Having considerable experience in reconstructing various industrial facilities, from separately standing buildings to whole industrial parks, Aleksey Goryainov and Mikhail Krymov "redeveloped" the former factory building into their own office quickly, smoothly, and cost-efficiently. Today, the company's HQ is located on the Presnensky Val, in the former electrical appliances assembly workshop of Moscow Power Tools Factory named after the Revolution of 1905. The factory, by the way, still operates, only some of its buildings being rented out for offices, so, the choice of industrial eclectic style was practically predetermined. The authors of the project were quite ok with it, though: the "loft" style is both practical and modern, and is also reasonably "brutalist" - meaning, it quite corresponds to the image of the workplace of this creative team headed by two young architects. Besides, with such an approach, the remodeling took up the least possible amount of time, which was something that did matter: Arch Group had but two weeks to move from their old office to the new one.
The company's new office is a classic open-space; the company leaders' office and the meeting room are separated by glass partitions. For Goryainov and Krymov, it was crucial to create a one-chunk space totally devoid of any blind walls: in the company's old offices, the leaders sat separately from the employees - which indeed was inconvenient. And the glass wall, providing enough sonic insulation for conducting meetings or negotiations, visually does not separate the "bosses" from the rest of the company in any way, such arrangement going a long way to demonstrate to the employees that the company leaders are always available.
Just the way it should be in a loft, the ceiling was left the way it used to be in its "factory" past, its bearing structure showing. It was painted pitch black to visually push the limits of the space and hide the girders on the ceiling. Also, thanks to the black color of the ceiling, the architects were able to make an accent on the LED lights hovering freely in the space. The issue of light, it must be said, was addressed with all due seriousness, and without so much as a hint at stinginess - the architects carefully selected the brightness and the colors of the lights because the right lighting is not only necessary for productive work but also defines the overall atmosphere that definitely matters. The point lights on the walls capture bits of the texture of the original brickwork and the concrete walls with traces of framework enhancing their authentic beauty. And, of course, there is plenty of daylight here - it was decided that the large windows would be decorated with concrete slopes, the combination of which with the brick walls is a dramatic design solution in itself.
If we are to speak about the details, the most interesting thing in the interior of the office is the bearing columns. Removing the plaster slabs that used to cover them, the architects ran into a real industrial antiquity - the real railway tracks of the XIX manufactured by KRUPP and Brown, Bayley & Dixon Steel. Each of the rails is individual, having its own curvature and time marks. The architects covered the rails with protective lacquer to keep them intact as long as possible.
The tables, desks, armchairs of a few kinds, and the locker systems were also selected very carefully, the architects basing themselves not only on the economy and ergonomics but also on how much each object contributes to creating a comfortable working environment. "We care about our people - Aleksey Goryainov says - Each workplace is very individual and it is designed to make the person who works here want to come back to it again and again". A few things did require additional adjustment - for example, the architects joined three tables into a long single wine sawing off half of its legs. And the table in the meeting room has an even more interesting story behind it - it appeared thanks to the fact that after the installation of the partitions it turned out that there was one glass panel too many. Of course it would have been a waste just disposing of it - so the piece of glass was mounted on a metal framework, and the architects got an elegant, large, laconic, and virtually no-cost piece of furniture. The office, by the way, has in it yet another object so dear to the hearts of the company leaders: a recess in one of the walls turned out to be the perfect place for a small copy of Igor Shelkovsky's sculpture named "Head" that is the souvenir of Krymov and Goryainov participating in the contest for the monument to the victims of political repressions. "Of course, it's a bit on the ghastly side, given the very subject of that contest - Aleksey Goryainov comments - but it still made a perfect match for this specific interior".
One may be a little surprised to see a beanbag chair in the corner of this strictly working facility - but, heck, the tired employees need to have a place to relax! And a quick warmup would also do them good - for example, a table football - such opportunity is also provided for in the office of Arch Group. There is yet another idea: organizing - literally under the ceiling - a rest area with sleeping mats where a person will be able to grab some shuteye during the rush of work. The architects have already thought out how this idea could be implemented - the kitchen and the bathrooms are designed in the form of multicolored cubes reaching just a little short of the ceiling height. And it is planned that the mats will be laid up on their "roofs". The architects even designed a cute little stairway for the employees to climb up to the mats - now the idea is just waiting to be implemented.
In spite of the maximum austerity of its planning, the office space looks rather intriguing. The punctured lines of the ceiling lights that visually stretch the volume get reflected in the glass partitions and the dull glass of the gray floor, the "column" rails adding rhythm to the space, the monochrome tone of the black-and-white palette broken by the warm shade of the brick walls, and suddenly - by the life-affirming blue of the side wall that, together with the white low stack of shelves, forms the entrance group (the architects often use this technique: designing the interior, they leave the paint job just short of reaching the ceiling). "Maybe our next office will be designed in a different, more expressive, key - Aleksey Goryainov speculates - But today it seems to us that we chose a very right direction to go; the office turned out to be very cozy and really conductive to creative work".
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.