The contest project for a residential block situated on the site of Annenhof Grove by “4izmerenie” bureau is an example of combining striking futuristic towers with a humane solution of an urban environment and with evenly distributed functions.
Written by: Lilya Aronova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
29 April 2015
Today, the district of Lefortovo – one of the oldest in Moscow – is being actively transformed. While today its industrial enterprises take up more than half of its territory, in the near future the proportion is to shift to the benefit of the residential, cultural and public spaces. Not so long ago, the angst over the plans to build up the “Hammer and Sickle” plant’s territory has calmed down, and in August 2014 “Morton” group announced a blitz-contest on a development draft for the neighboring lot that refers to “Tenancy 14” on the Krasnokazarmennaya Street. Following the results of the contest, the winners were awarded the first and the second prizes, while another eight works were short-listed (which means, under the terms of the contest, that they “can be invited to further creative competitions and projects of Morton group and OOO “Regional Urban Planning Center”). One of this Eight was the bureau “4izmerenie” with its project “Annenhof Grove”.
Since the existing buildings of this territory – production halls, warehouses and other objects of neither cultural nor architectural value – are not planned to be preserved, the only thing that limited the participants’ imagination was the design assignment itself. But they did have an interesting historical background at hand – the difficult fate of the Annenhof grove that has been here since the 1730’s. It is generally thought that the grove back in the day was planted overnight by a pleasing courtier Biron to delight the eyes of the empress Anna Ioannovna, never to be liked by the city people, and in the beginning of the last century was altogether “shaven” (Gilyarovsky) away by a massive tornado in 1904. The project of “4izmerenie” in a way aims to repair the historical injustice by giving a new life to the grove and a comfortable urban area with an open parking to the Muscovites. The team of “4izmerenie” feels right at home in this challenging and often-disliked mode of a blitz-contest. “It is like building parti diagram at the university – only now we do it for real, like the grownups that we are – says one of the project’s authors, Vsevolod Medvedev. – It is a great test for your speed of creative thinking and ability to make decisions quickly”. In this case it was actually a super-blitz – the task of the competition was completed in only five days, and the authors are happy with their result.
The project by “4izmerenie” fits into the spatial context as naturally as it does into the historical one. The master-plan of the development extends the main axes of the district. Their combination defined the rhomboidal cell structure of the plan divided into five mini-quarters plus the office-center, situated near the southern border. The architectures of “4izmerenie” consider this solution made entirely of advantages: it allowed them to create a fix and laconic composition with the residential, office and public volumes arranged along only three axes. The swiftly interchanging spaces, easy air-circulation, great insolation, the visual impression of constant movement (a definite advantage of this project, compared to some other short-listed participants, who consider building closed volumes with courtyards) – all of them are also functions of the multiply repeated rhombus, that represents a certain compromise between a canonical orthogonality a chaos of broken lines. The global practice actively uses this dynamic geometric figure in the area of façade decoration, however, it rarely puts it in a building plan – but if it does happen, it almost surely makes a powerful architectural expression: take, for instance, the centerpiece of Barcelona – “DiagonalZeroZero” upon the project of “EMBA” bureau, or Dominic Perro’s almost 1000 feet high “Blade” – that is now being built in Seoul.
All the buildings in the project “Annenhof Grove” are rhombuses with rounded corners that are almost identical in plan but have different numbers of floors (from 13 to 22 with the number of floors decreasing towards south) and oriented towards different cardinal directions, which allows avoiding monotony. The dwelling buildings “grow through” the stylobate that in its turn, according to Le Corbusier’s principle, appears to be hung over the ground floor, on the level of the second storey protecting from the rain and uniting the towers with square closed and semi-closed lines surrounding the inner yards. Thus, there forms a hybrid space on the ground floor: basically modernistic but with a hint of the traditional urban structure – more closed up, secluded, subdued to the human scale but not wind-blown like the usual micro-district. And up above – rise the towers. It creates an elegant compromise between the modern Moscow tendency to residential quarters and the insolation requirements. The play of the overhung horizontal connections between the towers is supported by the mounted passages, suggested be the architects of “4izmerenie”. These passages are laid along the lines of the rhombus-like module on the level of the fifth, ninth and twenty-first floors – a method not only striking and changing the whole development into a complex spatial construction, but also bold and pricy.
