On the first of July, there took place the groundbreaking ceremony for the church complex on the Kronstadt Square in Saint Petersburg. Metropolitan Varsonofiy of Saint Petersburg and Ladoga said at the ceremony that the sleeping belt areas are in desperate need of churches - simply because during the soviet times they were never built in them - and expressed hope that now that there is a church in the community, things will take a turn for the better with God's help. The complex has been designed since 2006 by the architectural bureau of Eugene Gerasimov (what is important, absolutely for free, strictly on a charity basis) that actually does not specialize in temple architecture, even though it is known for its works both in the contemporary and in the historical styles. The architects treat the temple complex project with tenderness and care: to them, it is first of all a public building against the background of numerous successful commercial commissions, and the authors are only happy to be doing something for the city - they not only approached with maximum attention the specifics of the religious building but also, among other things, carefully thought out the improvement of the temple square for the congregation. As for the architecture of the complex, the architects combined in it a few historical allusions, placing them into the laconic framework of the style that is as much contemporary as it can be in the modern Russian church.
The Kronstadt Square is not actually quite a square but rather - exquisite, like many things in Saint Petersburg - an oval road junction situated at the crossing of the Leninsky and the Stachek avenues on the way to Peterhof behind the Kirovsky district. Inside the oval, there is a large flat lawn, surrounded by the 1970's modernism alternating with the housing of the 2000's - in a word, nothing else is "exquisite" here except for maybe the rocaille shape of the lawn and the enticing "Road to Peterhof" sign (well, to Strelna, actually) - the terribly dull houses of the post-soviet suburb, comparatively clean, green and spacious, though. The place had also a tram line running through it.
Before meeting the junction, the avenues form a sharp arrow - somewhere in the center of Saint Petersburg it would house the proverbial "five corners", but here it resulted in a little park, upon the western "nose" of which the architect Ivan Knyazev in 2003 built a chapel of John of Kronstadt, and later on the chapel's altar was consecrated, raising it to the status of a church, because the construction of the temple complex seemed to be dragging on forever. On the other hand, its east side in 2009 got a large residential complex with a binding name of "Mon Plaisir" that became the rather usual background for the future temple complex the construction of which, after the construction of the chapel, took another ten years.
The studio of Eugene Gerasimov has been working on the project since 2006, and, as its name entry states, the architects made an attempt at "tying in harmoniously the new architectural forms with the features of the nation's spiritual tradition".
The building of the already-built chapel stretches along the Leninsky Avenue, while the new buildings of the complex - the Temple of All-Merciful Savior and the parish house behind it - are symmetrical and strung onto the axis of the bisect in line of the triangular land site. It is planned that the lower tier of the temple will include the baptismal church, and yet another small chapel will be inbuilt into the parish house, above the roof of which only its cupola will be viewable.
The features of contemporary architecture, just like the conservative allusions, are plainly visible. Besides the general church requirements, Eugene Gerasimov's project is oriented on various context layers both in the broad context of the northwest Russ and the narrow context of the nearest church built by Ivan Knyazev. But then again, this strictly romantic temple in the spirit of the new-Russian branch of modernism, is rather opposed by the new buildings, they look more serious and austere: the straight lines, the simple stereometry, the granite ground floor and even the helmet-shaped cupola - all these things put together form a different message, characteristic of the modern times (we could say, more serious; this temple is not a fairy-tale and not a decoration).
The eight-pitch roof with three windows arranged in a "slope"'manner and the array of decorative inserts doubtlessly belongs to the Novgorod and Pskov tradition, reminding us of the fact that Saint Petersburg adjoins the lands of Russia's northwest, even though in the times when the Temple of Savior on the Ilyin was built, this city did not yet exist. It also did not exist in the times of Sophia of Novgorod, the outlines of the central cupola of which and the frequency of its windows probably influenced the drawing of the cupola in Eugene Gerasimov's project. The three high-ceiling forechurches can be traced back to the church of Parasceva on Torg - the architecture of the Kronstadt Square temple, as we can see, demonstrates at least two or three Novgorod sources: a reverence of sorts from the former industrial suburb of the secular Saint Petersburg to the old diocese of these lands, the Great Novgorod. The bell loft of two pillars with large beams can also be perceived as "Novgorod style".
At the same time, justice should be done also to the other part, less perceivable but nevertheless present in the context of the project: the frequent windows of the dome drum, the roof pitches, the helmet-shaped cupola, and the two towers at the entrance - the attentive observer may see in all this Kronstadt's Sea Temple (and at this point we remember that this is the Kronstadt Square). Otherwise, the temple built in 1913 is different, being too plateresque. Besides, let us consider the outlines of the plan of the temple under construction: the thin walls, the square of the naos, the cross-vault pillars are Saint Petersburg, almost Empire style - just like the granite ground floor together with the flat walls - even though the reliefs that are designed to be there on the walls (under the cornices or, rather, under the overhangs of the roof) do send us back to Novgorod, as well as to the pseudo- and the neo-Russian architecture of Saint Petersburg.
Meanwhile, the important thing about this architectural project is probably not so much the set of clearly readable allusions but the fact that the architects were able to tie them all together, taking (let's say so) the differential from the conservative tradition bringing it (to a certain extent) up to date. In this case, the base for generalization was the geometry which can even be seen in the name entry that calls the exedra a "quarter of a sphere". The degree of "geometrical" generalization is rather high here, it is this generalization that helps the architects to avoid losing themselves in the context and stylization, and it also gives us the right to mention the Ilyin Savior and the Kronstadt Saint Nicolas Temple in the same breath.
Interestingly, the generalization increases, and the recognizability of the prototypes decreases from the cereal nucleus of the temple to its periphery. Literally so: the cupola with an array of tall windows that are really cornice-high - which is really unprecedented for the church architecture - looks really fresh, while the west forechurch, cut through with a vertical stained glass, is, by the standards of the contemporary Russian church architecture, almost a defiance to the foundations.
As for the bell tower, it is kin not only to the Novgorod belfries, but also to the memorial stelae of modernism - so simple are its supports under the heavy gable resting on the brutal cantilevers. In a word, the architects really seem to have cope with their task of finding the optimum balance between the strict observance of tradition and, the architectural context, and the contemporary treatment of the form which allows, on the one side, to fit the temple in the surrounding modernist city, and on the other side - adapt the "literature" inevitable for the religious building.
The Energy Family
The housing complex Symphony 34 will be built in Moscow’s Savelovsky district; it will consist of four towers from 36 to 54 stories high. Each of the towers has an image of its own, but they all are gathered into a single architectural ensemble – a fragment of a new high-rise urban space lying outside the Third Transport Ring.
The Fifth Element
The high-end residential development in the Vsevolozhsky Lane features a combination of expensive stone and metal textures, immersing them into a feast of ornaments. The house looks like a fantasy inspired by the theater of the Art Nouveau and Symbolism era; a kind of oriental fairy tale, which paradoxically allows it to avoid direct stylization and become a reflection of one of the aspects of modern Moscow life.
Springboards and Patios
The central element of the manor house in the village of Antonovka, designed by Roman Leonidov, is the inner yard with pergolas, meant to remind its owner about his vacations in exotic countries. The exposed wooden structures emphasize the soaring diagonals of single-pitched roofs.
Adding Up a Growing City
The housing quarter “1147” is located at the border between the old “Stalin” district in the north and the actively developing territories in the south. Its image responds to a difficult task: the compound brick facades of the neighboring sections are different, their height varying from 9 to 22 floors, and, if we are look from the street, it seems as though the front of the city development, consisting from long narrow elements, is forming some sophisticated array at this very moment in front of our eyes.
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.