По-русски

Sunstroke: Avant-garde of the XXI Century

A daring plastic play with the volume of a giant multi-apartment complex just outside of Moscow: a sophisticated silhouette, impressive views and a beautiful-looking reminder of the fact that avant-garde is our all.

Written by:
Alla Pavlikova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

04 February 2015
Object
mainImg

The story of the residential complex in Moscow's suburb of Odintsovo started simultaneously with the story of the complex "Water Colors" in Balashikha - during the crisis of 2008. It was at that time that "Tekta" company thought nothing of launching two large-scale projects at once, turning to "Ostozhenka" Bureau. Today, both complexes have been successfully put into operation, and, furthermore, got several honorable mentions as the model residential projects that meet all the requirements of forming a quality urban environment. Just one example: at Arch Moscow 2014, they both were short-listed as the most relevant projects for the quarter construction and development in Russia. 

In both cases, the architects were required to build, on a limited land plot, a residential complex of impressive dimensions. "The main thing to remember while doing such projects is not to indulge in any kind of excesses - says Alexander Skokan - Our work was all about making the giant building look appropriate in its place using various techniques: arches, color spots, work with scale and silhouette... These are compositional and plastic techniques, the building does not grow any smaller just because of them but you still can get interesting visual effects that help liven up the boredom of the contemporary construction. I think that the yard space of the Odintsovo complex turned out to be interesting and even exciting specifically thanks to its giant arches". 

The land plot on which the house has been built is in fact the territory of a former motor pool located at the driveway from Moscow to Odintsovo, to the left of the Mozhaisk Highway where the scattered private cottages give way to residential high-rises. The place was suggestive of creating here a prominent building, an “entrance” landmark of sorts, outstanding and memorable, signifying the change from the village to the city scale. 



From the standpoint of planning techniques, the project follows the principles of quarterly development - so it is not surprising that it represented the so-recently-popular genre at Arch Moscow. Raised on a single stylobate one level above the ground, the three units "embrace" the trapeze-shaped land plot along its perimeter. One of them, the longest, marks the borders from the northeast and from the northwest, forming almost a right angle along the Vokzalnaya Street and the Mozhaisk Highway. The second - stands like an impregnable bastion on the western border of the plot. The third building, the most compact one, occupies the south position leaving wide passages that lead to the landscaped yard organized upon the stylobate.









What is interesting is the fact that the yard here is of a two-level kind - not a yard, really, but a curious vertical structure: the upper one, green and quiet, spreads on the roof of the stylobate, while the busy upper one, with a whole system of driveways and streets, one piercing the whole complex from bed to end, hides inside. This solution helped to significantly save up the territory that was initially, as usual, barely enough for the construction of such a large residential complex. Besides, by raising the yard one floor up in the air, the architects were able to make it almost completely vehicle-free, providing only the fire lanes stretching along the outer side of the complex - under the beautiful cantilevers. 





With the rather simple and laconic planning, the first thing that catches one's eye when looking at the complex is its incredibly sophisticated silhouette with a height drop from five to seven floors. The authors say that these height drops are their response to the requirement to observe the insolation norms and provide the necessary amount of light for the people living in the new complex and for the people from the neighboring houses. It seems to me that this is false modesty, though: coming up and drawing in detail a sophisticated silhouette is always more difficult and time-consuming than finding a simple and efficient solution with the help of an insolation ruler superimposed upon the master plan. In this case, however, the insolation ruler was not the ultimate means but one of the designing instruments. As a result, in the part where the land plot borders closely on the residential five-story buildings, the height of the new complex drops down to seven floors. From the direction of the Vokzalnaya Street, where, at some distance from the construction site, three twelve-story buildings are situated, the border of the complex is formed by a jagged stepping block whose skyline follows the sun rays so as not to be on the neighbors' light. 

The authors also found a way to provide the necessary amount of light for the apartments inside of the yard. Obviously, the decrease in the number of floors considerably influenced the end output of square meters. The loss was to be made up for: this is how the idea to play around with the typology of the apartments. We already wrote about the "Ostozhenka" architects dealing with a similar challenge when building "Water Colors" residential complex. In this case, a slightly different solution was found: in order to squeeze the required amount of square footage into the given dimensions, the architects took the buildings that marked the boundaries of the complex, and stretched them up to twenty-two meters as opposed to the regular sixteen. This was possible thanks to the deep vertical niches that at large intervals pierce the volumes of the buildings all along the length of the complex. Around the niches, the architects placed the kitchens whose windows overlook the yard, while the living rooms and the bedrooms get the maximum amount of ambient light. 

