Budapest has announced the tender results for a project of a museum complex that will present collections of the Hungarian branch of Ludwig Museum, the New National Gallery and some other collections. The complex will be located on the territory of the two-hundred-year Vàrosliget city park. The City Hall is planning a grand construction and serious investment. Six large museums, immense area – naturally both the professionals and the public wonder: what remains of the park, so dear to the citizens? The same question was sure to occur to Erick van Egeraat – an experienced city planner, author of master-plans for districts and even cities; and an architect that has been successfully working in the Hungarian capital since 1991, knows it perfectly and admires it. “There is so much vacant land and unused areas in Budapest – he says wondering. – Why should we destroy a popular and beautiful park when we can bring to life the historical districts with the help of museums?”
The alternative suggested by the architect is logical, cost effective, ecological and at the same time – beautiful. For one thing, according to the expectations of van Egeraat’s team all six museums appointed for moving will be easily located within a kilometer distance from the city center. Let’s say that the first two “migrants” – Ludwig Museum (moving from the Palace of Arts in Ferencváros) and the New National Gallery (whose collections are now exhibited in the rooms of Buda Castle, that are initially not suited for museum purposes) – will fit perfectly into the new wing of the Budapest City Hall – the tender for its modernization and expansion was already won by Erick van Egeraat in 2008. It was not only and not merely about the restoration, but about completing the construction: the building where the administration of the capital sits today is basically a respectable, massive suspended construction, canonized by centuries of time. Construction of the future City Hall – originally a recreation house for physically challenged people and veterans of war – began in 1716 by Fortunato de Prati. Seven years later, he was replaced by Anton Erhard Martinelli – an Austrian architect of Italian descent. The first stage of construction was finished in 1747 – the wing extending along today’s Városház street (from Hungarian – City Hall street). The building impressed with its sizes and decor: the baroque façade of almost 190 meters long was decorated with a central tower and three porticos with allegoric statues and bas-relief glorifying the victories of Eugene of Savoy and king Karl III over the Ottoman Empire. In the late 18th century, the building was repurposed for grenadier barrack rooms, and only in 1894 it became the City Hall. The original plan of the complex presented a building, perpendicular in plan, almost twice as big as the existing one and with four symmetrical courtyards. However, for several reasons – among those the closely standing city wall – these plans were never implemented, and only in early 19th century the city council decided to complete this square by building the missing northern wing along Károly körút boulevard, Ferenc Deak square and Gerloczy Street. The tender was announced, the winner – chosen, deadlines of construction were established – 2012 – but, even though the city wall had been all gone besides the stonework under ground, the project remained a project. This time – for financial reasons: the recession of 2009 had a great influence on the Hungarian economy.
The project of Erick van Egeraat combines a reconstruction of the historical building with new construction that is to take up about 4 hectares total. The main idea is most possible permeability of the object, its inclusion into the fabric of the city life by means of creating new pedestrian routes (you can comfortably cross the City Hall from the boulevard to the pedestrian street Vaci and further on – to the Danube and bridges leading to Buda) and conveniently combining three main functions within the complex: cultural, administrative and commercial. Surely, if two large museums move here, the cultural component will be strongly supported, but it also played a most important role in the original project. The central part of the ensemble is the Forum – a multifunctional area providing plenty of opportunities for arranging exhibitions, theatrical performances, concerts and conferences. This is the place where the architects suggests placing the collections of Ludwig Museum and the New National Gallery. The wing allocated for them (a perfectly suitable term in this case) breaks in the regular-shaped plan of the historical building like an airplane or a bird’s wing. The area in front of the Forum, sheltered under a wide hanging roof, is supposed to be the main gate to the complex. The authors plan to place cafes, information services and places for events here. The courtyard of the museum can also be used for public events – one of the four yards planned long ago by Martinelli – but of course, primarily it is meant for expositions.
As proposed by Erick van Egeraat, the city administration retains the existing rooms and two courtyards – this way nothing will disturb it from work. Commercial objects can be placed in the same part of the new construction – that stretches along Istvan Barsi Street – to make the complex more attractive for the public – shops, apartments, an art-hotel, etc.
It is only at first sight, that the striking, emphatically modern architecture of the new wings contrasts with the existing part of the complex and the urban fabric surrounding it – but in fact, as it always is with Erick van Egeraat, there are plenty of more or less obvious connections, allusions, precise and permissive rhymes between them. The main facade of the ensemble, stretching along Károly Körút Boulevard, represents a massive metaphor of movement form the old to the new, from closed to transparent. If at the eastern corner, it repeats with a loose echo the proportions of the original building adjusting to the regular rhythm of the narrow windows, then moving closer towards Deak Square the openings become wider, partitions step apart and lose their linearity; and now we see the white silhouettes of the trees – not so much covering, but underlining the space of the courtyard. By the way, another conceptual layer is concealed here: there is the City Hall park in place of this courtyard now, and within the new modernization plan it will remain untouched to preserve and add up its present public functions – the park is often a place for fairs and festivals.
The plastic culmination of the project is the transparent tower at the corner, decorated with “tree trunks” growing out of the symbolically-rendered park of the main façade. “The watchtower is not supposed to look as an excuse for what we are doing here – says the architect. – On the contrary, it should be seen as a sign of pride for everything new”. And this rather futuristic construction too respects the historical context of the city: fragile and almost ephemeral, it does not dominate over the whole construction, but adds new harmony to it. Together with the two “neighbors” – the tower of the Anker House, an architectural monument of the early 20th century, and the City Hall of the 18th century – they can form an impressive trio. The tower stands by the city’s “balcony” – the promenade gallery along the upper part of the façade that should also give marvelous views.
Erick van Egeraat often defines his projects as “the modern Baroque” – meaning not the style, but his “personal planning strategy”, the complexity and multiplicity of architecture. In the project of modernization and expansion of the Budapest City Hall, the modern Baroque creates a brilliant combination with the historic one, underlining and enriching it. In this context, the presence of two such collections as the National Gallery of the old Hungarian masters and Peter Ludwig’s collection of modern art, within the walls of one ensemble makes the symbolic meaning even stronger. If we add the obvious advantages of the project – the cost effectiveness, location of the City Hall on the “museum axis” of the city, sufficiency of the existing infrastructure – then we see, why this alternative proposal of Erick van Egeraat has brought the discussion about the museum complex construction up to a completely new level. And it is being more and more widely recognized.
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 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.