Museum of Anna Semyonovna Golubkina – a part of the Tretyakov Gallery – is located on Lyovshinsky lane, not far from Old Arbat. The entrance is in the yard, behind a massive door – the atmosphere of an art studio of the Silver Age; in the hall, you can see shots chronicle with Moscow and Paris of the 20th century and Auguste Rodin – Golubkina’s teacher. The guests receive an amusing guidebook based on the letter of Golubkina to her friend, mentioning her places of interest – there, we learn where Rodin’s workshop is (now a museum as well), and also that Anna Semyonovna would not recommend visiting zoological gardens.
The exhibit that sums up the most famous and expressive works of the sculptor takes up two floors. The first floor reminds of a more traditional exhibition area: two spacious halls, soft light, evenly distributed sculptures that one can observe all around, even museum attendants, cautiously watching over maintenance of order and silence are the same as everywhere. But, unlike a standard exhibition where you are expressly prohibited to touch the exhibit-items, here the guests have a unique opportunity of getting a tactile notion of the art works and technique of the sculptor. For this purpose, two Golubkina’s works have been reproduced with the modern technology of 3D-printing.
Next to the vase “Mist” – one of the most famous works – there is a tactile panel with exact replicas of the sculpture’s fragments. As envisioned by the author of the idea and a co-curator of the exhibition, head of Mezonproject architectural bureau, Ilya Mashkov, by touching the fragments one can get a deeper understanding of how the artists worked, what he thought about while creating the works. The second tactile panel is placed by the portrait sculpture of the writer Alexey Remizov, and demonstrates the sculptor’s technique. It was not that easy to come around and touch each of them on the day of the openning: inspired by the idea, the visitors stood in lines, touched the fragments, reflected for a while, went away, and came back again.
The second floor of the museum is a workshop with a huge floor-to-ceiling window and a small memorial room where the organizers of the exhibition tried to recreate the exact atmosphere of that time. This room is very quiet and is the only place with almost no sculptures. The main action takes place in the workshop. Despite its modest sizes, the room itself creates a magical impression – the darkened wall-paper, high ceiling covered in cracks with age and with a square roof monitor, and all around are the sculptor’s works. Executed in different techniques, made of stone, marmor, wood, they are everywhere on the shelves, and tables by the walls, on the window-sill, chairs, emerging in the center of the room leaving narrow labirynth for the visitors to move around.
The special illumination helps the visitors not to feel at a loss or miss something important. The spotlights installed under the ceiling direct bright light beams successively onto different sculptures drawing the visitor’s attention to them. This develops another aspect of the project – “See”. The visitors get completely immersed and engaged in the creative process (which is exactly what the exhibit organizers aimed for) thanks to the elucidative audio surrounding: the guests hear extracts from Anna Golubkina’s letters, her dialogs with colleagues and friends, read by the historian-medievalist, lecturer Nataliya Ivanovna Basovskaya. In this manner, the “See” and “Hear” aspects of the project are revealed.
On the day of the exhibit openning, we had an interview with its curator, head of Mezonproject workshop – Ilya Mashkov:
“It all started with our participation in the exhibition “ARCH Moscow-2015” where our workshop presented an unusual stand: we offered to the visitors to experience architecture with all the sense organs. We made something absolutely intangible – a creative idea – possible to touch, hear and see at the same time. The guests enjoyed our stand very much then and gladly participated in the experiment. Our work drew the attention of the workers of Anna Golubkina’s museum who invited me together with Tatyana Galina to be curators a special project “Touch + See + Hear = Feel”.
