Located in the very heart of Kiev’s residential area “Comfort Town”, the complex “Academy of Modern Education” includes a kindergarten, a junior high school, and a dedicated art school. In this project, Archimatika came up with architecture that answers to the high tempo of metropolitan life and addresses many of everyday challenges that modern parents are confronted with.
Written by: Anna Starostina Translated by: Anton Mizonov
22 February 2017
“To me, this is a very personal project – says one of the cofounders of Archimatika, Alexander Popov – my parents, who were also architects, would always ask me for advice when they did a project that had to do with children one way or another. I was very happy because I felt that my parents could make my life better and more interesting. And now it was important for me to build such a school that I would be happy to have my son to go to, making his life more eventful. Which is how it ended up happening: every day I bring him here, and I am happy that I do”.
The “high-profile” name of “Academy of Modern Education” stands up to the ambitions of the developer and the architects. While working on this advanced housing project in Kiev, they of course, studied the situation with the educational institutions in this area. The state-run schools and kindergartens, which were ready to accept children from the Comfort Town, were situated not really near, and it was decided to create for the little ones a dedicated infrastructure inside the city block, allotting a land plot in its center, equally accessible to the residents of Comfort Town, and all the residents of the nearby neighborhoods. Originally, the company “KAN Development” was planning to hand the school over to the city, but the municipality had to refrain from accepting the transfer of ownership, referring to the tight budget and the stipulated, for years to come, schedule of putting new projects into operation. Then, in spite of the difficult economic situation, and in spite of the absence of a well-established tradition of payable junior education, the company decided to take a chance and launch a commercial project. Essentially, all of these “givens” defined the structure and the organization of the new private school.
The residential area Comfort Town on the Regeneratorskaya Street consists of multicolored houses under double-pitched roofs, from 6 to 16 stories high. The educational complex is lower in, only 2-3 stories high. It gives the architects an opportunity to make a peculiar “pause”, adding some air into otherwise dense construction, at the same time taking into account its parceling – it consists of volumes that are proportional to the surrounding houses. There are also a few independent volumes of different sizes. Every building in this block is completely individual and each block of the educational center got an individual design solution. “Public buildings must become centers of new residential areas – Aleksey Popov claims – while in the case of residential construction we were constrained by the choice of materials (we had to take into account the possibility of serial production of building materials, and the budget was initially constricted), the academic building lent itself to more expensive materials and more sophisticated design solutions that offset the modesty of the façade design of the residential buildings”.
The kindergarten for 160 children, the junior high school for 140 students, and the art school visually constitute independent volumes, yet at the same time functionally they are a single organism. The idea was that the parents could bring their children here in the morning and take them back in the evening after work. At the same time, teachers assigned to each class or group will take their students after the lessons are over to individual classes that they select: foreign languages, chess, singing, painting, Lego, dancing, football, music, robotic science, gymnastics, and lots of other clubs. The dream of any modern parent is to be able to work undisturbed, without being interrupted in the middle of a business meeting, at the same time without curbing his or her child’s interests and without limiting the child’s possibilities.
This merger also allowed the architects to pay much more attention to various auxiliary functional zones, thus raising the quality of infrastructure. For example, the mixed-use gym and the spacious auditorium, necessary for the operation of all divisions, got decent modern equipment, which would have been impossible had they been equipped as two separate units. A kindergarten alone or a school alone could not afford it. For this same reason, the complex got a full-fledged medical center which also serves the “outside” patients, at the same time providing qualified medical assistance to the students. Both streams are, of course, spaced apart. The kitchen also gets quite a load during the day, and therefore it is well equipped. Part of the bar counter of the café even sticks out to the lobby giving the parents an opportunity to visit together and snatch a quick cup coffee. And, finally, on the evenings and on the weekends the grownups can also come here to play volleyball or to dance. As a result, the load and the efficiency of the center’s operation is practically at its maximum.
Alexander Popov is positive that investing in education is the right and noble thing to do: “Of course, this project can hardly generate tremendous revenue but to bring a decent return on investment and generally be successful – why not? The Soviet system of “Pioneer Palaces” (this is how centers for children’s extracurricular activities were called back then) is practically nonexistent now, and we need to be developing new formats answering today’s demand for development and socialization of children. You can say that I am too self-assured but the architect’s role in this matter is really important. The architectural environment ultimately defines the behavior of teachers and children alike. Of course, a lot depends on the specific teacher, specific principle or even specific chef, but if a school is more like military barracks, then everyone will have a hard time trying to overcome the gloomy and oppressive environment. So the main question that we kept asking ourselves when working on this project was: what can architects do to light a fire in the hearts of our children, to evoke in them the thirst for learning, mutual respect, and empathy?”
