A bridge that looks like an ancient fish skeleton, an art object in the shape of a giant heart and no samovars or gingerbread – a contest project for improvement of the historical center of Tula from “4izmerenie”.
Written by: Alla Pavlikova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
A concept, meant to reanimate the historical center of Tula, has been developed within a contest initiated by the government of the Tula region. The architectural bureau “4izmerenie” was invited to participate as the winner of a recent competition of reconstruction projects for “Tulskaya” metro station in Moscow, where the architects demonstrated great respect for the history and culture of the city. The participants of the contest of improvement projects for public areas of Tula were expected to propose ideas for creating a pedestrian area along Soyuznaya Street and reconstruction of a pedestrian bridge across the Upa – the main river of the city, which crosses it from south-east to north-west. However, the architects of “4izmerenie” looked at the task in broader terms, and, along with the pedestrian track, they suggested a whole complex of solutions: for reconstruction and restoration of the city’s fabric, clever organization of traffic and pedestrian connections, as well as for arrangement of comfortable and open public spaces, parks, squares and embankments. The architects of “4izmerenie” won by popular vote on the website of Tula government and will implement their projects of Soyuznaya Street, the bridge and entrance to the park.
One has to admit that the small historical center of Tula looks rather sad today: old buildings and whole streets have deteriorated, some buildings have not been used for a long time, and wasteground appeared in places of completely lost landmarks. The existing public areas look untended and segmentary, there are practically no connections between them, and the city’s squares and pavements serve as improvised parking lots. Another problem is the shallowed and stagnant Upa, whose approaches were long closed for the citizens.
The designed territory, including the Tula Kremlin and the central city square, is a lot, bounded by an extended and irregular hoop of Sovetskaya Street on the one side, and by the embankment area of the river – on the other. Within the defined boundaries, the architects suggested arranging a continuous pedestrian route, meant to unite all the significant spots of the historical center.
Soyuznaya Street, leading to the Kremlin, became the main pedestrian boulevard in the project. Here, besides the complex embellishment – planting of trees and flowers, sidewalk paving and street furniture – the architects proposed to renovate the existing houses and fill the wasteground with low-rise buildings of new hotels and apartment units. A similar scenario was proposed for the most of the remaining streets of Tula’s central part, where the built-up density is rather low. In summer, the boulevard is to be full of life: tourists, bike riders, street cafés. In the project, traffic on the adjoining streets and lanes is one-way. Besides, having narrowed down the traffic area on Blagoveschenskaya Street, in Blagoveschensky, Soyuzny and Denisovskiy Lanes, the authors broadenned the sidewalks, thus findng room for bike paths, bushes and green lawns.
The boulevard of Soyuznaya street ends with Krestovozdvizhenskaya Square. Up until 1933, a baroque church stood in the middle of it (1776-1825). When it was demolished, the square was renamed Chelyuskintsev Square; then the original name was returned, but the square itself presents a traffic circle with a parking lot by Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin and the government house. The architects suggest recreating the Krestovozdvizhenskaya Church and turning the square into a pedestrian zone. Not far, on the corner of Revolyutsii and Mendeleeva streets, the architects plan to build the so-called “Narodny Dom” (“Community Hall”), which, by their design, should become the new cultural and educational center of Tula.
The key task of the project is to bring back the Upa river to the city. Bifurcating, the river forms a prolonged island at the north wall of the Kremlin, just like in Moscow or in Paris. However, despite the whole attractiveness of the riverside landscape, the embankment zone, built-up with industrial facilities, is completely fenced off. In the project, the riverbed is made wider and cleaned, and the riverside territories are vacated, and along the whole river, within the boundaries of the historical center, there is a landscape eco-garden with a beach, a boating station, green embankment, a wooden strand and recreational areas by the water. In winter, it can be turned into a big skating-rink.
Two pedestrian bridges are built across the river – they connect the pedestrian areas and embankments of the right and the left river-banks of the Upa. The new bridge, in place of the old Chulkovsky Bridge, was designed in the style proposed by the authors for Tulskaya metro station in Moscow. The constructions interpret the image of the Tula accordion, and from the distance, they remind a sceleton of giant fish. Despite the boldness of this solution, with this new bridge, which the authors called “Harmonic”, they aim to preserve the memory of this place, by using the remained substructions of the old ruined bridge at the foundation of the construction. The second “Harmonic Bridge” is planned to be built along the existing road bridge, extending the line of Sovetskaya Street. On the north-eastern bank, opposite the Kremlin, another green embankment is forming, and at a distance, the authors plan construction of a modern business quarter.
Having covered the whole historical part of Tula in their project, the architects also wondered, how they could link it with the P.P. Belousov Central Park and Arts Square in front of the park entrance. This link is to be achieved through sidewalks and bike-paths along Engels Street. Besides, the authors schedule an additional tramway stop by Arts Square, which is ntended to be the main scene of action. Currently blocked by auto barriers and occupied with cars, by design it should turn into a lively place. The parking lots are not eliminated – instead, they are placed along the perimeter, to vacate the central part for city programs and events. The square is equipped with transformer-platforms for competitions, concerts and festivals: in closed position they can serve as a base for installations and exhibitions. On weekends, the square can turn into a market, and in witer time – a skating rink.
The diagonal paving of Arts Square with built-in LED lighting indicates the entrance to the park. Its entrance area is an ensamble of four compact wooden pavilions, whose facades present large letters. From the side of the square, the letters form the word “park”, and from the park-side – the word “Tula”. Inside the pavilions, there are cash desks, bycicle rental, an info point and a souvenir shop. As for the park itself, the architects proposed to modernize and functionally enrich it, preserving its unique eco-system, the birch grove and woodland. The chief attraction of the park should be an art-object – a big heart made of metal and translucent elements. If you come closer, on the multiple facets and surfaces of the symbolic “heart” of Tula, you will find navigating screens, see the historical panoramas of the city, read various proverbs, sayings and stories about Tula, or learn about famous people born here.
The authors of the project admit, that they have explored Tula and came to love it. They find it a city with great potential and the future tourist gem of Central Russia. But the city has to be dealt with comprehensively, not selectively – the authors say. That is why they went far beyond the task of the contest and had a look at the city center in broader context, but at the same time – in detail.
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.
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.