The project of "Quarter 5", part of "Garden Quarters" complex, was developed by Sergey Skuratov in 2015. Two residential buildings are to occupy the western corner of the territory between Quarter 2 and Quarter 3; initially, this land site was twice as large, and there were plans of handing it over to office buildings, but later on, in 2008, it was decided to switch its function to a residential one, also foregoing the idea of demolishing a small fire station building stretching along the site's outside contour. The construction blueprint shrank to about half of its original size and took on an elongated shape. Today it is the smallest quarter of the complex, about a fourth or a third of the size of the others.
This place, however, is vitally important from the town-planning standpoint. In fact, this is the "grand entrance" to "Sadovye Kvartaly" - because it is this particular corner that faces both to the walkway leading to the "Sportivnaya" metro station, and the city square in front of the "Usachevsky" marketplace. Today, the square is basically cluttered with cars but still, in terms of typology, it is in fact a market square and a center of the area's social life; the market, covered by the concrete wing of the sail-like vault, is not so simple from the architectural standpoint, either. In his project, Sergey Skuratov, the author of the concept, the design code, and more than a half of all the buildings of "Garden Quarters", distinguished, above all else, the town-planning importance of the land site and its role of the grand entrance to the new complex.
In addition, while still in the concept stage, the project had in it two diagonal axes that would offset each other and liven up the whole composition, one in the fourth quarter, aimed southeast, the other in the fifth, aimed southwest. The former was handled by Andrew Savin and "A-B" Bureau, and this place got a building that violated some of the design code (specifically, the part of brick being prevalent), looking forward to like the head of some mercury worm, but really interesting and striking - which only enhanced the "east-west" dichotomy that was there from the start in Sergey Skuratov project that he mentioned in passing still on the level of design code. Now the east is represented by the mercury "head" - the sculptural volume designed by Andrew Savin, horizontal, dense, and flowing downwards. As for Sergey Skuratov, he replied to this plastic challenge with a tower that is located exactly in the western corner of the territory and filled with Western Europe associations.
The tower, especially if one is to look from the square of the Usachevsky market, wants to be described as a medieval torro, a residential tower of an influential family that established itself on the brink of some market "campo" in some "città", medieval but already Italian city that has begun to stand for its rights as a newly-born city. Such towers were very common between the XI and XIV centuries all over the territory of the former Roman Empire from Spain to Florence to the Middle East. It was such towers that served as the prototype of Florence's future palazzos. As well as bridgeheads and dungeons, mostly round-shaped and performing the function of protected residences. As well as belfries - one of them, the most famous tower of Pisa, Sergey Skuratov specially mentions when he shares about the project because the openwork quality of his façades can indeed put one in the mind of its colonnades. As an offset to the flowing "head" designed by Andrew Savin, Skuratov's tower like a rock of rational verticals standing out bristling with counterforce, with its rugged bricks on the outside, and sunny-white, as the light of Telperion, on the inside. Without a doubt, when implemented, this sharpened metaphor would tie in together a lot of nuances and enhance their meanings. "Garden Quarters" would have had two heads, one gazing westward and the other gazing eastward, which would have been a really symbolic thing in itself.
The outlines of the "western tower" are reservedly graphic, balanced, and at the same time not devoid of a few secrets that make examining it a pretty exciting thing to do: in motion, the façades would constantly be changing.
First of all, this is not at all a circular tower but a short parallelepiped with a distinctly "circularly" rounded side wall. It looks like a cylinder only from the front-view position. The opposite side wall looking at the center of the complex is sliced away but is at the same time accentuated by a dramatic cantilever: its five lower floors are have an inside cutaway several meters deep. Because this part of the volume falls into shade and there is no point making apartments here -the architect explains.
