The ceremonial and administrative center of Astana is built in a manner of a wide boulevard splitting the city from West to East: it is stretched in a straight line from Han-Shatyry shopping-center constructed by Norman Foster, to the presidential palace of Nursultan Nazarbayev, across the river to Independence Square, to the – yet only planned – Millennium Alley, and ends with the train station, currently under construction. To the East of the train station, more precisely – between the future station and the large golf-club, already open and very popular in the city – it has been decided to build a Technopark “Ishim”. The concept of the park has been developed by Totan Kuzembaev’s workshop.
The Ishim River is a lowland one, naturally very winding, with frequent floodings and back-waters – crosses Astana like its new axis: from northwest to southeast. But in its eastern part, the river-bed is aligned and headed towards the new storage pond arranged by the city as a competitor to the old one (built in 1969) – Vyacheslavinskoye – located 25 miles further. The distance between the future technopark and the storage pond – 20 miles away from the city center – is 6 miles, and the straightened river-bed of the Ishim flows close to the southern border of its territory. In this way, it is beaded onto the central city axis, and at the same time turns out to be part of the parking and recreational areas, and a neighbor to a successful golf-club and the adjoining luxury settlement, that must be populated by golf lovers. In short, if set in order, the territory is green and full of water. So it was decided to combine the technopark with a health resort area.
The architects placed business and commercial buildings around the perimeter which, in plan, reminds a triangle, since it adjoins to a crossroad of two planned highways. The northern corner – almost a third part of the whole area – is occupied by a building which combines the functions of a hotel and a residential house. It is constructed over the bed of a narrow river alined along the perimeter of the main river Ishim and turned into a channel for drainage of the area. It easily “oversteps” the river letting it flow between the large pillar-towers. Typologically, it is a version of a horizontal skyscraper allotted with multiple archaic associations: the building simultaneously reminds an aqueduct (however, there are no aqueducts that are semicircular in plan), Stonehenge megaliths and ruins of a park, since it is arranged on a trimmed grassy glade. It is rather geometrical and made completely of glass, but the torn roof line – that echoes the contours of the surrounding mountains – is covered with green. Free association suggests the semi-conscious stories of flourishing settlements and wars against nomad tribes, about Tamerlane and the ruined irrigation of mediaeval countries – as if we are standing before the remains of lost ancient culture or, rather, its shadow.
Along the two roads and the third border of the territory, Olzhas and Totan Kuzembaevs arranged three similar long buildings (one of them is an educational and exhibitional center). They look outward with technogenic stained-glass windows, through which floors looking like ribs of a giant animal can be seen. The end walls are made of large vent façade panels reminding scale of some giant reptile, mountain slit texture. The roof and the inner façade of every building form together a dencely tree-planted slope with waterfalls which ends with a long flat bottom – made of concrete but vastly covered with large trees. In some places the slopes are adorned with waterfalls. Its likeness to “The Lost World” is quite obvious and intended: inside, the glass facades form a “bowl” that secures moist from the steppe wind for this piece of heaven’s nature. This is cleverly done: it is planned to arrange an eco-park with a botanical garden and nursery of rare plants of Kazakhstan inside of the “bowl”, where the grass, trees and waterfalls will allow to maintain comfortable temperature and humidity. It is planned to apply eco-technologies as vastly as possible: at least there will be fully automated power supply systems, heat collectors and solar batteries.
Amid the park with rare plants and a humid micro-climate hardly reminding a steppe, there is a chain of villas forming a lopsided horseshoe. From above, this line of one-storey houses standing on the ground (more precisely, on wooden platforms) reminds either mushroom caps (“pixy-ring”), or pebble laid by nomads in the moss for some kind of a magic ritual: if this be the case, the two largest ring-shaped villas in the middle must be the eyes of – let’s say – the spirit of the earth. In other words, looking from above, the villas form a geoglyph, a mimic of some pre-Abraham steppe temple, which quite suitably echoes with the megalith-hotel.
On close inspection, the villas are executed fully in Totan’s style. The carcass is wooden with frame structures, the plans are roundish (remember the peddle). All houses are surrounded with wide terraces: in the Kazakh language such sheds are called “kerege”. In some places, the wooden bearing walls of the house are covered with felt – “taurlyk” in Kazakh. By the way, felt is the basic construction materiel of a yurt. The terraces are screened with diagonal grates from the outside. They equally remind a european pergola (sure, they can be twined with ivy) and the structural base of the yurt (which was traditionally covered with felt). After all, Totan Kuzembaev is a Kazak, and time after time he reembers it: for example, in the interior design of a yurt in Venice; and here it was absolutely necessary to recollect the nomadic roots. The Kazakh dwelling is taken as a basis, but at the same time, it has been turned inside out: the grates are outside, and the felt is inside, and there is no dome. The likeness turns out to be indirect, not literal, and in a way, maybe it is even a deconstruction of the image of the yurt and becomes a summerhouse. After all, it is a health resort area, the Garden of Eden, the essence of Kazakh nature. It would be a sin to hide away from it behind the felt, since it has already been closed up by "mountain" buildings.
The architects suggest four types of villas. They called the largest, ring-shaped eyes-houses “Mirabelle”; their area is 5400 ft² and in the middle, there is a courtyard with a small pond. As it has been already mentioned, there is enough water here and every house has a small pond, or a spring under it. The smallest house is “Ueno”, with an area of 1400 ft². It is also the most minimalistic one. Larger houses, “Tikal” and “Fiordland”, are intended for big families with children. All types of villas can alternate in any possible order; each has an exit leading to the eco-park, which will soon not only have play- and sportsgrounds, but a botanical garden and a nursery of rare plants of Kazakhstan. Of course, the park will be equipped with running tracks and cycle lanes (in winter they will turn into a long ski track), tennis courts, areas for public events, various restaurants and cafes, a fitness club and a pool – in a word, everything that a modern person associates with a healthy and comfortable lifestyle.
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.