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
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
The Social Biology of Landscape
The list of new typologies of public spaces and public projects has been expanded yet again — thanks to Wowhaus. This time around, this company came up with a groundbreaking by Russian standards approach to creating a place where people and animals can communicate.
Watched by the Angels from up Above
Held in the General Staff building of the Hermitage Museum, the anniversary exhibition of “Studio 44” is ambitious and diverse. The exhibition was designed to give a comprehensive showcase of the company’s architecture in a whole number of ways: through video, models, drawings, installations, and finally, through a real-life project, the Enfilade, which the exhibition opens up, intensifies, and makes work the way it was originally intended.
A New Version of the Old City
The house at Malaya Ordynka, 19, fits in perfectly with the lineup of the street, looking even as if it straightened the street up a little, setting a new tone for it – a tone of texture, glitter, “sunny” warmth, and, at the same time, reserved balance of everything that makes the architecture of an expensive modern house.
Stepan Liphart: “Standing your ground is the right thing to do”
A descendant of German industrialists, “Jophan’s son”, and an architect, speaks about how studying architectural orders tempers one’s character, and how a team of just a few people can design grand-scale housing projects to be built in the center of Saint Petersburg. Also: Santa Claus appearing in a Stalin high-rise, an arch portal to the outer space, mannerism painting, and the palaces of Paris – all covered in an interview with Stepan Liphart.
Honey and Copper
In the Moscow area, the architect Roman Leonidov designed the “Cool House” residence, very much in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, spreading it parallel to the ground, and accentuating the horizontal lines in it. The color composition is based on juxtaposition of warm wood of a honey hue and cold copper blue.
The Ring on the Saisara Lake
The building of the Philharmonic Hall and the Theater of Yakut Epos, standing on the shore of the sacred lake, is inscribed into an epic circle and contains three volumes, reminiscent of the traditional national housing. The roof is akin to the Alaas – a Yakut village standing around a lake. In spite of its rich conceptual agenda, the project remains volumetrically abstract, and keeps up a light form, making the most of its transparency, multiple layers, and reflections.
Architecture of Evanescence
On the Vernadskogo Avenue, next to the metro station, appeared a high-rise landmark that transformed the entire area: designed by UNK Project, the “Academic” business center uncovered, in the form of its architecture, the meanings of the local place names.
The Theater and Music Circles
The contest-winning ambitious grand-scale project of the main theater and concert complex of the Moscow area includes three auditoriums, a yard – a public area – a higher school of music, and a few hotels. It promises to become a high-profile center for the classical music festivals on a national scale.