Apart from the interesting typological solution and the necessary "square footage output", the architects were able to come up with a very attractive image of the inside-the-yard facades. Thanks to the deep cutaway niches, the yard-oriented facades turned into a semblance of slender towers of different height that form fractured and variously-scaled development that is really human-proportionate. The rhythm of the pattern formed by the walls, together with the different heights of the volumes, makes the complex look like a giant church organ or maybe some rocky mountain. 

Especially beautiful and robust the complex looks in the rays in the setting sun when its slanting rays - one of the main instruments of shape-building, they really do a great "carving" sculptural job here - cast long shadows on the walls of the complex, and the whole things stats looking pretty sci-fi. In a word, a "sunstroke", as the authors who highly appreciate the meaning of the sunlight in making their architecture complete aptly called it. 







However, it was not the sun that the architects were inspired by, or, rather, not the sun alone. The whole image of the complex vividly shows its creators' love for the Russian avant-garde tradition. This can be seen both from the usual "constructivist" colors - gray, white, red, and crimson - and by the thought-out work with the form where particular attention is paid not only to the substance but to the void as well. Giant "chunks" of the body of the building get simply taken out of it, like, for example, the cantilevers overhanging above the fire lanes or the already-mentioned vertical niches. Also, the substance-and-void vocabulary of constructivism gives birth to the opening that appears between the northwest and northeast buildings, through which, like through a ravine, the rays of the setting sun penetrate into the yard. Another sunstroke, to be sure. 

The most outstanding element in this array of voids, however, is the huge arch that pierces one of the buildings from end to end and opens up a magnificent view of the Mozhaisk Highway, the town's main transport artery. A corner of the twenty-five story building ominously overhangs in the air. As for its support, it is provided, in the classic tradition of Russian avant-garde, by the bright-red volume placed inside this giant arch (also painted red). A red parallelepiped inside a red cube! This "red leg" in fact functions as the landmark of the entrance of the city - bright and memorable. 

"...Based on the architectural experience of the 1920's, and using their lexicon, we tried to revise this territory in our own unique way - shares Rais Baishev - For the language of architecture, painting, and sculpture, air is oftentimes more important than substance is. Hence the huge cantilevers and the giant arch that leaves the complex devoid of at least fifteen fully-fledged apartments, and the "slit" between two buildings, the one that gives you the feeling of space". 

The street facades that correspond not to the human, but already to the city scale, are designed in a different way. Here, the smooth and uninterrupted surfaces of the walls are devoid of any plastics whatsoever. The "fractured" feel of one's perception of it is only provided by the stepping silhouette and the color solution that let the architects prevent the volume from looking too big or too bulky. The opaque but still saturated gray color of the crowning part of the complex blends with the tones of the overcast leaden sky. As for the main body of the building that is "tied up" to the skyline of the surrounding houses, it was designed unobtrusive white. Thus, the facade looks as if a strict horizon line was drawn upon it: everything that is below it belongs to the city, everything that is above - to the sky. 

The desire to soften the volume and make it proportionate not only to humans but also to the environment shoes in details. For example, to conceal the massiveness of the main volumes, the architects came up with corner windows - and the pieces of glass look as if they were "embracing" the corners of the building. And this is yet another curtsy to the ideas of Bauhaus and Russian constructivism. Very large, floor-to-ceiling and equal in their size square glass apertures set the general rhythm for the entire complex, and, besides, create extra possibilities for developing one's interior design ideas. 

The entire necessary social infrastructure is situated in the stylobate whose plastic and color solution is perceived not from distant vantage points but when one comes close to it. On the level of the first floor, as an offset to the flat vertical forms of the residential units, the facade of the non-residential part is designed in as plastic a manner as possible. Executed from colored glass, it reminds a stylized surrealistic river bank, washed out by the whitewater flow or maybe a fragment of rock with bright-red clay loam inserts showing through... And this is now the waterline through which the sun shines "undulating on the water of the broad lakes".


