style of the settlement was also chosen by the customer - this is Italy - and we tried to live up to it, drawing inspiration from our favorite samples of Tuscan architecture.

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13 March 2014

Headlines now
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.
​Architectural Laboratory
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.
​Celestial Tectonics
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 Contact
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.
Health Constructor
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.
​The Aperture Effect
For a housing complex built in the town of Pushkino in the Moscow metropolitan area, KPLN Architects designed facades that adjust the stream of light by using the wall geometry.
​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.
Color and Line
The new successful techniques developed by A.Len for designing a kindergarten under budget constraints: the mosaic of irregular windows and working with color.
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 Countdown
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.
White Town
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.
Pedagogical Architecture
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.
​Rational Arrangement
In this article, we are examining a complex of buildings and interiors of the first stage of the project that has recently become extremely popular – the Kommunarka clinic.