It so happened that the territory of the bank of the Nagatinsky Creek was developed by "Ostozhenka" twice. The first time around, as it turned out later, it was done a bit prematurely but the second time it was done just at the right moment: immediately after the contest for the development of the territories adjoining the Moskva River, during the epoch of the unquestionable victory of block development over the pinpoint type. One has every reason to suppose that it was with the consideration for these particular circumstances that the land site, also included in the program of renovation of the former industrial territories, got, at the second "attempt", closer attention and an appropriate budget. In this connection, in fact, the architects were asked to "take away from the table" the original, now almost complete, project of a residential complex that was calling for the typical development, and come up with a totally new architectural proposal. This was a rather challenging situation, especially in view of the fact that the construction of the first stage of the typical houses had already begun - but no one said it would be easy for the architects anywhere in the world, much less in Moscow.
Until recently, the territory between the Nagatinsky Creek and the Rechnikov Street running parallel to it hosted the buildings of a large industrial enterprise - Moscow ship-building yard. Later on it was decided to move the building facilities to a more suitable place - but the eighty-years long "ship-building" narrative seemed to stick forever in most of the local place names, as well as in the city people's memories. Alexander Skokan and his team treated this circumstance as one of the elements of the context into which they were to inscribe their project gracefully. Yet another active factor was the district of Nagatino itself; the new residential complex having to become a part of it. As the chief architect of the project Rais Baishev explains, this district is "really underestimated: the sturdy soviet-era houses, with their human-friendly density, number of floors, and green territories between them; a district that, with a bit of an optimistic stretch can be likened to European and Baltic-states residential areas". So, it was this "quietly existing", very peaceful and comfortable atmosphere that the architects were looking to bring into their project - of course, in a new architectural and ideological quality.
As for the main contextual centerpiece, this was, of course, the immediate proximity of the future residential area to the water. The entire second phase of "River Park" overlooks the creek. Achieving this was quite a tall order - on the plan, it looks like a regular rectangle, almost a square, organized around a large yard, inside of which it was planned to build a school and a kindergarten. The yard is surrounded by a curious merry-go-round of seven residential units - i.e. the composition calls for a centripetal focus rather than a centrifugal one. Still, ignoring such a huge "magnet" as a river would have been an unthinkable thing to do, both from the town-planning and the commercial standpoint. If we take a look at the preliminary models, we will see that initially the architects visualized six out of the seven blocks (the seventh one that closes the yard on the side is different in its position as much as in its architecture) as practically identical but later on - after much deliberation and agreeing with the customer's reasons - introduced changes to the project, and now the front line of the houses is different from the rest in its voluminous and planning solution, the common typology being still preserved. In addition to the obvious realtor advantages, such solution added a new emotion to the area's image: the back-line units look as if they were peeping from the backs of the front ones, standing on their tiptoes and stretching their necks in order to get a better look at the magnificent scenery. Back from poetry to practice, though! It must be noted that achieving this result was akin to solving some complex mathematical problem: considering the increased commercial attractiveness of the front row, the architects were able to make their selling area larger, even though the buildings of the back row are taller.
Each of the units looks like a semi-closed space opened up to the river, with a yard raised a little above the embankment level, under which a garage will be built. Typologically, this is something like a cross between a separately standing building - because all of its parts rest on a single stylobate - and a mini-block - consisting of three different units that surround the courtyard. The comfortable safe territory- the height difference between the yard and the outer traffic way makes it physically impossible for the "alien" vehicles to enter the yard unless it's some custom vehicle or special machine - is surrounded by a gallery sunken into the buildings. This way, the generally small territory of the yard gets broader, augmented by the little cozy nooks and crannies where one can find shelter from the rain or just take a seat and breathe in the river air. It is overlooked by the second floors of the double-height lobbies that are connected to the street on the ground level. The orientation to the creek is enhanced by the "terrace" solution: the architects paid special attention to designing terraces, including open-air ones, because this is a rather precarious element in our weather conditions, and provoking architectural vandalism in the form of differently sized "squatter" glazing and other unauthorized things done by the inhabitants was the last thing on the architects' mind. We will add at this point that the front row of the houses does not have a single apartment devoid of the creek view. As a result, all this put together - the embankment, the terraced volumes of the front line, the inner yard with children institutions, and the row of taller buildings closing the composition - comes together to become a clear-cut composition with a prominent gravity vector towards the water.
All the cafés, shops, and other retail points in the project are moved to the outer premises of the front row of houses, the ones overlooking the creek. "We wanted - Rais Baishev shares - the embankment to take on the attraction function, we wanted it to be alive and functionally rich". This desire of the architects resonated with that of the investor and the Moscomarkhitektura board that viewed this zone as part of the single program of improving Moscow's embankments. Of course, strictly speaking, the Nagatinsky Creek is not exactly the Moskva River but "Ostozhenka" views all the numerous small rivers and creeks flowing into the Moskva River as an indispensable part of this water system; this concept was laid down as the foundation of the project with which the company took part in the contest for the riverfront development - which considerably broadened the original contest specifications.
And as far as the Nagatinsky Creek is concerned, it's something that is pretty easy to handle: unlike the many small creeks that both the construction companies and God forgot, you do not have to either dig it out from the underground pipes or search for it through the swampland: here it is, located literally around the corner, deep, picturesque, and even navigable. It would have been a waste to leave its banks unorganized - and this was done in due course on a contest basis. Incidentally, the embankment of "River-Park" became Moscow's first project of landscaping a riverfront territory for which a dedicated contest was organized that started in February 2015. In summer, the winners' names were announced. The first place was won by the company that hardly needs any introduction - WOWhaus - with a project that was about a chain of various venues and a lighthouse as the compositional climax. The chief designer company was also quite satisfied with the future cooperation: still since the days of working on the master plan of the Ostozhenka Street, Alexander Skokan and his colleagues have been looking to attract as many different architects as possible to develop their territories so as to avoid everything being done by "one hand" - because the more creative people on one project the better the result. For example, they are sincerely happy with the unconventional projects of the school and kindergarten buildings based on the works of the participants of the contest "New Image of Kindergartens" showcased two years ago at Vinzavod culture center. And as for the landscaping of the territory of the residential complex, it will be done by "T+T Architects" whose concept of developing the embankment of the Nagatinsky Creek took the second place in the contest. Their task is to tie in lots of various factors within the project - both obvious, such as the connection of the residential area itself (developed by "Ostozhenka") with the embankment (developed by WOWhaus), as well as the ones that are only being forecast now.
Because currently it is only the first stage that has been actually built (the three 19-story units with an inner yard), the solution of this territory must become something like a pilot project that will define the style of landscaping the entire block - both the large inner territory with the school and kindergarten, and the raised little yards of separate blocks, and the yet-in-design office and shopping premises. All this "patchwork" must be somehow spun functionally, in an exciting way, but, most importantly, in the vein of the overall composition of the residential district set by the general designer. If everything goes to plan, the elements of this composition, of different nature and rather clearly zoned, will come together to form a single, cohesive, and integral city environment - something that Alexander Skokan and the architects of "Ostozhenka" particularly value.
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.