По-русски

Sergey Oreshkin: "Nowadays, the architects should work more with small-scale sport facilities".

A talk about the specifics of the sports architecture and about the experience of "A.Len" Company in this tricky area of architectural design.

Interviewed by:

Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

06 May 2015
Interview
mainImg
Architect:
Sergey Oreshkin
Firm:
A-Len
One can hardly say that Saint Petersburg's sports architecture is booming now. The city's largest sports complex - the Ice Palace of Sports - was opened fifteen years ago, back in 2000. All the other large-scale stadiums are even older: the Sports and Concert Complex "Peterburgsky" was built in 1980, the sports complex "Yubileiny" - back in 1967; in 1994 the city reconstructed the Petrovsky stadium that was built as early as in 1925. The new "Zenith" Stadium at the Krestovsky Island has been in construction for more than ten year now. On the other hand, in this country, the interest for designing and building the so called Sports and Recreation Centers abated still in the nineties. Today, though, as part of "Gasprom to Children" program, in many cities, including the suburbs of Saint Petersburg, sports complexes are being built anew: technically, they are equipped quite well but their facades are faceless to the point of being identical. 

We talked to the leader of "A.Len" Sergey Oreshkin about the sports architecture, its specifics and possible prospects. The company's portfolio includes one of Russia's largest roofed water parks (in spite of the fact that this water park belongs in fact to a hotel) named "Waterville", this park actually being the first one to be ever built in Saint Petersburg; "Reebok" sports complex; a multifunctional spa complex at the Veteranov Avenue; the sports complex of Civil Service Academy; the education and training facility of "Zenith" football club; "Platonov Academy of Volleyball" built in 2006, although with considerable changes made to the project that the authors still regret; and a whole number of other sport facilities. Presently, the architects of "A.Len" perform the construction of SKA ice hockey stadium, while last year Sergey Oreshkin and his bureau for the first time took part in the international contest for a badminton-oriented multifunctional sport complex in South Korea, offering a smooth-stroke "hieroglyph" building. 

Project of a sport complex for the district of Dalseong-gun,South Korea © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Project of a sport complex for the district of Dalseong-gun,South Korea © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Archi.ru: 
- Could you please share about your project of this sports complex in South Korea? Why did you decide to take part in it and what were the main conditions of participation?

Sergey Oreshkin:
- The idea to take part in this contest was suggested to us by our German colleagues. At that time, we worked a lot on various sports facilities; besides, South Korea is a small country but it's quickly developing. We examined the land site and we liked the place - though a bit depressing today, it is still beautiful in its own way, and it has a huge potential: next to it, there is a large federally financed residential complex, and a river, too. Besides, this is a region with a rich history; it's got a lot of sanctuaries and museums in it. 

The city wanted to get an interesting bright landmark that would attract everyone's attention. It seemed to us, however, that the contest program significantly digressed from what it was originally meant to be. The world crisis set in; China, that used to build a lot upon the projects of world-class architects, suddenly took the diametrically opposite attitude - against any high-maintenance architecture, for example, Zaha Hadid and other "star" architects. And the Koreans also changed their preferences in favor of functionality, simple "cubes", not to put too fine a point on it. And as for us, we are the advocates of comfortable and context-friendly architecture - if this place does not need an architectural monument, we will not build one here. In that particular case in Korea, however, an architectural monument was exactly what that place needed but ultimately the judging panel opted for the utilitarian "sport goods" warehouse. 

Project of a sport complex for the district of Dalseong-gun,South Korea © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Project of a sport complex for the district of Dalseong-gun,South Korea © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Project of a sport complex for the district of Dalseong-gun,South Korea © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


zooming
Project of a sport complex for the district of Dalseong-gun,South Korea © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


To me, this contest was very useful from the ideological standpoint: in this country, we do not design things the way they do over there. The thing is that their buildings are not meant exclusively for sports, you can organize any public event there. The specifications required that a large hall - the size of eight-nine baseball fields - could be used, for a concert, for example. 

The contest was won by a Ukrainian project: a simple building with semitransparent walls of milky glass - a decent, sturdy project. To me, however, these walls will not be able to provide the sufficient amount of light, and in sports, particularly in badminton, light is very important and is subject to rigorous regulations. 

- Do you think your project is better? 

- This is just me, but the winners' projects seemed to me all too "international" and lacking identity. Such buildings could appear just about anywhere. But why build this "interarchitecture"? We tried to approach our project "evolutionally", tried to understand these people's outlook on their lives, tried to find out what had been there at this place in the days past - it was an exciting game of associations. To cap it all, badminton is a "trajectory" sport, the birdie never flies in a straight line, it flies over curved parabolas - which we tried to ultimately get across. I think that our project was executed on a highly professional level. 

- Incidentally, how do you think a great sport facility must look, say, in the context of Saint Petersburg?

- We live in a city that has Scandinavia breathing down its neck, and you feel with your skin that this place was populated by the Finns, Karelians, Ingermanlanders, this is a Finno-Ugric land. Again, that's just me but I feel that it all comes down to you doing architecture that is Scandinavian to a certain degree. 

