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.
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.
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.