The construction of three residential districts in “Technopark” District D2 in Skolkovo innovation center is coming to an end. One of them – the tenth one – is being constructed according to the draft of UNK project that won an open tender in 2012.
Written by: Anna Starostina Translated by: Anton Mizonov
Three years ago the draft of UNK project became one of ten winners of the open tender for residential housing of District D2 in “Technopark” in the innovation center “Skolkovo”. Today the buildings are almost done. The assignment given to the architects contained two it would seem mutually exclusive directives: on the one hand, they had to use the selected lot most efficiently and provide for high construction density; on the other – use large glazed areas, and in general – reach maximal permeability of the inner space. An unexpected approach to spatial arrangement helped to achieve sufficient privacy and – at the same time – save the integrity of the whole residential micro district. It nominally entitled “the Tetris Principle”. The computer game that appeared in mid 80s was incredibly popular then and became a kind of symbol of scientific and technological progress of the country. Curiously, today it helps to create media for new ideas and developments – even though very relatively. It is even more interesting, that the collegues of UNK project working on neighboring 9th and 11th sites – “BRT RUS” bureau and Agence d`Architecture A. Bechu – also remembered this nearly forgotten game in their designs. All the three districts are special, but conceptually and ideologically close.
The micro district 10 is intended for construction of townhouses for in total 204 people. The center of the round lot divided by a street in two unequal parts is the place where the whole infrastructure is concentrated: a shop, a security station, public transport stop and a public center with a playground. In the felicitous words of the Chief Architect and founder of UNK project Yuliy Borisov: they have “managed to use the land twice”. The artificial drop of the relief allowed clear division public and private functions. The drive aisles are located on the ground level, and green terraces screened from view are situated on the upper one. Such arrangement of the micro district is the safest one and simultaneously allows a high level of interaction inside small groups of the neighboring ten houses. “Usually, residents of townhouses only know their neighbors on the right and left. Such place is extremely boring to live in. There can be no talk of a stimulating environment and exchange of ideas. For us it was really important to build up an actual alliance of creative, thinking people” – says Yuliy Borisov.
Simple and clear cubic volumes of the buildings do remind neatly placed “Tetris blocks” of different shapes. Four types of planning have been developed within the layout of houses: for family couples, for parents with one or two children and for co-residence with elderly parents. The total area of each such unit varies from 2045 ft2 to 2346 ft2. Every ground floor is allocated for a parking lot and a study, and the main living quarters take up the overhanging first and second floors. At that, the two less dense plan types have obtained a double-height central area. And finally, every house has its own open terrace of 376-419ft2. This is the planning system that allowed to make floor-to-ceiling glazing 20 feet long and avoid the unpleasant “window to window” effect. And still in some places the glass is protected by metal grate masked in form a tree. They do not hinder the image inside the residential zone and serve as additional screening from view. Besides, the grates help to regulate the sunlight and protect the rooms from overheating and also, from the authors’ perspective, make the place more psychologically comfortable.
The authors have chosen simple, reliable, eco-friendly and mainly recyclable materials: concrete, plaster, glass, metal, stone, ecological laminate panels imitating the texture of wood. The architects have renounced the idea of using natural wood counting on durability, simplicity and economy. At that, they have developed a single logic of material application: the bottom parts are coated either with slate (residential rooms) or granite gabions (bearing structures) – heavy and emphasizing closeness to earth through materials. The next level can be called “man-made” and it is defined by panels imitating wood and plastered surfaces of concrete walls. And the panoramic windows reflecting the clouds symbolize the top “sky level”. But the proportions of colors and textures of the facades is constantly changing providing for stylistic unity of the settlement on the one hand, and on the other – lending the necessary variety to the project. “We have managed to create quite expressive and emotional architecture that looks “expensive”. At the same time, we are using standard construction technologies and working with simple and comprehensive cubical forms. Thanks to this, the construction is rather low priced and quick” – says Yuliy Borisov.
Strange as it may seem, the term “typical” is very suitable for many solutions applied in the whole innovation center Skolkovo and the 10th micro district in particular. The architects had to unify the environment that they created, and on all levels: starting from city-planning solutions up to the interiors of different townhouses. The lack of unique, individualized solutions together with the use of BIM planning technology (it was a pilot draft of UNK project made in this technology) was exactly what helped to remain within a rather modest budget and cut back the length of construction without compromising on quality. But “unified” by no means equals “commonplace” or “average”.
Such environment could never become a real “home” for people thinking outside the box. As a matter of fact, the irregularity of the task consisted in successful search of the thin line between “typological” and “individual”. Indeed, all the micro districts under construction possess their own distinctive architectural pattern, but they are very close ideologically. Then the facades of different volume and finishing solutions appear inside of the micro district forming a single creative atmosphere. The planning of the cottages is also typical on the one hand, and fulfills the individual requirements of the lodgers on the other.
As for the interior design, the architects of UNK project have even developed a special brand book for the whole innovation center Skolkovo, thus giving the future lodgers the right to easily adjust the interior to themselves by, for example, changing the decorative finish of the walls. “In a way it reminds setting an interface of your PC: there is one operational system, but you can choose you own desktop image, set a screensaver or change the color scheme” – says Yuliy Borisov describing the idea.
It is obvious that the principles of sustainable “green” construction must become the foundation of all the components of the large project of the innovation center. It is possibly the first time that they have been applied so fully and in such variety of ways. After the construction is completed the micro district will aspire to a prestige ecological certificate LEED. First of all, all the soil taken from the place of groundwork and communication lines was reused for creating artificial relief. Secondly, all the buildings are very energy-efficient: loss of heat has been minimized, for example, the glass is covered with a special protecting spray; LEDs, motion sensors and a lighting control system are actively made use of and there are also water saving bathroom fitments. Rain water and the so-called “grey water” is collected, treated and reused. The authors provide for large green areas, including drained green parking lots. And finally, every house is provided with an opportunity of installing solar panels.
For now the architects consider this technology not as efficient in the Russian context, but they are hoping that within the next five years the situation will change and then one would only have to install the panels and connect to the integrated system.
The main contractor of the three simultaneous district constructions (9, 10, 11) is RD Construction company. “Skolkovo” makes “green” construction fashionable in Russia. And for our company that specializes in complex, highly technological construction it is a significant and for sure principal project for today – notices Oleg Zhukov, the general director of RD Construction. – I would like to underline the fact that LEED standard imposes high requirements not only to the materials, but to the quality of work and the qualification of the employees. Today 60 of our top-qualified engineers are working in “Skolkovo”, and the total number of RD Construction employees engaged in the project exceeds 1000”.
The construction on site 10 is planned to be finished in the last quarter of 2015. For now RD Construction has in only 21 day built and decorated a demonstration townhouse. Its inauguration was visited by the Prime Minister of Russia – Dmitriy Medvedev.
“The work on this project gave us an absolutely unique opportunity to look several decades ahead with the help of architectural instruments and comprehend the very meaning of the “future architecture” – says Yuliy Borisov. “I am sure that the notorious innovativeness is really not the highly modern technologies – although you cannot do without them – and not the fanciful futuristic forms. It is rejection of the old stereotypes of planning. People’s lifestyle is changing and we must find a suitable environment, express these changes in spatial and plastic solutions. It was exciting to try to create a city for people that are much more advanced than we are. I really hope that we managed to do it.”
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.
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
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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.
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.