По-русски

An Ornament without Prejudices

Unlike most houses belonging to the so-called elite market sector and designed in pseudo-classical style, “Residence in Vsevolozhsky” has been planned in the spirit of art deco.

Written by:
Marya Snejinskaya
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

16 March 2016
Object
mainImg

Since the times of the construction boom, new projects in the district of Ostozhenka – under the code-name “Golden Mile” – are fairly rare. There are almost no spare land sites left, and demolishing one of the historic monuments of 18-19 centuries set here with an incredible density has long become not as easy as it had been at the time of the Council of Ministers: then whole blocks of “slum dwelling” were replaced with new brick and even modular prefab houses.   

However, as it turned out, there are still some hidden reserves: in the first lane from the center, between Ostozhenka and Prechistenka, on the territory, which two centuries ago was occupied by the mansion house of Vsevolozhskiy family, they found a building of 1980's constructed for an electric substation of an automatic telephone station, and which has been deserted in the recent years. It fell into the hands of “Leader-Invest” company which specializes in residential real estate of upper-middle class. Besides, in this case, the format was imposed by the location itself: a compact land-lot with a view on Kremlin and the surrounding architectural monuments from the 18th up to the 21st centuries. It was decided to build a clubhouse in Vsevolzhsky lane 5.   

Generally speaking, the epoch when clubhouses were popular in Moscow downtown area, is already in the past. The demand for madly expensive living area in houses with no more than 30 apartments after two last crises has notably decreased. So the task of the architects of Mezonproject bureau was larger than just a design of a six-storey house with 21 apartments on a patch of land of a bit more than 0.1 hectares. On the one hand, the house had to comply with all the generally accepted standards of “elite dwelling”, and on the other – stand out from the similar buildings and possess competitive advantages.

“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Main facade © Mezonproject
“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Master plan © Mezonproject


First of all, the architects provided for spaces between the new object and the firewalls of the neighboring houses. In the early 20th century, when the both neighbor-houses were built, it was decided to adjoin the houses to each other for space saving purposes, and the Soviet automatic telephone station was constructed in the same manner. In this case, it had been done differently and the architects consider that this solution will do good: “We have let the sunlight in a dark lane on the north of the building – tells Ilya Mashkov. – Now the sun will get inside through the gaps, and the building itself will make a better impression, because this way, we’ve got the end facades and used the corners to their better effect”.

“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Development drawings © Mezonproject


The second step of Mezonproject was to choose the stylistics of the future house: as it is known, developers of elite dwelling prefer more or less averaged historicism, but in this case, having dwelled upon the original variants of interpretations of more plastic modern, the architects suggested to the client ornamented art-deco. Chief architect of Moscow, Sergey Kuznetsov, supported them in this matter and noted during the consideration of the project, that richly decorated architecture is very much in the spirit of the capital. The main thing is to conform with all the stylistic canons and properly elaborate all the details.    

So, the architects focused on the details. The outer walls of the building are variegated with geometric ornaments: in some places, they will be cut into surfaces of natural travertine, in others, engraved on copper sheets, and in some places, they will be encrusted in oak panels. Alongside with the unparalleled depth of the stone processing which is available thanks to modern technologies, ornamental panels of copper alloys play a great role in creating the decorative image. The architects emphasize their noble color, closer to bronze, without the reddishness. In time, they are supposed to age beautifully, turning dark and covering with patina. Decorating the framings of the windows and French balconies, these copper panels will take up 15% of the whole wall surface.

“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Main facade © Mezonproject


“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Fragment of the main facade © Mezonproject


“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Fragment of the facade with a section view © Mezonproject

      
Another dominating feature of the facades along the lane will be the entrance lobbies. The main entrance with the special emblem of the house hanging above the door is made slightly pushed inside, whereas the stone carved framing is, on the contrary, projected forward. On top of it, almost by the upper cornice, is another indispensable attribute of a clubhouse, besides the emblem: a copper plate with the construction year written in Roman numbers. There will also be an entrance into the underground parking garage from the side of the front façade.

“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Main facade © Mezonproject
   

It should be mentioned here that there is almost no historical art deco architecture in Moscow. Researchers compare this style with the architecture of the early Stalin period of the 1930s. Hints of art deco are found in the works of Aleksey Dushkin, in the interiors of Kropotkinskaya and Mayakovskaya metro stations, but the Moscow variant of the style is more austere, and historically quickly transfers into renaissance decoration a la Zholtovsky. The rich art deco with the use of ornaments as such (almost of any origin, for example, Egyptian or styled geometrical) gradually appeared in Moscow in 2000-s, even though not very often, due to the same orders for clubhouses.