On the other hand, it doesn't seem to make much sense to me trying to combine an expensive bent construction of glued wood with a cheap facade, the way we see it on the children's sports complexes that are now being built in Saint Petersburg on Gasprom's money. To me, this looks a bit ineffective. If we are to speak about a family sport school, the kind that they've got at the Veteranov Avenue, it must be first of all a great place to be, one that you would want to come back to - over and over again. And this is the reason why our philosophy here is all about the wood or wood-imitating materials, a zone with a large marquee, i.e. the entrance element where people can meet and maybe have a conversation securely protected from the rain or snow. And then, the function kicks in - the federal authorities write the specifications for us: we want a skating rink, a swimming pool, and a universal gym - the way it was with the sport school in Sosnovaya Polyana. Essentially, this is an all-purpose gym that anyone can do sports in, including people of limited mobility. It was a great idea, and, I hope we quite succeeded in implementing it. 

Youth Sports School © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Youth Sports School © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Facades © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Before that, we had a few go's - we designed a lot for "Zenith" football club, then, also, "Petrotrust" club also ordered something. And then this ice-hockey club came to us, which meant a real large-size commission, so, we have been building this SKA club for three years now. With that project, we do everything there: landscape design, geodesic survey, and exclusive architecture; we also work a lot with the suppliers and do the interior designs as well. 

Project of the sport complex SKA © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


zooming
Project of the sport complex SKA. Facade © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Training facility of "Zenith" football club © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Training facility of "Zenith" football club © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


- The project of this SKA sport complex won the tender but then it was significantly redone. Why and in which ways did it change? 

- In our contest project, we wanted to convey the feeling of motion: how an ice hockey player moves about the field, how a hockey stick looks like, what stance he is in when on the attack. Turned out, there are lots of curved lines, so what we ultimately got was curved architecture that consisted of intertwining lamellae. There were also the vertical lamellae - the glowing panels, each one of which could display different motifs. At the end of the day, the customer said that, because thus building is all "skewed and lopsided" it would be very high maintenance. 

Then we came up with a different idea: let it be a huge chunk of ice, with traversing side cuts in it. The result was cubic architecture, a very simple constructivist thing based on the ideas of avant-garde of the twenties. What made our project different, though, was a fair share of symbolism in it: ice blade trails, trajectories of the hockey puck, and so on. We proposed to start off with the most basic girder construction but we wanted to draw it all beautiful and use the ceramics as the finishing material for the facade. 

Project of the sport complex SKA. Project, 2012 © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


zooming
Project of the sport complex SKA. Section view. Project, 2012 © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


- What do you think makes designing sports facilities different from other kinds of architecture - how much more difficult are they, for example, than shopping centers? 

- Ten times as difficult. You need at least four venues of different types, and this puts a lot of requirements on ventilation, especially when it comes to the skating ice. I only know a handful of people in Russia who are capable of making correct plans of refrigeration of the ice and routing the cold supply to it. It is very difficult to support the constant ice temperature while the temperature outside is constantly changing, plus the people who come to the competition also emanate a huge amount of warmth in uneven portions, especially when the spectators seats are not evenly distributed. 

There are a lot of subtleties here - the sound, the light, and many more. Plus, the possibilities of today's television also put forth a lot of challenging requirements. There is a growing tendency for using the Full-HD format but in order to make the most of it you need to do the filming in a certain place, put up the lights of specific wattage and type, and they must be oriented in different directions too. You need to keep all these things in mind. The postgame interviews can only be taken in the zones with the correct light, and the reporter that takes the interview must not have access to the locker room - this may sound like a little thing but it's really important. Another important consideration is the acoustic properties of the premises - there must not be so much as a hint at echo. 

Sport and recreation facility of Civil Service Academy © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


"Waterville" park © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


zooming
"Waterville" park © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


- In which way do you as an architect want to develop within the framework of this genre? Do you dream of building your own stadium one day?

- Building a stadium is not very much of an exciting prospect, to be quite honest. It's all about standardization now; the "clew" theme has already been used by Herzog & de Meuron, the "bubble" theme - "Alliance Arena" is also history now. Inventing something entirely new is very difficult in view of the fact that a stadium is a very large architectural edifice with its shell mounted directly upon the function that in fact sets the configuration of the building. Meaning - the very genre has too little of a resource to it, it must accumulate it before customers finally get fed up with these crates and buckets. 

Today, one would be doing the right thing working with small-scale facilities - designing the small sports objects or even the outdoor gyms - there are few companies that do that. The option for your very own neighborhood! Perhaps, one could think of designing a very stylish, top-quality "designer" gym - the all-purpose kind that you can attach to any senior or junior high school. We did quite a handsome project, the "Baltic States style" kind, and for a long time we tried to pull it through the city council board. We ultimately got some response - it was after that struggle that we got the commission for the project of a sport school in Sosnovaya Polyana. 

