This location was covered by us twice already: up until 2009, located on the trapeze-shaped plot at the crossing of the Ho Chi Minh Street and the Prosvescheniya Avenue, the multi-function complex was designed by Sergey Kiselev, the number of offices situated in it, though initially planned to be larger, gradually shrinking and the share of residential premises gradually expanding. Then, when the plot got into the hands of Eugene Gerasimov, the task also changed: the main area was taken up by the comfort-class housing, about a quarter - by the apart-hotel, and the offices were but a few left, like some decorative topping to the entire structure. The construction of the complex designed by Eugene Gerasimov in 2010, was completed half a year ago almost in full accordance with the design project.
"In my opinion, the image of a "wicker basket" or a "lath fence" that was intended here, came out quite convincing" - says Eugene Gerasimov. One must recognize this definition as a pretty accurate one, as the meaning of this house was, first of all, protecting from the city noise and grime a rather large (the total area of the plot is about two and a half hectares) territory inside the courtyard. The two buildings embrace the courtyard in a symmetric pentagon that bears a remote resemblance... to the soviet "quality sign": the horseshoe-shaped trapeze of the twelve-story house is turned to the Prosvescheniya Avenue and the sharp "arrow" of the merging streets, and the broad sixteen-story "book" of the apart-hotel closes the perimeter from the rear side of the complex. The courtyard has but three passages to it: two of them are situated at the spots where the side walls of the house and the wings of the apart-hotel meet, plus an arch in the "nose" part, through which one will be able to get inside the courtyard from the park at the arrow between the streets - in other words, the perimeter has a really "closed" nature, and it is the direct opposite of the windswept "stitches" of the neighborhood blocks.
The result looks a lot like "Stalin-style quarters", only larger. However, upon a closer examination of the surrounding neighborhoods, one will discover that the idea of a "super-quarter" was born here as early back as in the eighties: the panel "slab" houses, not as tall but sometimes of an even greater length, oftentimes make a turn, getting sometimes an L-shaped or even a П-shaped plan, and sometimes even form spacious squares, as if "dreaming of the old city" or protecting themselves against the wind. One way or another, looking at the plan, one may think that the idea of a giant quarter was there in it even earlier, only back then it was not taken to its logical conclusion. The Eugene Gerasimov house definitely explores the topic to the fullest: amidst the sloppy, and, in spite of all the previous efforts, very disjointed surroundings of the panel houses with an odd fraction of a later built shopping mall, this house is a fortress, a Norman castle that completes the busy road junction with its sheer self-sufficient mass. This house is means business; it makes its presence known in the space, organizing it with its reserved magnificence.
The facade pattern: the large grid of the verticals, like an aptly selected lady's blouse, helps to structure and unload, to a certain degree, visually the imposing volume of the complex that from many viewpoints (except for the main one) looks as if it was larger broadways than in its height. Mostly regular, and at times of the "French" type, the windows line up to form vertical arrays, alternating with the inter-floor inserts of a neutrally gray color, and at some places stand out as asymmetrically placed bay windows. As for the vertical bands of the walls between the windows, it is actually these bands that produce the "lath fence" effect, or, rather a pale fence with a large pixel pattern (partly imitating the play of light and shade) superimposed upon it, a pattern of brown, beige, and white (almost ivory) bands. Their ornament is interrupted by slim light horizontals that "bind" the "lath fence" of the house each six (and in the apart-hotel building each three) floors (thus in the former case the rhythm is made more relaxed, and in the latter case is made busier, which goes some way to conceal the height difference between the two buildings). At some points, the color of the vertical bands remains intact and it runs through the horizontal, enhancing its illusory quality and the ornamental quality of the pattern in general. In the places where the breadth of the bands is greater (for example, in the hotel's niche where the staircases are situated), the pattern takes on a truly pixel-like view, breaking up part of the surface. The play of these bands on the facades is all about trying to optically correct the volume but it also has a meaningful play to it: the massive volume of the "castle" in conjunction with "graphic" pattern of the "pale fence", just like one plus one, add up to give a Russian ostrog, a memory of the Russian north the way it was before Peter the Great (but then again, we have reasons to think that this allusion did not come about by chance).
Up above, over the two top floors, there is no horizontal binding (either a conditional entablature or a cornice), the pixel ornament is opened up into the sky, which enhances its likeness to, though very conditional, "polls" or, even though the image of the fence is not at all literal, this is rather an occasion for a geometric play that, by adding to the facades some slenderness and agility, turns this mass of square meters into an author's work - which was not so easy in the conditions of working with a comfort-class housing project (which, as we know is the top segment of the economy class; the house has in it an underground parking garage for 511 car stalls (for 1062 apartments), the whole ground floor is taken up by shops, cafés, and a spa center; also by a kindergarten; the apartments are sold turn-key).
For Eugene Gerasimov, the YE’S house is one of his first projects in the genre of "comfort class". "This is a pretty rigid segment of the affordable housing that incurs a lot of limiting regulations to it, ones that we had not really run into before - Eugene Gerasimov shares - But then again, the architect always has to work within the boundaries of some regulations, this is natural, or we would have lived in the environment of masterpieces, among Louvres and Eiffel Towers - which would not have been quite normal. There are no "bad" genres, and this one is no exception, one can also find here interesting things to do - especially, as in this particular case, when there is a developer that is ready to look for solutions together with us and is willing to be engaged in a dialogue with the architects".
The houses of comfort class, not too expensive, but still giving the architects an opportunity to go beyond the standard panel construction, became a common practice after the crisis of 2008, and now some of them, as we can see, are being completed. The genre that requires from the architect a strict observance of its rules, and, as a consequence, careful attention in connection with, probably, more effort (in this particular case, the architects developed about a dozen versions before the final one was approved) - one should recognize as useful and productive because, in spite of the limits that it sets, it still leaves the room for experiment. And, as a result, for example, for the advent of such a gigantic closed living area that hides from the city grime inside its very self.
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.