A few years ago, in the near-Moscow area, at a picturesque land site surrounded by a thick pine forest, upon the project of Roman Leonidov, a house was built of natural stone and dark wood. A little later on, its owners - people used to an socially active lifestyle - decided to build for their numerous guests yet another independent house of a smaller size. Being satisfied with the original result, they again turned to the same architects - Roman Leonidov and Anastasia Leonidova.
The guest house was named "forester shack", even though its total area is far from being a "shack" kind - 265 square meters - which, on the other hand, is about a seventh of the total square footage of the master's villa (1892 square meters). The "shack" is situated a little stretch away from the main house, on a well-lit clearing in the thicket of the pine forest, and, thus, it is all but invisible behind the tree trunks if viewed from the main house. Nevertheless, its architecture is resonant with its prototype, inheriting the themes that were set earlier on: just like its "elder brother", it us built upon the contrast between stone framework, dark wood and glass. However, the guest house looks more pristine. In any case, more pristine if compared to the main house that embraces its yard with a semicircle of terraces looking like porticos with their arrays of slender pillars; in the case of the guest house, however, all the lines are straight, and all the sections are right-angle ones.
The bulk of the first floor is made of concrete, and, just as the basement floor, is coated with thin stripes of rugged dark-gray stone with pipes shooting up asymmetrically on the sides. The top floor is wooden, and both floors are pierced through by lots of stained glass inserts and wide floor-to-ceiling windows that make the volumes look permeable and transparent, lighted up on the outside and opened to the beauty of the forest scenery from the inside.
"In this project, we implemented the technology that in the recent years we have been actively developing together with Newood Company: it is about taking the half-timber structure and adding to it virtually any other material you can possibly think of - Roman Leonidov shares - In our specific case, it is timber and stained glass. In addition, I am a big believer in the potential of large-span structures that the glued wood technology provides".
The house does actively interact with its environment by surrounding itself with a broad and differently-styled framework of terraces, stanzas, and balconies. The largest of them is the barbecue place situated parallel to the rectangle of the house and connected to it with a short bridge made of wooden floor-boards. Its upper border is formed not only by the sloping rain awning but also partially by the permeable grille of beams, run in between the volumes of the "stone" and "wooden" stories and creating an effect of "air layer" or maybe even of the levitation of the second floor that looks not so much as it is resting on the stone base but rather like it is ready to slide down the guides. In addition, one of the side surfaces of the second floor stands out in a deep cantilever above the base, so one might think that the second floor is actually already in motion. Yet another terrace - rather more like a stanza balcony - rests on the roof of the bottom tier on the other side of the house, opposite to the "barbecue" side. It must be said that the balconies, the long overhangs of the sloping roofs, and the stone basement of the bottom tier - all these are quite recognizable elements of an Alpine chalet; on the whole, however, the house looks very little like a chalet, it's just that some of it fragments can evoke the tell-tale associations, especially if one is a passionate skier.
The balconies and the terraces, along with the unshielded beams and window frames resembling the portals of a stage box, surround the house with a curious kind of transparent semi-openwork construction. The resulting effect could be best described as "architectural deconstruction" - from the "spectacular" viewpoint, the house reveals to the observer almost the very core of its structure. An important part is also played by the theme of a garden gazebo, and the hot-lately theme of a ruin, also either of a "park" or "antique" kind: the white frames bear a resemblance, however distant, with the marble frames of the entrance sashes that are a rare sight but still to be seen sometimes at some late-Roman ruins. Letting your fantasy wander, one could imagine that he or she is standing in front of the remnant of some stone building that was later on overbuilt with wooden volumes but not completely - this way of thinking based on a fiction but still unobtrusive story is also rather topical nowadays. Besides, the house, opened up to the forest in a graceful and picturesque way, is quite appropriate for the tasks it is meant to perform: pastime in the forest, barbecue, tea parties on the terraces, and contemplating the pine trees from behind the awnings.
Widely opened into the space, the house is as light on the inside as it is on the outside. The first floor is almost completely occupied by a large living room - which is also the room with a fireplace, a kitchen, and a dining room. This is the main and the most eventful place in the house - with a recreation zone by the fireplace, a bar counter, and a large dinner table. The wall that faces the barbecue terrace is almost completely occupied by a pull-out glass partition - in the summertime, it will be possible to open it up completely. As the author of the interior design Anastasia Leonidova shares, apart from the visual rhymes with the main house, the customer asked to add "more color, more light, and more life". Hence - the contrasts of textures and colors, for example, the light travertine and the dark oak or the dark-gray concrete and the white surfaced of the kitchen furniture. In order to enrich the palette of emotions, the authors also indulged in using various textiles - carpets on the floor and light boxes on the ceiling, and even some eclectic notes: pieces of wooden Malaysian furniture go together with more democratic modern ones.
From the living room, a futuristic stairway leads up to the second floor: the concrete steps, growing "spontaneously" travertine wall, hang in midair, perfectly viewable through the transparent railing. The bedrooms on the second floor change the tense contrast for a cosy harmony of the light-colored walnut with an odd fraction of stone and opaque glass of the doors.
The authors are convinced that that the house develops the tradition of organic architecture because it adapts to its natural environment and used natural materials. Which, obviously, is the case. From the plasticity standpoint, this project is reigned by the principle of a balanced contrast poising on the verge of tradition, deconstruction, and eco-minimalism. It not only provides the interflow of spaces and impressions but also ensures the cohesiveness of the architectural ensemble, the resonance between the major house and the minor one. And it also allows the observer to recognize the signature style of Roman Leonidov.
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
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.