It would be interesting to do a project for Gasprom or Rosneft - instead of the "brokeback" stilted architecture that we see almost everywhere now, we could come up with a comfortable thought-out space that is great to be in. We want to do an object with an environment that people will feel like caring about in the years to come. 
Sports and Recreation complex © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau
Sports and Recreation complex © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau
A project of a hotel combined with a water park, Nizhny Novgorod © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau
All-purpose gym © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau
Mountain tourist center with a spa, water park, and a swimming pool, Sochi © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau
Mountain tourist center with a spa, water park, and a swimming pool, Sochi © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau
Platonov Volleyball Academy © "A.Len" Architectural Bureau


Architect:
Sergey Oreshkin
Firm:
A-Len

06 May 2015

Interviewed by:


Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
comments powered by HyperComments
Headlines now
​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 Contact
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.
​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.
Health Constructor
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 Aperture Effect
For a housing complex built in the town of Pushkino in the Moscow metropolitan area, KPLN Architects designed facades that adjust the stream of light by using the wall geometry.
​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.
Color and Line
The new successful techniques developed by A.Len for designing a kindergarten under budget constraints: the mosaic of irregular windows and working with color.
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 Countdown
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.
White Town
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.
Pedagogical Architecture
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.
​Rational Arrangement
In this article, we are examining a complex of buildings and interiors of the first stage of the project that has recently become extremely popular – the Kommunarka clinic.
​Parallel Universe
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.
​Breakwater
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.
​Stairway to Heaven
The project of a hotel in the settlement of Yantarny is an example of a new recreational complex typology, and a new format that unites the hotel, the business, and the cultural functions. All of this is complemented by 100% integration with nature.
​Cape of Good Hope
In this issue, we are showing all the seven projects that participated in a closed-door competition to create a concept for the headquarters of Gazprom Neft, as well as provide expert opinions on those projects.
​Waves of Sound
The conceptual design of a music school: proximity to an Alvar Aalto building, expressive organics, and an attempt to draw public attention to a “low-profile” competition.
​The Outer Space
Honoring the 300th anniversary of the Kuznetsk coal fields in 2021, a new passenger terminal of the Aleksey Leonov Airport in the city of Kemerovo will be built, designed by GK Spectrum and ASADOV Architectural Bureau.
​The Pivot of Narkomfin Building
Ginzburg Architects finished the restoration of the Narkomfin Building’s laundry unit – one of the most important elements of the famous monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture.
​Wicker Vitality
Next to the Dubrovka metro station, ADM has designed a Vitality housing complex with a polychrome mixture of Klinker brick on its ridged facades.
​Freedom Factory
The housing complex “Respublika” is so large that it can be arguably called a micro-town, yet, at the same time, it easily overcomes most of the problems that usually arise with mass housing construction. How could Archimatika achieve that? We are examining that on the example of the first stage of the complex.
​The Flowing Lines
The five houses of the “Svoboda” block belonging to the “Simvol” residential complex present a vivid example of all-rounded work performed by the architects on an integral fragment of the city, which became the embodiment of the approach to architecture that hitherto was not to be seen anywhere in Moscow: everything is subjected to the flow of lines – something like a stream, enhanced by the powerful pattern of the facades akin to “super-graphics”.
​A City by the Water
The concept of a large-scale housing development at the edge of Voronezh, near the city reservoir, or “the sea”, as it is locally called, uses the waterside height difference to create a sophisticated public space, paying a lot of attention to the distribution of masses that determine the look of the future complex if viewed from the opposite bank of the river.
A Journey to the Country of Art Deco
The “Little France” residential complex on the 20th line of the Vasilyevsky Island presents an interesting make-believe dialogue between its architect, Stepan Liphart, the architect of the New Hermitage, masters of the Silver Age, and Soviet Art Deco, about interesting professional topics, such as a house with a courtyard in the historical center of Saint Petersburg, and the balance between the wall and the stained glass in the architectonics of the facade. Here are the results of this make-believe conversation.
​A House in a Port
This housing complex on the Dvinskaya Street is the first case of modern architecture on the Gutuevsky Island. The architectural bureau “A-Len” thoroughly explores the context and creates a landmark for further transformations of this area of Saint Petersburg.
​Balance of Infill Development
Anatoly Stolyarchuk Architectural Studio is designing a house that inadvertently prevails over the surrounding buildings, yet still tries to peacefully coexist with the surrounding environment, taking it to a next level.
​The Precious Space
Evolution Design and T+T Architects reported about the completion of the interior design project of Sberbank headquarters on the Kutuzovsky Avenue. In the center of the atrium, hovers the “Diamant” meeting room; everything looks like a chest full of treasures, including the ones of a hi-tech kind.
​Big Little Victory
In a small-sized school located in Domodedovo in Moscow metropolitan area, ASADOV_ architects did a skillful job of tackling the constraints presented by the modest budget and strict spatial limitations – they designed sunlit classrooms, comfortable lounges, and even a multi-height atrium with an amphitheater, which became the center of school life.