A museum above the park, a park of a museum, or the museum building as an exhibit in its own right... Three versions of the contest project of the Science Museum in the city of Tomsk - by Asadov Architectural Bureau.
Written by: Anna Gorodinskaya Translated by: Anton Mizonov
Organized by SAR bureau, the international contest for the architectural and town-planning concept of the Science Museum in Tomsk took place in the autumn of 2014 under the motto "science for people" - the new museum must become part of the large-scale project named "Tomskie Naberezhnye" ("Tomsk Embankments"). We recently featured the contest-winning project by "Studio 44". Asadov Architectural Bureau came up with as many as three versions of the museum building. One of them, entitled "Per Aspera Ad Astra" got awarded the "conditional" second prize by the judging panel: formally, there was no awarding any "places" in the contest, but in the judging process this project was one of the two that were considered to become the winner.
When asked about their work on this project, the Asadovs say that the unique and significant for the function of the museum on the one hand, and the officially protected park area on the other urged them to search for the most incredible and unconventional solutions. Indeed, the three versions proposed by the architects demonstrate totally different approaches to solving their task.
Version 1 - "Oblako" ("Cloud")
The project is based on the idea of preserving the park one hundred percent intact and placing the museum immediately above the surface of the lake. Neatly packed into a casing of metallic net, a lightweight irregularly shaped volume with outstanding cantilevers of the expo areas and the rectangles of sightseeing bull's eyes of windows covers the water area like a cloud. What is left ashore is only the hill of the entrance group, barely visible in the surrounding landscape. The structure looks like some sort of a starship that is moored to the embankment with a thin chain of the escalator leading from the lobby to the exposition hall. Apart from these moving-stairs, the only thing that connects the "Cloud" to the ground is the fire escape stairways together with the passenger and freight elevators. The feeling of an "alien" spaceship is strengthened by the presence of an open-air sightseeing platform at the top - situated on the usable roof.
Probably, this look wound best suit not so much a science museum as a science FICTION museum... But then again, who knows where the dividing line between the two lies nowadays?
Version 2 - "Kholm" ("Hill")
This version was created parallel to "Cloud", and the authors consider it to be an alternative option. As opposed to Version 1, it is based on the idea of maximally "dissolving" the object in the surroundings. Leaving the entrance virtually in the same place, the architects "stepped back" from the shore and "about-faced" the museum complex 180 degrees. The idea of the "entrance hill" transformed into the solution that consists in hiding the whole main volume of the museum inside of it. Sunken-in below the ground level and overgrown with newly-planted trees, the museum "hill" simply mimicries to mix with the park. The only thing that gives its presence away is the soaring transparent wind-sail of the laboratory block whose glass facade reflects, like a giant mirror, the surrounding landscape by day and becomes a media screen showing installations if mathematic algorithms by night.
Version 3 - "Per Aspera Ad Astra"
Thus, the two first versions presented two mutually exclusive approaches - a museum ABOVE the park or a PARK of a museum. The third version must be the attempt to either reconcile them or find a third path whose advantages could outweigh the advantages of either of the projects.
In order to keep the tact as intact as possible, the architects pushed the building end-to-end to the building of the university and stretched it between the lake and the access driveway. According to the authors, "imbibing all the "juices of the landscape", the museum gradually gains height and then soars upward like a lighthouse tower". In this version, pretty much everything becomes part of the exposition - from the facade down to the last valve in the ventilation system. The multiple folding of the surface of the outside walls is achieved by using thick aluminum panels that work in contrast with the smooth surface of the stained glass. The extra green roofs do not require any special maintenance. They also provide for the building extra protection from the noise, overcooling and overhearing decreasing the loads on the air conditioning and heating systems. And these systems, it must be said, are truly state-of-the-art, using all the innovative techniques you could possibly think of. Not only do they provide for every little detail but the architects vividly demonstrate it: with a whole number of ingenious solutions, the museum's engineering infrastructure is turned into an interactive installation the work of which the visitors of the museum will be able to observe at special displays.
For the sake of so-fashionable today energy conservation, the Asadovs and their engineering partners, Engex company, use everything they can, including the air ventilation system with adjustable airflow that is triggered by the CO2 sensors. The shape of the complex provides for the possibility of hybrid ventilation with the use of the "earth channel" running along the lake, and the "sun tube" whose role is played by the volume of the tower. When the air passes through the "earth channel", it cools or heats which reduces its processing costs. The temperature difference inside and outside creates the thrusts that provides the motion amplified by the "sun tube". When the natural thrust is not enough, the electrical fans turn on automatically. This cancels the necessity to use the habitual air conditioning units on the roof that ruin the look of the building.
The project even provides for the fact that when the natural ventilation is on there is a possibility of producing the power at the expense of spinning the blades of the fan by the airflow in the "sun tube". This helps to accumulate energy. And the absence of any paintings or incunabula in the exposition gives the opportunity to lower the energy costs at the expense of lowering the temperatures if the halls during the non-working hours and in the nighttime... In a nutshell, the very building of the museum is a science/technology exhibit in its own right. There is science for people in action.
The expo space is organized in accordance with the enfilade principle that gradually opens up all the expositions to the visitor. Starting from the main entrance, the people pass through all the halls and towards the lake - it is perfectly viewable behind the stained glass opened up into the park - then they get up onto the second level from where one can cast an eye over the way that he has made and then move on. On this second level, the transformer conference hall/scientific theater is situated. The climax of the exposition is the multi-height space inside the tower where the bulky exhibits are situated. Ascending the ramp that adjoins the scientific labs, you inevitably end up at the top level with a panoramic cafe and an observatory. From the south side, there are solar collectors and win-driven generators here that produce the power for the building - the interactive addition to the exposition.
The park becomes a natural continuation of the museum collection: the new network of trails connects the platforms to the exhibits and forms a single educational and recreational space. The surface of the lake turns into a platform for scientific experiments connected with water. The part of the embankment located "at the tail" of the museum is transformed into an active public space that is used for organizing open-air workshops and seminars. The roof of the museum continues the street exposition, enlarging the space of the park and providing extra emergency exits from the museum halls.
Strange though it may seem, it is the roof that endows the building with such unbelievable possibilities and forms its unusual, eye-catching silhouette that the judging panel considered to be the solution that is slightly unfit for the Siberian climate. But then again, the authors defined their way themselves: "Per Aspera Ad Astra". In a quite up-to-date manner, conserving the energy, it simultaneously challenges the nature when it comes to the climatic difficulties, making a daring "nose" at it, one that reminds the Rocket Monument on Moscow's Star Boulevard, soaring upward into the space - a sure sign of the "1960's" progressivist approach to science.
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.