Taking an advantage of the absence of any architectural context, the architects of Arch Group designed the building of Radisson Blu Moscow Riverside Hotel as not just organic but literally "growing" from the natural landscape. Second place in the contest for the best architectural concept.
Written by: Lilya Aronova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
The unique geography of the land site on which Radisson Blu Moscow Riverside Hotel would be built, obviously, left none of the contest participants indifferent to it. But it is specifically the proposal by arch group that developed a whole ideology based upon it. This ideology grew naturally and organically, literally sprouting from the ground beneath the architects feet: Mikhail Krymov and Aleksey Goryainov from the very start decided that they would try to make the most of the advantages that this landscape gave them. First of all, of course, the unparalleled view of the panorama of the Strogino riverbed that is literally has no rivals in Moscow. This is why the architects' first task was searching for such an architectural and engineering solution that would allow for opening up this panorama from as many as possible (and, in the perfect world, from all of the) hotel rooms. Therefore, overlapping or juxtaposed volumes were out of the question, just as any windows facing each other - the only possible solution was the plan that followed exactly the bend of the spit of Moskva and Skhodnya rivers. Considering the fact that almost all the hotel rooms and apartments (for a few small exceptions) are going to be turned, in accordance with the architects plan, to the outer facade, such a solution provides the guests of the hotel with the utmost visual comfort, at the same time cutting of the not-too-pleasant views of the sewage structures lurking behind the construction territory.
So, what can a volume, so naturally "planted" on the cape between the two rivers, look like? "We thought that the most efficient way of form-making would be to have the building literally grow from the ground - Aleksey Goryainov shares - It must be at peace and harmony with the surrounding scenery, like it's the most natural thing that could ever happen here". Solutions like this one are generally a trademark feature of the works by Goryainov and Krymov: their projects usually show a lot of context-based common sense that is easily discernible in the language of their visual imagery. In this specific case, when viewed from the water area, the building of the hotel complex must look like a hill that has grown in the Strogino riverbed as a result of some tectonic process. This effect is also enhanced by the natural elevation of the terrain that the architects continue with a sloping form of the building strengthened by decorative pulls on the level of the first floor - they symbolize the connection between the facade and the ground. The architects also propose to accentuate the sloping bank with concentric arches of green terraces, which makes even more sense thanks to the fact that you cannot make asphalt walks on the waterfront territory - it can only be earth trails, lawns, and marinas.
The entire facade is occupied by the glass terraces belonging to the hotel rooms and apartments. This breaking away from the vertical gives the architects yet another advantage: the lower the floor, the more spacious the terraces can be which means that the river view, at places limited by the protected trees, will be made up for by the sheer number of extra square meters. And, if we are to integrate solar panels into the sloping glass, this will really go a long way to increase the energy efficiency of the complex. According to Aleksey Goryainov, by the way, the project has a great potential in terms of the so-called "green construction" - from the accumulation of rain and thawed water to complete automation and centralized digital control of all the engineering systems; in the light of nature-oriented ideology of the project, this makes perfect sense.
While, from the side of the outer facade, the "hill" image is created, among other things, by the wooden parts of the terraces, from the inner side the building is almost completely covered with glass. Due to the fact that, starting from the sixth floor up, it is only the corridors that overlook the yard, the restrictions for the percentage of glass in the residential premises do not apply here - meaning, there is a great possibility to provide the guests of Radisson Blu, as they walk to and from the elevators, with as much light as possible. The inclined form of the building plays here yet another part - it partially protects the people approaching the hotel from the rain, turning the building into a semblance of a giant awning. And, inside the smooth curve of the main volume, the architects propose to organize yet another "hill", this time a green one (in the literal sense of the word - it is planned that its roof will be planted with bushes and trees). This is the way the business center looks in this project - a multifunctional hall and offices, a restaurant, and a parking lot of its own - connected to the main building by an underpass. Its green roof is meant to protect the guests at 2-5th floor from the industrial waste: in this sector, orienting the residential premises to the outer side alone would have been economically ineffective. As far as the public zones of the hotel itself are concerned - the lobby, the restaurant, and the spa center - they fully occupy the first level of the building.
The peculiarity of the land site in question lies, among other things, in the fact that before they say "wow", overwhelmed by vistas spreading before their eyes, the guests will have to make a short but impressive journey from the Volokolamsk Highway down here. This area has not yet been landscaped, and no one knows for sure if it ever will be - so, most likely, after the construction is complete, the road to Radisson Blu will be framed with concrete fences with barbed wire, the ruins of a gas station, and some selling exhibition of tombstones. The authors of the project decided that it was necessary to heal this expression with the most active view of the building itself: from this vantage point, the eastern wing of the complex soars into the sky very much like the monument to Space Explorers at VDNKh. Besides the laws of perspective, this effect is enhanced by the increase in the number of floors in the direction of the Volokolamsk Highway: the difference with the opposite end of the curve is three meters thanks to which extra dynamics is given to the views of the building from the Moskva River and the Moscow Ring Road, while the step-like terraces increase the commercial attractiveness of the top-floor apartments. As for the guests driving up to the hotel, they are in for a wow-effect in the shape of an arched opening two stories high commanding a fine river view - through the building. The wooden finish of natural color, the form reminding of geologic cleavages - it seems that the earth itself stood on end here obeying some "Open Sesame" spell, and then froze that way forever, struck by the beauty of the scenery.
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.
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.