At the same time, the authors managed to fit into the context: both the closest geographical and historical ones. Looking from Prechistenka, the rows of metal-framed three-edged bay-windows present a paraphrase of the corner protrusion of Kostyakova’s house, famous for the fact that professor Preobrazhensky bought some Krakow sausage here. The bay-windows build up a shadow of the 1910s building multiplied by six. Their purpose is to include the house into the rhythm of this small but very complete part of the city.

“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Main facade. View from the Prechistemka Street © Mezonproject

 
Its predecessor, the automatic telephone station, looked completely different. And yet, its façade that appeared in the period of 80s modernism mixed with classic, in its own way reflected the wish of its authors to fit in context of the street. The rhythm of its white-stone facades was strictly vertical, and by the way, not foreign to ideas of art deco. The image was completed with a line of golden inserts in the upper part, turning the pragmatic industrial building into a jewelry box. Sure, in the 80s no one could have the opportunity to get the jewelry box idea into shape, but now, comparing the two tasks, it may seem that the clubhouse has “grown through” its predecessor, moving the dense verticals apart with its bay-windows, enriching it with metal and carving, preserving the familiarity of elevation marks and partly the color, rhythm, and the contours of the facade structure where the entrance used to be marked with a canopy, and now, has turned into a portal. This is what forms historical continuity: the residents of the house might know nothing about it, but it may be very important for the city.

The yard façade is more modest. The tall windows of two staircase risalits “open up” the steps and remind of constructivist methods; however the cutting on the framings brings us back to the ornamented style. The architects plan to arrange a winter garden in the part of the lobby adjoining the yard. This will unite the house with its little garden and partly compensate for the small size of it (600 m2): it could not be otherwise with the automatic telephone station which was classified as an industrial building. Nevertheless, according to the project, the yard will place a comfortable closed green zone that will not only offer place for the residents to walk and play with children among lawns, flowerbeds and bushes. Full-fledged play- and sports-grounds for which the given area does not suffice, will be replaced by cozy areas equipped for active recreation.       

“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Main facade © Mezonproject


In the cold season, you will not even have to go outside: the architects preliminarily schedule a club library and a wine bar on both sides of the double-high entrance vestibule. At one point, the developer was inclined to succumb to a fashionable trend and invite a western “star” to decorate them. But eventually, it was considered that the project turns out to be quite outstanding as it is. So, the interiors of all the public areas, including the parking lot, a lounge for drivers and an animal care room, is being developed by the architects of Mezonproject – and once again, with elements of art deco. The floors in front rooms will be made of natural stone, the coffered ceiling – covered with stuccowork and the walls – with decorative plaster and stained glass a la Lalique.      

3d up to 6th floor apartments will be sold undecorated: the Russian experience of working with clubhouses shows that “imposed” interiors are not very popular among potential buyers. Apartment areas vary from 100 plus to almost 250 m2. The layouts allow to buy and unite several apartments on one floor. Windows in every apartment face two or three sides, and the most impressive views can be seen from the penthouses on the top floor: here, the Conception Convent, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and even the towers of Kremlin spread out before you.

Rare panoramas and location, flexible apartment layout, advanced vital service systems and developed infrastructure – all these features are typical for a clubhouse format. “Residence in Vsevolzhsky” can be distinguished by the effort to fit the urban environment – which has a rare integrity for Moscow – and simultaneously draw attention with its ornamental uniqueness that is meant to make the “carved jewelry box” both rich and special. This is significant for a house of this class, especially in the time of the economic recession.  
“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Plan of the ground floor © Mezonproject
“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Plan of the 1st floor © Mezonproject
“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Plan of the typical floor © Mezonproject
“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Section view © Mezonproject
“Residence in Vsevolozhsky”. Section view © Mezonproject


16 March 2016

Written by:

Marya Snejinskaya
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​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.
Health Constructor
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.
Color and Line
The new successful techniques developed by A.Len for designing a kindergarten under budget constraints: the mosaic of irregular windows and working with color.
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 Countdown
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.
White Town
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.
Pedagogical Architecture
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.
​Rational Arrangement
In this article, we are examining a complex of buildings and interiors of the first stage of the project that has recently become extremely popular – the Kommunarka clinic.
​Parallel Universe
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.
​Breakwater
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.
​Waves of Sound
The conceptual design of a music school: proximity to an Alvar Aalto building, expressive organics, and an attempt to draw public attention to a “low-profile” competition.
​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.
​Wicker Vitality
Next to the Dubrovka metro station, ADM has designed a Vitality housing complex with a polychrome mixture of Klinker brick on its ridged facades.
​Freedom Factory
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.
The Terraces of the Crystal Cape
Proposed by Nikita Yavein, the concept of a museum, educational, and memorial complex to be built in the city of Sevastopol avoids straightforward accents and over-the-top dramatics, interpreting the history of this place along with the specifics of its landscape, and joining the public space of the operated stairway and amphitheaters with an imposing monument.