04 February 2015

Written by:

Alla Pavlikova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​The Thin Matter
The house named “Medny 3.14” (“Copper 3.14”) is composed of two textures, each of which resembles in its own way some kind of precious fabric, and of three units, each of which is oriented towards one cardinal point. The architecture of the house absorbs the nuances of the context, summing them up and turning them into a single rhythmic structure. In this article, we are examining the new, just-completed, house designed by Sergey Skuratov in Donskaya Street.
​Super Pergola
The new business center built in Moscow’s district of Presnya in the 1st Zemelny Lane is all about technology and sustainability. Its streamlined shapes and white facade grid are combined with a new version of vertical greenery: the green of wild grapes, placed at a distance from the facade, instead of arguing with the “pergola” grid, sets it off by contrast.
​Lightness of Being
Blooming Sakura, a campfire party, kids splashing in a swimming pool – no, these are not pictures from a vacation, but everyday life going on in the yards of Kiev’s housing complex “Fayna Town”. In this issue, we are examining how the utopia designed by the architects is wired, and what they did to make it a reality.
​A Triangular Folded Structure
The project of the new terminal of the Muraviev-Amursky airport in Blagoveshchensk offers architecture based on a modular form – endowed with a special imagery, it becomes the basis both for the carrying structures of the building and the plastique of the facade, at the same time reverberating in the interior design.
​The Breath of the East
Designing a residential complex for Tashkent, GENPRO is turning to traditional architecture and modern trends, aiming at emotionality and efficiency: the panjar window lattices and mishrabias are neighboring on vertical greenery and parametric ornaments, while the theme buildings do on a cotton alley and an oriental bazaar.
​Analysis and Synthesis
The project of the housing complex “Krasin”, designed for the historical center of St. Petersburg, and situated in a very obliging place – next to the Mining University designed by Voronikhin, yet bordering on an industrial area – became the result of a thorough analysis of the specifics of historical construction on the Vasilyevsky Island, and a subsequent synthesis with avoidance of direct stylization, yet forming a recognizable silhouette, resonant with the “old town”.
​Tatiana Guk: “A document that determines the development of the city has to be flexible”
In this issue, we are talking to the director of the Genplan Institute of Moscow about trends that determine the future, about the 70-year history of the Institute, which is celebrating an anniversary this year, about electronic computing in the field of urban planning and about international experience accumulated in this area, as well as about how the Institute is involved with other cities, and about the perfect document for the city development, which has to be flexible and strategic.
​Dialectical Manifesto
The high-rise housing complex MOD, whose construction has begun in Moscow’s district of Maryina Roshcha next to the site, on which the new Russian Railways headquarters will be built, is responding to the “central” context of the future city surroundings, and at the same time is positioned by the architects as a “manifesto of Modernist minimalist principles in architecture”.
​Asimov’s Dream
A project by DNK ag won in a competition for the science campus of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics in the city of Sarov, conducted by ROSATOM corporation in collaboration with the Moscow State University, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Kurchatov Institute.
​Near-Earth Space
The new terminal of the Leonov Airport in Kemerovo was built in record-breaking time, despite the pandemic. It became one of the important factors for the rapid development of the city, visually reflecting its dedication to the first spacewalk, both in the interiors and on the facades. Its main features are the “starry sky” effect and overall openness.
​The Spiral Approach
The school building in the city of Nur-Sultan, designed by Vera Budko and Anton Nadtochiy from beginning to end – from concept to working documentation – became the embodiment of the architects’ method for creating a modern educational environment, which the ATRIUM architects have been developing for years. Its fundamentals include creating an inspiring environment that motivates you to create. This is why the new school received a shape of an ornamental golden spiral that symbolizes ascension to knowledge; on the inside, the building is a compound and multifunctional “city within a city” with multilevel atriums, amphitheaters, and varying routes.
​The Ecological Bend
A story about how plans for laying a road on the border of a park turned into plans for saving the ecosystem and improving the walking trails.
​Kasimir from Kemerovo
The project of the branch of the Russian Museum for the Siberian Art Cluster is based on the ideas of Suprematism: basic shapes, and dynamism of color and form.
​Stream and Lines
Stepan Liphart’s projects of Art Deco villas demonstrate technical symbolism in combination with a subtle reference to the 1930s. One of the projects is a “paper” one; the others are designed for real customers: a top manager, an art collector, and a developer.
