The multistory addition to the hotel complex "Volga": yet another version of imitating a fully-fledged city within the confines of a single building. And, as is always the case with ADM, shifting the accents to landscaping its territory.
Written by: Alla Pavlikova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
Reportedly, the new building will be built almost in the very center of the city, inside the Garden Ring: the Dokuchaev Side-street is a place not entirely devoid of its share of fame - it leads from the Sakharov Avenue to the Bolshaya Spasskaya Street, with the Sklifosofsky Clinic, Botanical Garden of Moscow State University and the notorious "Three Station Square" located nearby. The buildings of the apartment-hotel "Volga" were built back in 1976, the twelve-story slab stretching along the Bolshaya Spasskaya, the sixteen-story tower standing on the line of the Dokuchaev Alley. About a year ago, the customers asked the architects to fill the gap between these two buildings with a new one: they were to come up with, on a comparatively cramped land plot, more than 30 000 square meters of useful floor space.
Andrew Romanov and Ekaterina Kuznetsova came up with a volume immediately adjacent to the blind side walls of the two existing buildings. Still, not only does this volume complete the front of the Dokuchaev Side-Street but also, meeting the tower, turns into the yard (an L-shaped plan). Meanwhile, in order to keep the new building from breaking the yard in two, the architects, in a Corbusier fashion, raised it on slender round columns - organizing underneath it a public territory accessible not only to the guests of the hotel but also to the general public. Currently, the yard has in it a fenced parking lot and a dozen maple trees growing along its perimeter. The yard will get: an open-air summer cafe, a stone garden, wood decks and colored arm-chairs (just like in the Viennese Art-Quarter), simple yet stylish lampposts, flowers and trees in tubs or without them, trimmed shrubbery, a lawn, and a picturesque little park. As well as a fountain of quite a "Louvre" appearance in the shape of a rectangular rock slab with water flowing down its sides - everything done in strict accordance with the rules of landscaping that ADM architects pay so much attention to in their every project. The space of the yard and the cafe beneath the volume of the new building will be walk-through, one being protected from the rain, the other open to the sun, while one of the most unexpected and pleasant elements of the cafe will be a large fireplace placed outside.
"The necessity to achieve the visual impression of pushing the limits of the yard's territory became one of the key tasks of our project - shares Andrew Romanov - hence the diversity of the things that we are filling it with. For the same reason, the wall of the lobby that has the reception area in it is made completely transparent". We are speaking here about the first floor of the slab that stretches along the alley: almost the entire width of the yard, its inner and outer walls are completely made of glass, the street is viewable perfectly well from the yard and the other way around. The reception is situated at the very center of the lobby that is permeable not only de facto but, more importantly, visually, which helps to subliminally expand the territory of the yard. In the decoration of the lower floors, glass also prevails: from the street side, all the bottom floors are given to large glass shop windows, the glass being sunken in a bit, and the walls of the upper floors slightly overhanging forming a sort of an awning running above the shop windows - like a gallery for the window-shoppers.
In view of the lack of the area and the necessity to consider the dimensions and the space logic of the two already-existing buildings, the resulting volume came out quite laconic. Nevertheless, this did not stop the architects from embellishing, without really crossing the line of revising the modernist style, the outlines of the building and radically altering its proportions, making them distinctly vertical, almost to the point of brittleness.
To be more exact, the elongated volume does not look like an extended beam: it looks more like an array of tall slender towers strung on some sort of a single common core - almost Manhattan. The overhanging cantilevers are a lot broader than the habitual bay windows and the lintels between them are narrow but they regularly alternate both on the street facades and inside of the yard. The illusion of the multiplicity of the volumes is also supported by the relief drops, the lintels between the sections being sixteen stories high, while the main volumes tower three floors above them which also enhances the "self-sufficiency" of the towers. The side end sections alone are devoid of the three top floors - they starkly level out the skyline with the slab of the old hotel thus keeping the harmony with the environment.
The three-story module is important not only for the volume drop; the windows of all the floors, for the exception of the first public one, are grouped into vertical clusters of three, their width always varying, at the same time staying true to some common aesthetics of the vertical sashes without turning, however, into a classic holland wall.
The plastics of the facades, essentially very reserved, is reigned by the soft wood and ceramic colors. What is interesting is the fact that the basic grid is formed by the light golden hue brick with brown "scorch-marks" - the domination of the light tone is subjected to the good old task of visually expanding the complex. Slightly sunken in, the other, "inner" layer of the facade is given away to the ceramic panels that imitate the color and the texture of wood: they form both the broad piers and the vanishingly thin lintels that give to the pattern of the windows some special graphic subtlety. Incidentally, it is these thin lintels that produce this impression of fragile brittleness that is only intrinsic to this particular project. The deepest layer - the metallic bands of the intermediate floors form some sort of "filling thread" of the multilayered facade matter. The picture is completed by the grilled metal balconies placed in a staggered order that are also capable of functioning as the boxes for the air-conditioning units.
The facades look pretty much alike but not all of them are completely identical - one volume located to the right of the main entrance is approximately twice as wide as the others and stylistically closer to the postwar modernism. The bricks form a thin outstanding frame but the "ceramic wood" gets all the lintels between the windows; it has something of the designer objects the seventies (can it be an homage to the neighboring buildings?) One way or another, this "different" facade only enhances the basic impression of this city of a building.
The result is austere yet elegant; interesting is the fact that the image subtexts are given by the authors very tactfully and on the form of a hint: a casual observer will only see the quality finish and the freshness of the shop's newly washed windows, or maybe the diversity of the textures at most. Meanwhile, looking at this "mini-Manhattan", a connoisseur could notice more than one emotional allusion. For example: not far away, as was already said, the "Three Station Square" is situated - meaning, the Leningradskaya Hotel is also near; not far away there is yet another high-rise, one of the best, built by Aleksey Dushkin at the Red Gate. The light-beige tones, the warm-colored insets, and the gothic verticals put us in the mind of the fact that both American skyscrapers standing in lines along the ravines of the streets, and the Moscow chic high-rises have a lot more in common than we usually tend to think.
Or think about it this way: around the house in question, far and near, there are the institute buildings of the late soviet era built from pink bricks with crimson lintels and the broad verticals of the pseudo pilasters - the new "Volga" looks like it is humming a new tune to the old harmony, rewriting the same idea in a more certain yet more subtle way. Or making a cross of both - which possibility also cannot be ruled out completely; adds to the alchemy of the matter of the "soviet institute" a drop of Stalin high-rise style, an injection of classics into the body of modernism. One more thing! In 1976, the massive buildings of the soviet hotel replaced the fractured development of the XIX century, leveling out its variety to the limit. Today, in this new project, the architects have been able to combine, although only on a visual level, both of these two qualities: the magnitude and the fractured character. As they are, well, not "recreating", it is loo late for and there is little point in that - but revise the structure of the city that once was there. Or maybe this is the spirit of our time.
The construction of the complex has already begun; it is due to be launched in operation in 2017.
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.
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.