I think that our method of engaging all sense organs is very well suited for such expressive works of art. It is very hard to translate their expression to a large mass of people in some other way. The visitors come but not always fully relate to what they see and leave too soon, before they could get filled with the genious of Golubkina’s art that has no analogues in the world. She is Rodin’s pupil but at the same time: completely different, unlike anybody else. Her work was incredible and she expressed everything what she felt inside through clay. It was her emotional experience – as feelings of a creator, genious, a person of her era and a big artist – that we tried to show at the museum exhibit. It was very challenging because Anna Semyonovna was an unusual person – very alive and energetic, straight-forward and original. She only worked with the images that were really interesting to her. For example, she was delighted to sculpt Andrey Bely, but flatly refused to work with the figure of Sergei Yesenin. She saw and felt the world and people around her in her own way. This was the aspect that was so hard to explore within such a small space of her workshop. As an architect, I had a task to create the impression of extension of space despite the large amount of sculptures, and make sure that no item would get lost amid the others.
The most emotional works are presented inside the exposition. For example, the portrait sculpture of Remizov. Looking at it you realize that he has absolutely true skin, real maustache and his coat is almost tangibly soft. You walk around it and you think – how was it possible to animate a lifeless material by means of sculpture? So that you could answer this question, we installed a tactile panel by the sculpture and chose the most interesting fragments touching which you start to understand how it was done. It includes Remizov’s ear made with a single movement of three fingers. Golubkina simply took the clay, pressed on it with three fingers – and you see an ear, brushed with her hand across the neck – and a collar turns around it, made a few skilled movements – and the writer’s face is alive. It is impossible to understand it without touching it. That is why, coming to the exhibition it is absolutely necessary to touch the fragments with your hands and concentrate on your feelings trying to image yourself in place of the sculptor, understand how the visible effect was actually achieved. The aspect of touching opens a new additional way of perception of art.
Furthermore, we tried to accent each sculpture with light, getting the audience to turn their focus from one item to another. Besides the light, we also use sound. Nataliya Basovskaya agreed to voice Golubkina’s letters. And I think that it was a success. I listened to many actors, men’s and women’s voices but I could not find the right one. There was an incredible depth in the voice of Anna Semyonovna. I heard such depth in the voice of Nataliya Ivanovna who read all Golubkina’s lines practically in one breath. The recorded voice is aired non-stop. We intentionally added an indicator of Golubkina’s age so that whenever the guests came in – they would understand the context right away and listen to all the audios to the end. You can also compare your own feelings and perceptions in different ages with the reflections shared by Golubkina. For example, when she is 40 years old she admires marblers and dreams to learn something from them. In her 30s, she does not want to listen to her teachers and insists on working in her own manner. When she is 60, she is preoccupied with the sculpture of Lev Tolstoy that does not come out well because the writer has the eyes of a “coursed wolf”. She does not change with age and remains a very active and energetic person.
I think that with the simplest technical means we have managed to expand the space of the small workshop and achieve full involvement of the audience”.
The exhibition is open up to January 31. The building of the museum is planned to be completely renovated by 2017, so the exposition is also a chance to see the workshop of this amazing sculptor practically in pristine condition.
The Energy Family
The housing complex Symphony 34 will be built in Moscow’s Savelovsky district; it will consist of four towers from 36 to 54 stories high. Each of the towers has an image of its own, but they all are gathered into a single architectural ensemble – a fragment of a new high-rise urban space lying outside the Third Transport Ring.
The Fifth Element
The high-end residential development in the Vsevolozhsky Lane features a combination of expensive stone and metal textures, immersing them into a feast of ornaments. The house looks like a fantasy inspired by the theater of the Art Nouveau and Symbolism era; a kind of oriental fairy tale, which paradoxically allows it to avoid direct stylization and become a reflection of one of the aspects of modern Moscow life.
Springboards and Patios
The central element of the manor house in the village of Antonovka, designed by Roman Leonidov, is the inner yard with pergolas, meant to remind its owner about his vacations in exotic countries. The exposed wooden structures emphasize the soaring diagonals of single-pitched roofs.
Adding Up a Growing City
The housing quarter “1147” is located at the border between the old “Stalin” district in the north and the actively developing territories in the south. Its image responds to a difficult task: the compound brick facades of the neighboring sections are different, their height varying from 9 to 22 floors, and, if we are look from the street, it seems as though the front of the city development, consisting from long narrow elements, is forming some sophisticated array at this very moment in front of our eyes.
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.