On the Bank of a Very Quiet River
The project of landscaping the territory of the residential complex NOW in Moscow’s Nagatinskaya Valley goes beyond the limits of its task and looks more like a modern park: with viewing platforms, an embankment, spaces different in their moods, and thought-out scenarios for visitors aged between 0 and 80.
​The Strategy of Transformation
In this article, we are publishing eight projects of reconstructing postwar Modernist buildings that have been implemented by Tchoban Voss Architekten and showcased in the AEDES gallery at the recent Re-Use exhibition. Parallel to that, we are meditating on the demonstrated approaches and the preservation of things that architectural legislation does not require to preserve.
In the Rhythm of Block Construction
Last week, the housing complex “Ty i Ya” (“You and Me”) was presented, built in the northwest of Moscow. By a number of parameters, it exceeds the originally stated comfort-class format, and, on the other hand, fully meeting the city block construction paradigm, popular in Moscow, demonstrates a few interesting features, such as a new kind of public spaces for the residents, and high-ceilinged apartments on the first floors.
​Five Nonlinear Ones
Recently, at the Moscow Urban Forum, they announced a large-scale project that Zaha Hadid Architects would do for Moscow – the multifunctional housing complex Union Towers designed for Quarter 82 of Khoroshevo-Mnevniki at the commission of KROST development.
​Etudes in Glass
The housing complex, located not far away from the Paveletskaya Railway Station, as a symbol of a sweeping transformation of this area: a composition of towers of different height, ingenious detailing of stained glass windows, and a green lawn in the yard.
A Flyover in Watercolor
For the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Vasilkovsky, the architectural office of Evgeny Gerasimov is reflecting on the Ushakov Flyover, which was designed with input from this artist and architect. In this article, we are showing its watercolors and sketches, including the preliminary ones that were not included in the final project, as well as speaking about the importance of architectural drawing.
​Walking on Clouds
A restaurant in the Khibiny skiing complex: 820 meters above the sea level, sweeping views, a levitation effect, and ingenious engineering solutions.
​Transformation with Multiplication
The Palace of Water Sports in Luzhniki is one of the high-profile and nontrivial reconstructions of recent years, and a project that won one of the first competitions, initiated by Sergey Kuznetsov as the main architect of Moscow. The complex opened 2 years ago; this article about it comes out at the start of the bathing season.
​Sergey Tchoban: “I believe it’s very important to preserve this city as a record...
Although originally we planned to speak in this interview with Sergey Tchoban about high-rise construction, the conversation turned out to be 70% about meditation on the ways of regenerating the historical city and about the role of the city fabric as the most objective and unbiased historical record. And, as for the towers, which manifest social contrasts and leave a lot of junk when torn down, the conversation was about the expected construction norms and regulations. We took this interview one day before the Lakhta-2 project was announced, and this is why this newsbreak is not commented upon in any way in this article.
​Courtyards and Constructivism
In this issue, we are examining the second major block of the “city within a city” Ligovsky City complex, designed and built by A-Len, and combining several trends characteristic of modern urban architecture.
​Inside of a Drawn Grid
Designing the apartment complex PLAY in Danilovskaya Sloboda, ADM architects placed their bet on the imagery of construction. The area where it manifested itself the most vividly was the sophisticated grid of the facades.
​Headquarters of the Future
The project by “Arena Group”, which won in an open competition of ideas for the headquarters of the Italian company FITT, combines futuristic forms, an interesting set of functions, energy efficiency, and subtle references to the archetypes of Italian architecture. Particularly beautiful is the “continuous” fountain. In this issue, we are sharing about the three winners of the competition.
​A Tiered Composition
A little bit of New York in Odessa: an apartment complex designed and built by “Archimatika” with towers, townhouses, a square, and swimming pools.
​The Yard Aesthetics
Organizing the yard of a premium-class housing complex, GAFA architects took care not just about the image that matches the project’s high status, but also about simple human joys, masterfully overcoming the construction regulations.
​MasterMind: a Neural Network for Developers and Architects
Created by Genpro, this software allows you to generate within half an hour dozens of development and construction options in accordance with the set parameters. At the same time, however, being more focused on the technical aspects, the program does not exclude creative work, and can be used by architects for preparing projects with a subsequent data export to AutoCAD, Revit, and ArchiCAD.