The architects of “A.Len” have not only fitted the multi-use complex in the Pulkovo Airport with a convenient arrangement of traffic and passenger flow, but also with a story-line that schematically encodes the past, present and future of the architecture.
The multifunctional complex consisting of a hotel, business-center and multilayer parking lots is located right in front of the new passenger terminal of the Pulkovo Airport and surrounded with approach roadways on all sides. “Nadex” – the terminal station of aeroexpress– is built at the southern border of the multi-use complex, within the same project – the express train arrives at the meeting place of the old terminal Pulkovo-1 (constructed in early 70s to a design by Alexander Zhuk and known for its five light “glasses” placed in line on top of it) with the new one; after its reconstruction in 2014 the old terminal serves for domestic flights, and the new one – for international. To the north of the multi-use complex, there is an aircraft parking place; further to the east, along the highway, line up the business- and cargo Pulkovo terminals. This places the business-hotel-parking complex at the heart of a strained transportation hub of the only airport of St. Petersburg. That is why, one of the main and most challenging tasks in its design was to optimize the flows, find logical and convenient paths for motor- and passenger traffic both within the complex and at the borders with the external structures.
As you know, the new Pulkovo Terminal was designed by the bureau of Nicholas Grimshaw that won the international tender of 2007. The same architects created the draft designs for the business-hotel complex situated next to the terminal. Afterwards, for the further elaboration of the project, Grimshaw architects hired a design company “Rambol” – an affiliate company of the largest Scandinavian enterprise “Ramboll Group” specializing in projects of industrial and public objects. For example, “Rambol” developed the building systems and distribution of traffic paths from the throughways to the hotel and business-center. During the work he company made some unfortunate deviations from the Grimshaw’s draft design that were mentioned at several Urban Planning Councils. For example, the context of the terminal was left out, and the passengers were supposed to walk the transport flyover from the parking lot. At this point “A. Len” joined the project.
“Rambol” asked us to elaborate the project, – says Sergey Oreshkin, head of “A. Len”, – we gave our proposals in the form of a draft, the project was developed in close cooperation with the city authorities. In order to provide convenient traffic and lessen the load of the strained traffic junction, we suggested organizing movement of the aeroexpress passengers through a glazed gallery that – at the same time – gives a clear view of the airfield on its right side. Another glazed gallery connects the airport terminal with the complex site: the zone of the receiving terminal is situated merely 50 feet away from the hotel and the business-center, so we proposed the shortest path to it, which is extremely convenient, even for European standards.
We went to London with our project to show the results to Sir Nicholas Grimshaw: our spatial solutions mainly coinsided with his opinions and ideas. The company’s employees were surprised that we duly appreciated their concept and that our vision of possible solutions was so close: it turned out that Grimshaw suggested arranging parking lots, the business zone and the aeroexpress stop in the same places. They also liked our interpretation of Melnikov’s rampants: the path from the parking lot smoothely turns round the hotel façade and rising through the gallery leads to the receiving terminal”.
Nevertheless, the spatial solutions of “A. Len” are fully independent. Unlike the original Grimshaw concept that tended towards an ordered, perpendicular network, the composition of Sergey Oreshnikov is based on the contrast of textures, lines and materials. The starting points were the original construction modules and the logic of the movement pattern.
In the architectural part of the project all spatial solutions are based on the modules of construction and their sizes; the strict beauty of the geometry obeys the logic of the traffic pattern. The shape of the buildings is determined by the configuration of the lot and the distribution of communication flows. The plan of the business-center represents an irregular trapeze, the hotel is a strongly stretched building consisting of two parts, set in the form of a wide open book directed towards the airfield. The eight-storey hotel and the five-storey business-center are connected with a stylobate of the basement. The back façade of one of the hotel buildings is parallel to the façade of the business-center facing it and is reflected in its shiny surface.
Unfortunately, the finishing was not done exactly according to the project of “A. Len”. The construction was carried out by a turkish company whose work was not controlled by the general contractor. As a result, the hotel facades are covered with pink-tinged ceramic panels and lined with rigid black horizontal contours, when, according to the project, it should have been finished with light-beige limestone and also light metal horizontal molding. The façade of the business-center remained as planned: the dynamic lines of the divided glazing diagonals coinside with the main traces suggested in the Grimshaw project. The image of flying is supported by the golden “wings” of the blinds. Inserted into the diamond-shaped network of the facades, they compose a decorative metaphor for flight – so appropriate for a building surrounded by planes. The glass of the façade has ecological properties and greenish toning. “A. Len” planned to apply thin contours of clouds onto the glass, but the edition of the turkish performing company turned these clouds into white circles, so it was decided to reject this idea altogether.
The open part of the stylobate roof near the end façade of the business-center has cut out round holes of different diameters: they bring daylight into the underground bus parking lot, and figuratively – they echo “glasses” of the old station of Alexander Zhuk.
Two more underground parking areas with roofed ground floors are located behind the building of the business center. The design of “A. Len” implied natural green areas on the roofs with land drainage and a park of modern urban sculpture. In a rather aggressive environment, this recreational zone would be a distraction for the passengers and guests of the hotel. However, due to the cost reasons, the roof has been covered with roll out lawns…
But, in the end, despite all of the not so much important (even though unfortunate) deviations from the project, the main idea of contrasting interaction has been successfully embodied. The ceramic (or, according to the draft – stone, as we remember) volumes of the hotel are graceful and almost classical, due to the rhythm of the wide verticals. The shine, the diagonals and the reflections of the glass business-center form the second pole. Stone – glass, verticals – rhombuses, everything is different, but everything agrees, mostly thanks to the lucky quality of modern glass architecture to reflect its neighbors. The third pole is henotic and absorbing: lines of lamellas fencing in contours of parking volumes look like a clotting of space that only marks the wall. Let us add the idea of a green roof: with the fence of lamellas bearing the park that was supposed to provide a completely antigravitational effect – a park that either rose from the ground (like a cut out piece of watermelon), or floats on air. So, the three volumes – even though with a significant share of conventionality, represent “three centuries” of architecture: the past with its order verticals; the dynamics, shining and variable geometry of the present, and finally, the transparency and rustic naturality of the future. Another crosspoint overlaps with the intense transportation hub – the imaginative one; an addition by no means useless in the center of a growing airport.
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.