The new building of the medical center is situated not far away from the Moscow Zoo and the Krasnaya Presnya high-rise, at the crossing of the Krasnaya Presnya and Malaya Gruzinskaya streets, in the spot of the former "communal kitchen" built in the late twenties by the architect Sergey Kurabtsev. The building of the "kitchen", just like a few adjacent facilities, for a long time belonged to City Hospital №32. Then since 2006 it stood empty gradually falling into decay until in November of 2013, after long negotiations between MEDCI GROUP and Moscow municipality, the controversial decision to take down the old constructivist building was made. Instead, a new state-of-the-art private medical center was built. The customer committed to allot a share of it the city hospital and design the new building in the vein of Soviet constructivism - in memory of its predecessor.
As the master designer, the company KAPSTROYPROJECT was invited that did the implementation of the project and developed its planning structure. As for the authors of the architecture of this new building, and its facades in particular, they were chosen at a closed contest that included not only Russian but also foreign companies. Karen Saprichyan, the leader of "GrandProjectCity", together with Alexander Asadov, came up with a "compromise" proposal for this contest based on today's interpretation of the motifs of late constructivism. "We wanted to keep the spirit of the place intact - Karen Saprichyan shares - and pay homage to the existing urban environment of Krasnaya Presnya area where construction was underway from the 1930's to 1980's. Today, the most high-profile edifice of this area is the 1928 building of "Gostorg" department store built upon the project of Vesnin brothers. Besides, the style of the late constructivism seemed to us to be the most appropriate for a medical institution: it is in this particular style that, say, the Kremlin health center on the Vozdvizhenka is designed of the Russian Railways health center". The contest was won, and the authors got down to the design work.
In the first version proposed by the architects, the allusions to the late constructivism were rather strong: a rounded bay window overlooking Krasnaya Presnya, large windows and doubled semi-columns, and the horizontal belts of the cornices - all reminded, among other things, the Ivan Fomin buildings. The city council gave the project its approval. The customer, however, did not go for this proposal that was not only approved but also got the "architectural and urban planning solution" certificate: the customer reasoned that the task connected with the quality health care of the new millennium was not to look like the Soviet architecture but, quite the opposite, was to belong to the new age and bring associations with today's technologies. The customer even thought of implementing a different project with fully glazed facades.
However, as Karen Saprichyan shares, "thanks to the firm attitude of the main architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov, it was our version that was ultimately chosen, in the spirit of Moscow constructivism". The architecture, however, had to be transformed to a large extent to answer the preferences of MEDCI GROUP. A solution that could satisfy everybody - the city, the customer, the people living in this area that also cared, and the authors as well - was long searched for, in spite of the time constraints, the building had to be built (and actually was built) very quickly - within less than two years, from autumn 2013 to summer 2015.
The second and final version that suited all the parties looks less than the architectural avant-garde and early neoclassic - but the architects added to it some allusions to the "Azure House" on the Leningrad Avenue built by Andrew Burov. We can see here the same concrete grid that stands out from the glass background mounted on metal framework; the difference is that glass is even more abundant here, and the cells of the grid are wider; at some places they unite, as is the custom nowadays, two floors within one cell. We see here the same dominance of verticalls, but here they are spaced more apart and are covered not with imitation Venetian marble as in the Andrew Burov house but with thin rockface panels. Incidentally, the rockface, the blades, and the layered structure of the facade with sunken-in ribbed horizontals are the actually the building's reaction its nearest surroundings; they visually resonate with the Posokhin-Mndoyants Krasnaya Presnya high-rise viewable from here in the perspective.
But the main thing here is the openwork panels. Their pattern is generalized and looks something like gothic spider web with a plastique that is abstract and subjected to the arch-shaped lines, even though still not completely detached from the floral motifs.
The bas-reliefs are executed from sculptural clay full-size: from 3.5 to 8 meters on Karen Saprichyan's author sketches. They were molded and produced also by the team of "GrandProjectCity". "There were many options for these drawings - the author shares: the abstract, echoing the design of the portals of the railroad tracks in the city of Adler, executed by me for the Olympics 2014; floral ornament, simple geometric kind, and others". The openwork reliefs, it must be noted, turned out to be virtually the perfect solution for the problem of reconciling the historical contextualism within the boundaries of which the architects wanted to stay, and the conformity to the expectations of today on which the customer insisted - as is known, probably the "hottest" thing in the architecture of today is the moderately abstract ornament. In other words, the panels made the building look modern and historical at the same time. For the works by the bureau of Karen Saprichyan who is both an architect and a sculptor this solution is also quite characteristic - one can say that in this case the peculiarity of the author's trademark style went a long way to quickly overcome a whole number of contradictions, at the same time endowing the building with a character of its own.
As far as the overall picture is concerned, the architectural solution is based on the combination of greenish glass - this is MEDCI trademark brand book color which allowed the authors to use this color as an "argument" and to a large degree pushed forward the process of getting the customer's approval - with light stone-looking glass fiber concrete that forms on the facades a textured grid that on the longitudinal facades United the floors into pairs changing its rhythm on the street facade, outlining of the floors. According to the architects, they deliberately varied the different architectural elements using them "to different capacities": in a more reserved way in the yard and more actively at the "visual points of importance" on the street side - this technique was meant to help create the necessary contrast and help form the accents within the framework of a certain homogeneity of the stylistic devices employed.
One of the most noticeable plastic techniques is inherited from the original version - this is a semicircular bay window turned into the direction of the high-rise and hanging in a neat cantilever; the architects deliberately did not stretch it up to the roof level leaving it as a recognizable quotation. The corner at the crossroads side echoes this bay window with a smooth rounding.
The main entrance located in the middle of the slab of the building on the side of the Malaya Gruzinskaya Street, on the other hand, is accentuated by a slight cavity - the facade gets broken in a wide angle resembling an "open book" very much like the New Arbat buildings, even though the resemblance here is less obvious. At the place of the break, the facade gets predominantly glass, while the thin textured interfloor cornices of the left and right parts of the building stop short meeting like clenched fingers of a human hand - in a odd and even formula. Thus, through the difference in the rhythm and the alternation of the two-stores bands, the architects were able to visually break the elongated building into two volumes, as if growing into each other on the pivot of the entrance lobby. On the yard side, there is a cavity in this key place.
Besides, the new building fits in perfectly with the array of the soviet nine-story high-rises at Krasnaya Presnya - its tallness and color make it look like it really belongs here.
An important part in creating the individual image of the building is played by the architectural backlighting that helps to reveal the structure of the facades and enhance the individuality of the plastic techniques. The openwork panels got a special "bonus" - RGB backlight in the full color range; it delicately accentuates the inserts without violating the integrity of the facade structure.
The complex at the Krasnaya Presnya was built really fast, in spite of the complexity of the land site and the issues having to do with the demolition of the old building. The construction began in 2014, and as early as before 2016 the center should open for the patients. The clinic will cover all the medical branches from general therapy to immunology and allergy research. The clinic will also include the day patient facility, the operational, and the diagnostic block. For the nation's capital, this is a great step in the development of its health care system, however payable, while for the city environment it is something like a vitamin injection, an example of almost literal "alloy" of reflections of the days past with the new ideas of tomorrow.
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.
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.
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.