The façades of the rounded section and the walls adjoining it are rather made of bricks. We say "rather" because originally it was planned that the brick (top-quality Flemish Brick "Gent" from Hagemaster, with a slight tone gradient and moderate ruggedness) would only be used for coating the outside surfaces. All the depths and spacious window jambs were supposed to be dazzling white, even slightly glittering in the dark - made from Stoneglass alloy with a self-explanatory name. It looks as though the window jambs, very much like a sliced apple, display the foam-white matter of the walls - suggesting that the building is white "on the inside". Which, of course, is not quite the case: all the concrete pillars are of the same thickness but there are also hollow boxes set next to them that form the architectural relief: the pillars of the rounded "tower" part are more prominent and look faceted because of the slants, while, as they go over to the side walls, they lose their thickness and become wider. When viewed from the south, the tower will look as if it is made of brick, and if one goes north down the Usachevskaya Street, the tone of the façade will be smoothly changing in a gradient way - from terra-cotta to white and back to terra-cotta again, like a page of half-opened book. In addition, this agile gradient serves as a transition - a color "bridge" - between the brick building in the south and the light-colored façades of Quarter 3 in the north. And if we take a look at their plan, they look a bit like a tractor track or maybe a circular saw - because the slants are asymmetric and are only there on the north side. One should hardly mention the fact that the prominent pier buttresses go a long way to enhance the "fortress" associations without so much as a hint at literalism. The historical associations are also strengthened by the fact that the perimeter walk is sunken in a little bit, which refers the observer to the memories about the unearthed Novgorod temples standing in the basin of the cultural layer excavated by the archaeologists - the same technique was used by Sergey Skuratov in order to enhance the contextual flavor in the building of Art House in the Tessinsky Alley.
Besides the conceptual meaning, the pier buttresses also serve a practical purpose: from the inside, they uncover as much as possible the views of the Novodevichy Monastery and the Sparrow Hills, getting as much sunlight as they possibly can - which, as a matter of fact, conditioned the thought-out angles of the building's surfaces. The subtleties do not stop at the pattern of the depths and angles, though: the windows also grow consecutively wider from bottom to top, while the piers grow narrower, visually unburdening the volume and playing with the perspective.
The opposite "cantilever" side picks up and develops the idea: with one of its sections cut off vertically, it stands completely made of glass encased in a thin white "television" frame. Which also works to support the observer's initial conviction that on the inside the building's walls are white, at the same time demonstrating the hollowness of the shell, adding a histrionic twist to the whole picture, some scenic essence of the metaphor used in the dialogue with the observer. Besides, the stained glass leaves no doubt as to the immanent "up-to-date" quality of Sergey Skuratov's architecture, which is important to the author, in spite of all his "literary" love of dialogue with the context.
The first centerpiece tower has been designed taller than it was provided for in the design code of "Garden Quarters" - seventeen floors high. As for the other tower, it obeys the rules, being the mere twelve stories high. It stretches along the boulevard that continues from the "Sportivnaya" metro station and separates Quarter 5 and Quarter 2. The architecture of the second tower echoes its neighbor but it is a little more reserved. The side wall surfaces, though, are coated with an array of prominent bricks arranged in a staggered order which makes the play of light and shade particularly interesting. The window jambs are smooth and made of bricks; it was even planned that their brickwork would use a certain amount of occasional glittering (like lurex threads) inserts. The embossed surface is open to the environment also from the conceptual standpoint because the wall looks as if it is porous and water-absorbing; conceptually, it all looks so much like brick joggle that the eye gets an impression that either something was torn away from the wall or it waits for an annex to be built. Thus, the side walls of this tower "stretch" apart trying to fit in with the overall rhythm of the surrounding buildings; the window jambs, on the other hand, establish themselves as decorated cavities. The elongated walls of the second tower are glass "televisions", and when viewed from the vantage point of the "Sportivnaya" metro station, it looks like some gigantic portal into another dimension. If we let our imagination wander a little bit further, we might see in Sergey Skuratov's Quarter 5 the outline of a city gate and a tower standing next to them - which makes perfect sense for this place because it is in fact the entrance to the complex.
