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".
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.