The ten-story residential house is now being built on the odd-numbered side of the Chapaeva street in the east side of the Petrograd Island (more frequently referred to as "Petrograd Side"). This place is a twenty minutes' walk away from the Petropavlovsk Fortress, and a ten minutes' walk away from the Kamennoostrovsky Avenue that was so upmarket in the early XX century. On its eastern end, however, closer to the Bolshaya Nevka River, the "upmarket" status as early as a hundred years ago gave way to the red-brick factory buildings, though still romantic-looking from today's standpoint - directly across from the house that is now being built upon the project by Sergey Oreshkin, there are buildings of the former cotton-spinning factory; besides, there used to be a "piano factory" nearby. The factories were grouped, probably, for technical reasons, close to the river, while the odd-numbered side of the Chapaeva Street remains - which is so unlike Saint-Petersburg - still "crumbly", as Sergey Oreshkin aptly described it: with a punctured line of houses intercepted by an odd tree or two. Nearby, there are: a lyceum, a bomb-shelter, an apartment house, and a sport ground. Still, though, the task was not to rob the neighboring houses of the appropriate insolation, as well as make the image of the new building match the historically formed environment.
Which Sergey Oreshkin duly did, "pulling" the romantic image of a "castle" house executed in the "Art Nouveau" style from the Kamennoostrovsky Avenue to this street, to the once semi-industrial and now office and residential eastern part of the Petrograd Side.
The two sections of the house are joined in a "T"-shaped fashion, the asymmetric horizontal stroke stretching along the street's red line, and the vertical stroke going into the yard, deeper into the trapeze-shaped land plot. The house is built according to the up-to-date standards: the reinforced-concrete framework, double skin facade ventilation, an underground parking garage, and the public functions on the first floor. The outward appearance of the house is also very much like a theater decoration where the stone, the light-hued stucco, the thin blacked-out window sashes, the cast-iron railings and even the grilles for mounting the air-conditioning units - everything plays into one single story, very romantic, according to the author's confession. Indeed, the resulting image of the house, on the one hand, brings up a steady association with the northern "Art Nouveau" style, and, on the other hand, the modernist style of Saint Petersburg's indigenous tenement houses is more austere and reserved, while the scale of the less-reserved villas of the Kamenny Island is significantly smaller - and one gets an impression that in this particular case the architect crossed the echoes of Saint Petersburg's Art Nouveau with the light fairy-tale ideas of the earlier times, namely, of the XIX century; at the back of one's mind now and then springs up some Neuschwanstein Castle once belonging to Ludwig of Bayern.
The volumes and the decoration of the main facade grow richer as one's glance goes up. For example, the first floor of the main facade recedes deeper inside the building, freeing the pavement for the pedestrians bad forming an open-air street gallery resting on cantilevers without any columns. The volume of the second floor is almost completely devoid of any plastic, and it is only on the level of the third floor and higher up that the building gets bay windows that unite the next three floors (from the third to the sixth) and cast the curved shadows downwards. The wall sections between the bay windows are slit by three large windows, the middle one of which is accentuated by striped relief that looks slightly like the Parisian blinds but are softened by a characteristic wavy line.
From the fifth floor and higher up, there starts a dance of wide balconies with openwork railings - a balcony is a very important thing both in architecture and in the history of Saint-Petersburg, rainy weather no object - the Kseshinskaya Mansion, with its historical balcony, is also a fifteen minutes' walk away; both in the beginning of the Chapaeva and on the Malaya Posadskaya streets, one can see such balconies on the bay windows. This motif was quite common in the early XX century, although, back in those days it showed through in a more reserved manner; as for this particular case, the balconies grow not only from the bay windows alone: descending one floor down, they then climb up to the very top and adorn the four penthouses placed under the sharp Dutch tongs.
The openwork grilles, echoed by the syncopated rhythm of the window frames successfully lighten the massive building, enticing the observer with a play supported by larger forms that also behave in a playful way: the tongs grow into the surface of the facade and now it is already hard to say where exactly their lines cross; although on top they alternate with the windows of a tall garret. The details of the sophisticated, and at places even decoratively fractured wave-shaped, composition look as if they came in motion still remembering their smooth shift, and the laws of balance and harmony.
The balconies grow into stepping terraces of the southern part of the house - which would have been quite impossible in the northern "Art Nouveau" houses but which is quite common in modern architecture - caused by the insolation requirements, the steps of the terraces beautifully fall into groups growing into the tower at the crossing of the two sections of the house. Built in this way, the tower is found not on the corner - which one might expect from a stylization - but in the middle of the building; it is cut out from its mass like its very core, almost like a donjon or a city tower - possibly this is the reason why this building shows the uncharacteristic of the northern modernist style dramatic and associative qualities - it is quite a tall order to combine all the requirements of today with the historical image, and the plastic play, lightness, and transparency not only add to the "positive attitude" of this house but also make the rules of the rigid stylistic rules more bendable. It looks as though we found the tenement house of the modernist epoch at the moment of its hesitation as to whether it should turn into a city hall or a castle or an Italian villa - a moment of meditative growing-up, speculation on its own image, arrested search for identity (a true homage to deconstruction, really).
The stepping composition that helps to conceal the considerable height and volume of the building has been used by Sergey Oreshkin many times already. In this particular case, it is interesting to note that the terrace facade is turned in the direction of the building that stands a bit at a distance, across the road, a building with a three-step facade, built more than a century ago, and enters into an active dialogue with it. In connection with the theme of the dialogue, we shall also note here that the side parts of the main facade resemble the firewalls of the neighboring buildings: they have no windows in them, and their only decoration is the completely unaccented cells of the austere rectangular niches that delicately structure the monotonous surfaces.
The architecture of the house is just as complex as the task that the author had to handle. Suffice it to say that the thin layer of our society that is at all interested in architecture split in two: those who deny stylization as such and those who think it to be the only possible design solution for the historical cities, especially for Saint Petersburg - the two standpoints that cancel each other out. One way or another, it is known that Sergey Oreshkin dares to work both with the must up-to-date shapes and with the historical stylizations - for example, as recently as in 2013 he designed for Petrograd Side a large residential complex on the embankment of the Karpovka River - also in the spirit of the early XX century architecture but a little more pristine and austere: closer to neo-classics or even art-deco. In both of the examples, we see a rather professional command of the style and proportions of the source matter - always with a fine-tuning adjustment to the realities of today letting us know that the house was built only recently. Still, though, the Art Nouveau projects are comparatively predictable, and for the buildings that have to do with any historical styles, the implementation is especially important, and the quality of every detail matters. But then again, we only have a short while to go - the building will probably soon be completed.
Recently, the house was awarded a prize at Urban Awards 2014 as "Best in-construction business class residential complex in Saint Petersburg".
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.
In the “Parallel House” residence that he designed in the Moscow metropolitan area, the architect Roman Leonidov created a dramatic sculptural composition from totally basic shapes – parallelepipeds, whose collision turned into an exciting show.
In the Istra district of Moscow metropolitan area, the tandem of 4izmerenie and ARS-ST designed a sports complex – a monovolume that has the shape of a chamfered parallelepiped with a pointed “nose” like a ship’s bow.