The contest for the best architectural and engineering concept of "Nizhnie Mnevniki" and "Terekhovo" metro stations announced by "Strelka" bureau at the commission of "Mosinzhproject" gathered an unprecedented number of participants - totally, 121 projects were submitted. Shortlisting from among so many proposals the top ten was quite a tall order so it comes as no surprise that a lot of interesting works were in fact left outside the list. One of them is the projec by DNK ag whose authors did not limit themselves with superficial analogies but "delved deeper" into the task in more ways than one.
Over the recent years, the Moscow metro has been rapidly growing. In the next year, it is planned to launch into operation the first fragment of the so-called "Third Transition Contour" - in fact, yet another ring line - that is to connect the peripheral areas of the city among themselves. Considering the terms of the entire program and the economic realities, it was decided to switch over to the technology of double-way tunnels. Accordingly, instead of the one central "island" platform, the new stations will be getting two "bank" platforms separated by two parallel pairs of railroad tracks. However, the rate of laying the tracks is not the only thing that the ambitious plans of the Moscow government have in them: what also is very important is keeping up the high architectural standards set by the first builders of the Moscow Metro back in the 1930's.
The professional contests - the first one, for the best design of "Solntsevo" and "Novoperedelkino" metro stations taking place last year - serve exactly this purpose. Now the Russian and foreign architects were offered to design two more metro stations of the new "riverbank" type in the area of the Mnevniki riverbed that is turned almost into an island by the sharp bend of the river. The specifics of this territory are all about the fact that the architectural context here is nonexistent per se; what is known as of this date is that there are plans for making buildings of public and business function with a possible construction of a Parliamentary Center surrounded by a park. For this reason, the architects of DNK ag first considered the natural and historic background of this place. According to Natalia Sidorova, one of the authors of the project, "the main hero of this land site is the river itself, and the concept of the project is based on the interpretation of the associations that it brings up - CURRENTS, STREAMS, REFLECTIONS, RIPPLES ON THE WATER, OPENNESS. At the same time, the image of the pavilion and the station in general must fall in line with the image of the future public and business center dissolved in its landscape surroundings". Based on this idea, the architects were able to come up with a project with a rich chain of associations that are there in every detail of the project and are sometimes read on the subconscious level.
The first emotional event awaits the future passengers while still on the street when they are approaching the metro entrance. On the plan, the pavilions have a pointed streamlined shape, very much like a boat swimming in the stream of city traffic - thus the architects address the famous "fishing" past of the village of Mnevniki that once stood here. The fish that would get in the local people's toils was mostly burbot or "men'" as the locals would call it - supplied to the Tsar's table, the fish gave the name to the village and later to the modern district. The glazed facades of the pavilion's "board sides" sport a pattern of slanted metallic stripes. When viewed against the light, the superposition of the stripes of the two facades forms a diamond-shaped pattern whose artistic effect is strengthened by the different color of the stripes: dark-gray on the outside and warm orange on the inside. As you move, the stripes "shift" in respect to one another forming a dynamic picture reminding the surging of the waves and at the same time looking a bit like the lath of a garden gazebo. And, because these parallels are only given as a hint and they work rather on the emotional level, they do not "overload" the viewer's mind. Once you enter the pavilion, the effect is still strengthened at the expense of the mirror ceiling.
Passing through the laconically decorated underground crossing, accompanied by the alternation of the shadows and the light falling from the pavilion (this theme is picked up by the parallel lines of lights on the ceiling) the passenger finds himself in the lobby of the metro station. The authors of the project viewed it as a public city space in its own right akin to parks and squares but, of course, limited by the rigid boundaries of its shape. As Konstantin Khodnev, one of the authors of the project says, "this is urbanism scaled down to the size of interior design". This is why this space logically gets a few elements specifically inherent to public interiors and changing the very scale of this space - making it more human-proportionate. For example, in the ticket office, with its pristine dark-gray walls everything is "human-friendly": the benches, the information displays, and the ticket windows is placed in "warm" wooden niches while the escalator areas boast sculptural wooden benches - rather of the park than the interior kind and resembling tree trunks washed ashore or felled by the wind upon which a lonely wanderer could sit down to rest from his long walk down the river bank.
The main artistic theme running through the project - that of the interference effect of the light rays - continues here as well but now the large-scale play of lights and shadows (or ripples on the water surface) takes place on the ceiling. The sophisticated dynamic effect is achieved by very simple means: over the entire ceiling, at an acute angle to one another, long linear lights are placed and - still a little lower - perforated metallic stripes. What matters here is the fact that the passenger becomes not only a spectator but an active participant of the performance: it his because of him moving that the picture comes alive, "the ripples run over water, and the lights alternate with shades". This a solution as beautiful as it is ideologically justified - considering the function of the station as part of the dynamic underground traffic flow.
Yet another "character" of this architectural play is a semicircular wall along which the escalators move down to the platform. The wall is dissected by thin rays of light falling at different angles from the lights installed along the perimeter of the lobby - a carte blanche for various lighting scenarios - which, quite possibly, can put a sensitive observer into the mind of a water stream permeated by rays of sunlight.
Yet again the authors of the project avoid accentuating any specific image. Over the couple of minutes of waiting for the train, the passenger will have the time to get a feeling of being at a river bank (as we remember, the platform is of the "riverbank" type), the railway tracks playing the part of the "water artery", the backlit prism with an information display - the stream of sunlight, and the wooden inserts with benches in the walls of the platform - say, the part of riverside villages. At the same time, the laconic shapes of the few architectural elements, the pristine tones and the textures of the finish (one cannot help but mention the fact that all the solutions proposed in the project are easily implementable and rather cost-efficient) leave you in no doubt: you are inside a modern public facility, one that is respectable, sturdy, and business-like, having nothing to do with fickle vagaries of fashion.
One of the distinctive features of the Moscow metro has always been the synthesis of architecture and art. The authors of the project revise this idea on a whole new level. In the 1930's, when the construction of the metro was only just beginning, the beautiful central stations were decorated with the best samples of what the soviet art had achieved to that day: sculptures, decorative panels, and mosaics. Today, the world of art is ruled by different shapes - involving the viewer, visual effects, and technological friendliness. Sensitively reacting to the artistic context, the architects of DNK ag created a project in which architecture merged with modern art becoming almost an art installation in its own right. "This - Natalia Sidorova says - is our manifesto of revising the narrative of the Moscow metro as an art event the way we understand it and the way we think it could look today".
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.