Both buildings are set on a stylobate whose height grows up to two floors as relief of "Garden Quarters" goes down closer to the central part of the territory where, as is known, a pond is situated. Turned, for the better part, on the inside part of the complex, the façades of the stylobate are pretty much of the same kind as the façades of the stained-glass parts of the towers: glass, slightly faceted, and sporting vertical white lamellae. It was also planned that on its south side and along the boulevard down which commuters would walk home from the metro station, the stylobate would get a kindergarten with a playground on its roof; this same place got the parking garage entrance ramp, separated from the kindergarten by a hedgerow. Along the north facade, shops, cafes, and other "public functions" would be situated that would turn the deep funnel of the second boulevard (triangular on the plan) into a city square - a cultured pendant of the market square across from it that will also possibly find its own urban designer one day.
The triangular square, according to Sergey Skuratov's apt expression, was meant to "suck" (like the Bermuda Triangle) people into the whirlpool of the narrowing public space. The intrigue is made still more complex because of the fact that two tiers are involved here: as we have already said, the transformed terrain of the entire residential complex lowers significantly towards the center of its territory. On the land site of Quarter 5, the elevation gain is felt very strongly, and for this reason the stylobate is equipped with ramps and footbridges connecting it to Quarters 2 and 3 which is convenient for at least taking your kids to school. Generally speaking, hanging footbridges is the signature feature of "Garden Quarters" - they are to be seen all around the place here. The triangular square and its narrowed end get by their sides a few staircases leading to the lower tier of the stylobate. The entrances to the stores are organized both on the first and on the second floors - the territory of the triangular boulevard turns out to be a compound invention, its parts interpreting the height difference in their own unique ways.
As we can see, the project works on a whole number of levels - from the exciting multilevel organization of pedestrian territories and various public functions in the lower floors to the detailed façades, plastic accents, and the meaningful "literature" part of the overall concept. In many respects, Sergey Skuratov made Quarter 5 pretty much the key entrance to the residential complex that has for eight years already had the fame of Moscow's model of new approach to town planning and building elite residential stock. Meanwhile, in the process of working on the concept, nearly at the point of completion, it suddenly became known that this project was participating in a tender with but one other company as its contender. Still further on down the line, the customer ("Inteko" Company) chose that other project over Sergey Skuratov's. So, all things considered, this project is unlikely to be implemented, which, of course, is a sad thing to realize because otherwise it could have become not only the logic consummation of the author's concept but also a successful town-planning accent making a positive difference for Moscow's Khamovniki District.
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.
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.
The Outer Space
Honoring the 300th anniversary of the Kuznetsk coal fields in 2021, a new passenger terminal of the Aleksey Leonov Airport in the city of Kemerovo will be built, designed by GK Spectrum and ASADOV Architectural Bureau.
The Pivot of Narkomfin Building
Ginzburg Architects finished the restoration of the Narkomfin Building’s laundry unit – one of the most important elements of the famous monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture.
The housing complex “Respublika” is so large that it can be arguably called a micro-town, yet, at the same time, it easily overcomes most of the problems that usually arise with mass housing construction. How could Archimatika achieve that? We are examining that on the example of the first stage of the complex.
The Flowing Lines
The five houses of the “Svoboda” block belonging to the “Simvol” residential complex present a vivid example of all-rounded work performed by the architects on an integral fragment of the city, which became the embodiment of the approach to architecture that hitherto was not to be seen anywhere in Moscow: everything is subjected to the flow of lines – something like a stream, enhanced by the powerful pattern of the facades akin to “super-graphics”.
A City by the Water
The concept of a large-scale housing development at the edge of Voronezh, near the city reservoir, or “the sea”, as it is locally called, uses the waterside height difference to create a sophisticated public space, paying a lot of attention to the distribution of masses that determine the look of the future complex if viewed from the opposite bank of the river.
A Journey to the Country of Art Deco
The “Little France” residential complex on the 20th line of the Vasilyevsky Island presents an interesting make-believe dialogue between its architect, Stepan Liphart, the architect of the New Hermitage, masters of the Silver Age, and Soviet Art Deco, about interesting professional topics, such as a house with a courtyard in the historical center of Saint Petersburg, and the balance between the wall and the stained glass in the architectonics of the facade. Here are the results of this make-believe conversation.
