The premium housing estate “Skolkovo Park” was built on the order of Millhouse development company not far from the innovation center “Skolkovo” – currently under construction – on Vesennaya Street in Estate Zarechie. Prime class and large apartments (from 60 to 130 m2), and Millhouse owns about 600 hectares of land here, including Park Meshersky improved by the developer and the largest golf club in Europe.
The arc-shaped form of the buildings in “Skolkovo Park” has – according to the words of architect Vladimir Plotkin – resulted from multiple restrictions. In short, the house had to bend in such a way, as to get the most of the sunlight for the dwellers. The case is that according to the rules of the surrounding territory, not a single window of the housing estate could face the south – the best side in terms of insolation. Eastward is the noisy Moscow Ring Road, and the most appealing part of the landscape – the river – is situated on the northern side. So, as the architect explained in the interview to “Project Russia” magazine (No. 77, 2015, p. 41-56), the arcs in the plan were at first part of a joke: a sum of thoughts about perspectives most convenient for insolation.
Which is why the “legs” of the building face the south with their blind ends, stone rounded wall and a line of “spurs”. This curve also restricts the windows from turning into the wrong direction, but at the same time allows parts of the embrasures to catch the rays of the south-west sun. A large part of the facades is covered with triangular bay windows – “the light traps”.
But the greatest advantage of this house is the lightness of its architecture. Thin lines, almost ephemeral, noble, reminding Modigliani… Nothing is inert; there are no crowded volumes or pressure of weight. This effect can hardly be seen even on very good photos, but you can easily feel it in presence, because it is all about movement and the constantly changing reflections of the sky and the perspectives. The architectural composition is emphatically dramatized – the building leads the spectator using the methods of baroque scenography: it embraces the forestage with the circumference of its inverted façade, plays with the beams of “visual outbreaks” slicing the curve of the north-east part into separate buildings giving a view of the river between them – just as if between the scenes.
Besides, unlike houses with “well” courtyards and the snake-houses of “classical” modernism –in this case it is hard to figure out at once how the facades are organized, to make out the squares of windows. It is all because of the bay windows that connect either two or three floors confusing the perception of the tiers and sizes. In their meeting points they slightly “cling” lending to the façade resemblance with a mechanism: a conveyor or a bicycle chain. Edges and ribs break the curving surface making it lose the inherent sculpturesqueness. Needless to say, that it is one of the favorite author’s solutions of Vladimir Plotkin for rounded volumes. The ribbed cylinder method was first found in one of the projects of 2008 for an office complex on Valovaya Street. And just recently the same ribbed façade and the same combination of light and dark stone appeared in the project for Kul’neva Street.
Another characteristic feature is the peculiar combination of glass and stone. They are almost half and half, and two types of limestone were used: light and dark – the latter accents the shades and compensating the lack of contrasting sun in our climate zone with the special architectural grisaille. The important thing is that grisaille is essentially a graphic, not a dimensional device. The stone goes on being graphical: bars of limestone “float” in the cold surface of glass like leaves upon water and create a single pattern with glass. So the difference between glass and stone goes down to nuances of transparency – and such approach is almost declaratively anticlassical.
However, the familiar tectonic role of stone has not been completely ignored. It forms a large frame from the cornice and several vertical moldings similar to bolsters of a gigantic order but standing wide apart, thin and resembling an open book. However, this conventional “colonnade” arouses multiple associations – from antique to mansion-related. This theme is continued by another smaller colonnade on the roof of the glass community center. Its function will apparently be the restaurant terrace. But figuratively it is an anti-tower that accents the yard entrance and is simultaneously a belle vue garden house, the relative of the rotunda in the mansion parks reminding, for instance, of the Apollo Colonnade at Pavlovsk.
It is as if a mansion palace with a park is transforming into a modern house right in front of us: one thing grows bigger, another smaller – and already the nostalgic fragments are fused into the new structure. It is the way you find antique reliefs in the walls of roman courtyards.
A tinge of nostalgia for the lost peacefulness of the Golden Age is resonated with by the improved territory. The first improvement project was proposed by TPO “Reserve”. Then the client organized a tender, won by an English bureau Hyland Edgar Driver. Vladimir Plotkin highly appreciated the improvement plan that was suggested and implemented by the British company – and in fact, it is a very accurately designed, beautiful and easily comprehendible landscape: comfortable and not overcrowded. The park is planted with flowers that bloom in turn and change the leaves colors regularly refreshing the view of the landscape; the lawns improved with soft geoplastics; everything is lit with soft, not blaring reflected light. The territory of the housing complex is rather big and is not densely developed, giving “air” to the residents. There are small front gardens before the ground floor apartments – personal pieces of ground for the residents.
But the key parts of the park are the two amphitheaters placed by the English architects in the places where manmade ponds were planned according to “Reserve” project. Those are places predetermined by the architecture of the building, and first of all, the circle in the center of the compass that drew the curve of the façade. The English bureau has turned it into a charming green amphitheater: the steps covered with grass remind the theatres of ancient cities, not the restored ones, but the authentic earthquake-ruined, where the stone seats were shifted or gone altogether, and the steps remained. It resonates with the contour colonnade of the façade and awakens the mind of the stroller bringing more sense to an idle walk.
But if we look around and see the big picture we will easily notice that the areas surrounding Skolkovo Highway are currently in the height of transformation. Earlier, just like along the neighboring Rublyovskoe Highway, there were only fences of country residences of influential people – even now, as soon as you turn aside a little, you appear in a gorge of fences. “Skolkovo Park” also has a fence, but it is different – it is transparent, aligned with the ideology of the project – light and natural. The house, as well as its “garden” do not hide inside a palace shell – but unwind upon the wide open space, breathe in the air as if saying in the morning: how wonderful! And what else does a person need?
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.