The architects suggested making the most of the roofs of the stylobates operational: the planned recreational spaces are intended only for the dwellers of the district and local workers, unlike the lower level – available for everyone. The thing is, that unlike most participants of the contest that tended towards strict functional division of the corpuses into dwelling and office buildings, the architects of “4izmerenie” decided rather to approach this issue from two directions simultaneously. They suggested building the main office block on the crossroad of the Entuziastov highway and the future passway – first of all, it will create the architectural centerpiece from the direction of the main transport artery of the district, and secondly, it will provide an autonomous accessibility for the employees. Besides, the entire second level of the stylobate and partly the ground floors of the eastern towers are allocated for the offices (together with the commercial and public rooms).
This project owes its charming futuristic air not least to the facades solution – laconic, even minimalist “splendid snow-white icebergs” (in the metaphoric expression of Vsevolod Medvedev). The authors suggested making them of glass with insertions of metal – just think of the visual characteristics of the apartments! By the way, the apartment layouts promise to be interesting and various: the floor spaces of the apartments vary from 600 to 1600 ft2, plus the two-storey penthouses.
The “not the most humane” building density, according to the architects, provided by the specifications (30 ha on a territory of 9 ha, aside from the underground space, with the height limitation of 240 ft) made the authors seek solutions of visual and dynamic lightening of the block. Since the ground floor development is not entire, but partial it allows for organizing a number of different well-equipped spaces, starting from little yards to squares that are to be open to all of the citizens according to the plan of the architects. And the central artery, extending the main axis of the neighboring site of the “Hammer and Sickle” (that is planned to be preserved after reconstruction) becomes the main planning accent of the block. This zone – practically a boulevard that organizes all the main fragments of the development – is planned to be completely pedestrian. More than that: the romantically-spirited architects have thought of an artificial little river as homage to Sinichka-river – that once flowed here, but now is only reminded of by several place-names. With a pinch of fantasy one can see the corpuses rising in different directions upon the stylobate not only as blocks of ice, but as some kind of a paraphrase of park trees. There should be plenty of real trees here, however: the architects want to make both the boulevard and the yards as green as possible. This is also a pendant of the “Hammer and Sickle” – its designer, “LPA Design” bureau, intends to make a city-park of it. A comfortable, ecological and simply good-looking recreational zone became one of the main advantages of this fascinating and promising project.
A Flyover in Watercolor
For the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Vasilkovsky, the architectural office of Evgeny Gerasimov is reflecting on the Ushakov Flyover, which was designed with input from this artist and architect. In this article, we are showing its watercolors and sketches, including the preliminary ones that were not included in the final project, as well as speaking about the importance of architectural drawing.
Inside of a Drawn Grid
Designing the apartment complex PLAY in Danilovskaya Sloboda, ADM architects placed their bet on the imagery of construction. The area where it manifested itself the most vividly was the sophisticated grid of the facades.
The Yard Aesthetics
Organizing the yard of a premium-class housing complex, GAFA architects took care not just about the image that matches the project’s high status, but also about simple human joys, masterfully overcoming the construction regulations.
MasterMind: a Neural Network for Developers and Architects
Created by Genpro, this software allows you to generate within half an hour dozens of development and construction options in accordance with the set parameters. At the same time, however, being more focused on the technical aspects, the program does not exclude creative work, and can be used by architects for preparing projects with a subsequent data export to AutoCAD, Revit, and ArchiCAD.
This Beetle Has Flown
The story of designing a business center in the Zhukov (“Beetle”) Drive: a number of attempts to preserve a hundred-year-old cold storage facility, at the same time introducing modern buildings interpreting the industrial theme. The project remained on paper, but the story behind it seems to be worth our attention.
The Childhood Territory
The project of the educational complex within the second stage of “Spanish Quarters” was developed by ASADOV Architects. The project is all about creating a friendly and transparent environment that in itself educates and forms the personality of a child.