Vladimir Plotkin: “Our profession is complex, vulnerable, and sometimes defenseless against...
As part of the editorial project devoted to the high-rise and high-density construction that Moscow is seeing in recent years, we spoke to the leading architect of CU Reserve Vladimir Plotkin, the author of many grand-scale – and high-profile – buildings of this city. We spoke about an architect’s role and his tasks in the mega-construction process, about the drive of the megalopolis, about the strong sides of mixed and multifunctional construction, and about the methods of organizing big forms.
Alexander Kolontai: “The competition revealed the potential of Moscow as a global city”
An interview with the deputy director of the Genplan Institute of Moscow about the international competition for the concept of development of the nation’s capital and the territories that it annexed in 2012. The competition took place 10 years ago, and this year we are seeing its anniversary, just as the anniversary of changing the boundaries of the capital city.
The Book Sanctuary
Reconstructed and renovated by Studio 44, the building of Vladimir Mayakovsky Public Library received modern technical content, at the same time becoming closer to its authentic image from the times when it was part of the compound of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.
Foothills and Peaks
Developed by OSA, the concept of revitalization of the territory of Stankoagregat plant combines two scales: extreme-high towers and relatively “human-friendly” urban villas. In the conditions of ultra-dense construction, this solution makes it possible to vacate territories for public spaces and trees, as well as adapt the project for the conditions of the changing market.
City in the Stream
The books by Genplan Institute of Moscow, published for the Institute’s 70th anniversary and for the coinciding exhibition, are the most amazing three-volume edition that I ever saw: the books are totally different, yet packed in one box. This, on the other hand, is justified by the specifics of each of the volumes, the diversity of approaches to processing information used in them, and the complexity of the material as such: town planning is a multifaceted science, bordering on art.
Stop the [special operetion]!
The collective letter Russian architects was published here the 26.02.2022. Now, 04.03.2022, it's text is edited according the new law of the Russian Federation. All the signatures, more than 6800, are deleted, as well as weblinks. But we coserved the edited text for the history.
Shape of the Winery
In this article, we are telling you more about the development of the shape and the implementation of the “Skalisty Bereg” (“Rocky Shore”) winery, designed by Alexander Balabin and his company “Severin-Project” in the Krasnodar Territory, and one of the finalists of WAF 2021.
An Architectural Reality Show
Roman Leonidov, the well-known architect of luxury countryside residences, about which Archi.ru repeatedly wrote, launched a new online project called “Build YOUR House” on his YouTube channel.
Buyan and the Court Quarter
The news about cancellation of the Tuchkov Buyan park has been stirring the minds of people of St. Petersburg for a week already. In the absence of any verified specific information, we discussed the situation with the architects of the park and the Court Quarter: Nikita Yavein and Evgeny Gerasimov.
The Possibility of Flight
The project of the airport, which ASADOV Architects developed for the city of Tobolsk, and which won in the architectural competition, was not implemented. However, it is interesting as an example of designing an airport building of a very small scale, where the main challenge is the optimal organization of space and infrastructure without compromising the imagery component.
Built in the town of Pushkino in the Moscow area, the “Turgeneva 13” housing complex, while fitting in with the surrounding context, differs from it with the rhythmic austerity of its dual composition, a slight wave of the façade, and the color design, in which one can see two images, winter and summer, both “growing” from the specifics of the place.
A Shell by the Sea
Designing the Sports Palace that will determine the development of the entire northern part of Derbent, ASADOV Architects turned to the architectural legacy of Dagestan, local lore, and ancient layers of history.
Karen Saprichyan is wishing everyone a merry Christmas, presenting a series of letter-shaped skyscrapers. The architect has long since been working on this theme, and has calendars of various years in stock. His latest development is a group of towers designed for the city of NEOM, which will be built in Saudi Arabia.
The three brick blocks of the “River Park” housing complex gaze at the water with their terraces. Each block forms a backdrop and two wings, while the residents-only yards turn into “stages” perceived from the river. The landscaped embankment, accessible to all the city people, complements the hierarchy of private, semi-private and public city life that is formed here.