A House in a Port
This housing complex on the Dvinskaya Street is the first case of modern architecture on the Gutuevsky Island. The architectural bureau “A-Len” thoroughly explores the context and creates a landmark for further transformations of this area of Saint Petersburg.
Balance of Infill Development
Anatoly Stolyarchuk Architectural Studio is designing a house that inadvertently prevails over the surrounding buildings, yet still tries to peacefully coexist with the surrounding environment, taking it to a next level.
The Precious Space
Evolution Design and T+T Architects reported about the completion of the interior design project of Sberbank headquarters on the Kutuzovsky Avenue. In the center of the atrium, hovers the “Diamant” meeting room; everything looks like a chest full of treasures, including the ones of a hi-tech kind.
Big Little Victory
In a small-sized school located in Domodedovo in Moscow metropolitan area, ASADOV_ architects did a skillful job of tackling the constraints presented by the modest budget and strict spatial limitations – they designed sunlit classrooms, comfortable lounges, and even a multi-height atrium with an amphitheater, which became the center of school life.
The Social Biology of Landscape
The list of new typologies of public spaces and public projects has been expanded yet again — thanks to Wowhaus. This time around, this company came up with a groundbreaking by Russian standards approach to creating a place where people and animals can communicate.
Watched by the Angels from up Above
Held in the General Staff building of the Hermitage Museum, the anniversary exhibition of “Studio 44” is ambitious and diverse. The exhibition was designed to give a comprehensive showcase of the company’s architecture in a whole number of ways: through video, models, drawings, installations, and finally, through a real-life project, the Enfilade, which the exhibition opens up, intensifies, and makes work the way it was originally intended.
A New Version of the Old City
The house at Malaya Ordynka, 19, fits in perfectly with the lineup of the street, looking even as if it straightened the street up a little, setting a new tone for it – a tone of texture, glitter, “sunny” warmth, and, at the same time, reserved balance of everything that makes the architecture of an expensive modern house.
Stepan Liphart: “Standing your ground is the right thing to do”
A descendant of German industrialists, “Jophan’s son”, and an architect, speaks about how studying architectural orders tempers one’s character, and how a team of just a few people can design grand-scale housing projects to be built in the center of Saint Petersburg. Also: Santa Claus appearing in a Stalin high-rise, an arch portal to the outer space, mannerism painting, and the palaces of Paris – all covered in an interview with Stepan Liphart.
Honey and Copper
In the Moscow area, the architect Roman Leonidov designed the “Cool House” residence, very much in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, spreading it parallel to the ground, and accentuating the horizontal lines in it. The color composition is based on juxtaposition of warm wood of a honey hue and cold copper blue.
The Ring on the Saisara Lake
The building of the Philharmonic Hall and the Theater of Yakut Epos, standing on the shore of the sacred lake, is inscribed into an epic circle and contains three volumes, reminiscent of the traditional national housing. The roof is akin to the Alaas – a Yakut village standing around a lake. In spite of its rich conceptual agenda, the project remains volumetrically abstract, and keeps up a light form, making the most of its transparency, multiple layers, and reflections.
Architecture of Evanescence
On the Vernadskogo Avenue, next to the metro station, appeared a high-rise landmark that transformed the entire area: designed by UNK Project, the “Academic” business center uncovered, in the form of its architecture, the meanings of the local place names.
The Theater and Music Circles
The contest-winning ambitious grand-scale project of the main theater and concert complex of the Moscow area includes three auditoriums, a yard – a public area – a higher school of music, and a few hotels. It promises to become a high-profile center for the classical music festivals on a national scale.
The Line of a Hardened Breakthrough
Designed by Stepan Liphart, the housing complex “Renaissance” continues the line of the historical center of Saint Petersburg, reinterpreting the Leningrad Art Deco and the neoclassical architecture of the 1930-50’s in reference to the civilization challenges posed by our century.
The Regeneration Experience
The housing project “Metsenat”, which occupies the area next to the Resurrection Church in Moscow’s Kadashi, has a long and complicated history, full of protests, victories, and hopes. Now the project is complete: the architects were able to keep the views, the scale, and a few historical buildings; we can examine the end result now. The project was developed by Ilia Utkin.