Man and the City
Designing this large-scale housing complex, GAFA architects accentuated two types of public spaces: bustling streets with shops and cafes – and a totally natural yard, visually separated as much as possible from the city. Making the most out of the contrast, both work together to make the life of the residents of EVER housing complex eventful and diverse.
Andy Snow: “I aim for an architecture which is rational and poetic”
The British architect Andy Snow has recently become the chief architect at GENPRO Architects & Engineers. Projects, which Andy Snow did in the UK in collaboration with world-famous architectural firms, scored numerous international awards. In Russia, the architect took part in designing Moscow’s Stanislavsky Factory business center, iLove housing complex, and AFI2B business center on the 2nd Brestskaya Street. In our interview, Andy Snow compared the construction realities in Russia and the UK, and also shared his vision of architectural prospects in Russia.
The Living Growth
The grand-scale housing complex AFI PARK Vorontsovsky in Moscow’s southwest consists of four towers, a “slab” house, and a kindergarten building. Interestingly, the plastique of the residential buildings is quite active – they seem to be growing before your eyes, responding to the natural context, and first of all opening the views of the nearby park. As for the kindergarten building, it is cute and lyrical, like a little sugar house.
Sergey Skuratov: “A skyscraper is a balance of technology, economic performance, and aesthetic...
In March, two buildings of the Capital Towers complex were built up to a 300-meter elevation mark. In this issue, we are speaking to the creator of Moscow’s cutting-edge skyscrapers: about heights and proportions, technologies and economics, laconicism and beauty of superslim houses, and about the boldest architectural proposal of recent years – the Le Corbusier Tower above the Tsentrosoyuz building.
The Red Building
The area of Novoslobodskaya has received Maison Rouge – an apartment complex designed by ADM, which continues the wave of renovation, started by the Atmosphere business center, from the side of the Palikha Street.
The Uplifting Effect
The project of Ostankino Business Park was developed for the land site lying between two metro stations (one operating and the other in construction), and because of that its public space is designed to equally cater for the city people and the office workers. The complex stands every chance of becoming the catalyst for development of the Butyrsky area.
In this article, we are examining a rather rare and interesting case – two projects by Evgeny Gerasimov situated on one street and completed with a five years’ difference, presenting the perfect example of example for analyzing the overall trends and approaches practiced by the architectural company.
Raising the Yard
The housing complex Renome consists of two buildings: a modern stone house and a red-brick factory building of the end of the XIX century, reconstructed by measurements and original drafts. The two buildings are connected by an “inclined” yard – a rare, by Moscow standards, version of geoplastics that smoothly ascends to the roof of the stores lined up along a pedestrian street.
Hearing the Tune of the Past
The Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist in the park near the Novodevichy Convent was conceived in 2012 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. However, instead of declamatory grandeur and “fanfare”, the architect Ilia Utkin presented a concentrated and prayerful mood, combined with a respectful attitude of this tent-shaped church, which also includes some elements of architecture of orders. The basement floor hosts a museum of excavations found on the site of the church.
The high-end residential complex STORY, situated near the Avtozavodskaya metro station and the former ZIL factory, is delicately inscribed in the contrastive context, while its shape, which combines a regular grid and a stunning “shift” of the main facade, seems to respond to the dramatic history of the place, at the same time, however, allowing for multiple interpretations.
Yards and Towers: the Samara Experiment
The project of “Samara Arena Park”, proposed by Sergey Skuratov, scored second place in the competition. The project is essentially based on experimenting with typology of residential buildings and gallery/corridor-type city blocks combined with towers – as well as on sensitive response to the context and the urge to turn the complex into a full-fledged urban space providing a wide range of functions and experiences.
The Fili Duo
The second phase of the Filicity housing complex, designed by ADM architects, is based on the contrast between a 57-story skyscraper 200 meters high and an 11-story brick house. The high-rise building sets a futuristic vector in Moscow housing architecture.
The Wall and the Tower
The OSA architects have been searching for solutions that could be opposed to the low-rise construction in the center of Khabarovsk, as well as an opportunity to say a new word in the discourse about mass housing.
An Office for Concentrating Ideas
T+T Architects have designed an office for a French IT company, where the employees in any point of the premises can discuss with their colleagues new ideas or even write them on the wall.
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 Strict 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.