Pompidou Inside Out
Renzo Piano and his GES-2 have already been compared to Ridolfo Aristotele Fioravanti and his Cathedral of the Assumption. And for a good reason: GES-2 also stuns you with its grace and loftiness, but ultimately turns out to be the richest collection of recognizable motifs from an early masterpiece by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the George Pompidou Center in Paris. These motifs are fused into the grid of Shukhov-esque structures, painted white, and they create a dialogue between 1910, 1971, and 2021, built on references (not devoid of a poster-like quality) to the main masterpiece. The basilica-shaped space of the former power station is taken apart virtually just like the museum, in accordance with the concept by Teresa Mavica.
Next to Lidval and Nobel
The housing complex designed by Anatoly Stolyarchuk in Neishlotsky Alley: tactful change of scale, tribute to the memory of the place, Finnish additions to the functional typology – specifically, saunas in the apartments – and plans for receiving a BREEAM certificate.
And stabbed it with a knife
The leader of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Wolf D. Prix, presented three projects that he is currently doing in Russia: a complex in Sevastopol, Crimea, which, as it turned out, a western architect could build bypassing the sanctions, because this is a cultural project; a museum and theater center in Kemerovo, and the “SKA Arena”, which is built in the stead of the destroyed Sports and Concert Complex in St. Petersburg – during the presentation the latter was symbolized by a round cake that the architect eventually cut.
The Thin Matter
The house named “Medny 3.14” (“Copper 3.14”) is composed of two textures, each of which resembles in its own way some kind of precious fabric, and of three units, each of which is oriented towards one cardinal point. The architecture of the house absorbs the nuances of the context, summing them up and turning them into a single rhythmic structure. In this article, we are examining the new, just-completed, house designed by Sergey Skuratov in Donskaya Street.
The new business center built in Moscow’s district of Presnya in the 1st Zemelny Lane is all about technology and sustainability. Its streamlined shapes and white facade grid are combined with a new version of vertical greenery: the green of wild grapes, placed at a distance from the facade, instead of arguing with the “pergola” grid, sets it off by contrast.
Lightness of Being
Blooming Sakura, a campfire party, kids splashing in a swimming pool – no, these are not pictures from a vacation, but everyday life going on in the yards of Kiev’s housing complex “Fayna Town”. In this issue, we are examining how the utopia designed by the architects is wired, and what they did to make it a reality.
A Triangular Folded Structure
The project of the new terminal of the Muraviev-Amursky airport in Blagoveshchensk offers architecture based on a modular form – endowed with a special imagery, it becomes the basis both for the carrying structures of the building and the plastique of the facade, at the same time reverberating in the interior design.
The Breath of the East
Designing a residential complex for Tashkent, GENPRO is turning to traditional architecture and modern trends, aiming at emotionality and efficiency: the panjar window lattices and mishrabias are neighboring on vertical greenery and parametric ornaments, while the theme buildings do on a cotton alley and an oriental bazaar.
The Openwork XX-Construction Set
The yard of the Architecture Museum on Moscow’s Vozdvizhenka hosts an installation by DNK ag. It is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the company, and was originally presented at Arch Moscow. The art object is expected to stay in the yard of the museum for one year and set a new tradition – a regularly renewed exhibition project called “Modern Architecture in the yard of MUAR”.
The Spinning Vibe
The pavilion designed by Sergey Tchoban for the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai is a bright and integral architectural statement, whose imagery can be traced back to avant-garde graphic experiments by Jacob Chernikhov, but allows for multiple interpretations. The pavilion looks both like a dome temple, a spinning “Planet Russia”, and the head of a matryoshka doll. Still more interestingly, the core of the exposition is a “brain”. In this article, we take a closer look at the interpretations and the subtleties of the implementation.
Tolerant Aesthetics of Terraforming
The World Expo is a gigantic event; it is difficult to give it one definition or cover it at a glance. All the more so – such an ambitious and record-breaking fair as the one that is now open in Dubai despite all the pandemic restrictions. By no means claiming to present an all-rounded review, we are making an attempt to examine Expo 2020, where signs of aesthetic tolerance of a developer project begin to loom behind the imposing-looking “wings” of “star” architects and delights from space exploration.
The Town in the Snuff-box
The new academic building of Cooperation School in Moscow’s Taganka, designed and built by ASADOV Architects, is a compact volume, at the same time filled with functions and impressions. It easily combines classrooms, a theater, a cafeteria, a gym, and a double-height atrium with an open library and an exit to the terrace – virtually everything that you expect to see in a modern school.