The contest project that the “Gran” firm prepared for the Malaya Trubetskaya Street in Moscow is based on the author’s vision of what a club house may look like amidst dense and high-profile surroundings. The two units are designed as volumetric frames of apartments overlooking the park.
Written by: Translated by: Anton Mizonov
06 April 2017
This land site, located in the very midst of the Khamovniki District, right across from the Mandelstam Park and the Trubetskoy Estate, is definitely a spot for which a lot of architects would love to design – but one which needs to be “showcased” in the right way. Literally the next but one project is the “Sadovye Kvartaly” (“Garden Quarters”) housing complex with its modern and vivid architecture, quickly developing infrastructure, and high-quality living environment that promises every comfort in the world to its inhabitants: a creek, a landscaped in-block area, and multilevel green yards. How can one possibly hold its own against such a gorgeous neighbor and its exuberant lifestyle? Only aristocratic existence as a mansion inside a members-only “club” – and, given the small allowable square footage and height, a club house becomes pretty much the obvious choice by default. In this case, the developer sells not so much square footage as the housing format: the bliss of solitude in the center of the city. And, if we are to draw a parallel between a densely populated city block and a bustling “royal court”, then the club house may definitely claim the status of a “royal residence”.
The “royal residence” must, of course, offer every comfort as well: a swimming pool, a fitness center, and retail zones which could cater for the residents’ needs and – at the expense of the rent pay – the maintenance costs as well. Even the range of apartment plans does not matter that much in such a situation, although no one can reproach the project for its “unthought-out” apartment plans. First of all, however, the architecture must live up to its format, and the “retinue” that makes the “king”.
Thus, the developer announced a competition – also of a “club” type, i.e. a closed competition for selected companies. What became the “membership charge” was a serious, although habitual for any architect, task: the dense surroundings set forth strict requirements in terms of lighting, insulation, and visual properties. In order to meet these requirements and at the same time organize a convenient driving access to the building, the “Gran” architects developed the elongated site depth-wise, designing the building in the form of two volumes that are shifted in respect to one another to such extent that they almost do not overlap with or obscure each other. At the same time, the further unit is 5 stories taller (13 as opposed to 8) and is connected to the closer one with a single-story podium. In addition to all the public, maintenance, and management premises, including the sales office and a swimming pool, this podium also contains a spacious entrance lobby.
On the outside, the entrance zone is just as spacious and is covered by a powerful cantilevered structure. This large cantilever – which has already become part of the “signature style” of the leader of this firm, Pavel Andreev – also covers both the closest entrance from the Trubetskaya Street, one that leads to the office part, and the glass doors which are hidden in the depth of the podium and lead to the private and main residential parts of the complex. One can drive up here, exiting from the Trubetskaya Street and driving along the side end of the neighboring “wavy” building. And, moving in the same direction and turning left, one will find himself at the entrance to the underground parking garage.
On one side, the building borders on the HQ of the Aleksey Vorontsov bank, a building erected in the early 1990’s. And the “wavy” house is nothing other than the comparatively new housing project by Sergey Tkachenko, the result of his creative search of the 2000’s. These neighbors are also pretty far from “modest”. However, according to Pavel Andreev, the only way he responded to their architecture was design most of the apartments in such a way that they only “look” upon these two buildings with their kitchens and bedrooms. The living rooms, on the other hand, command park views – virtually the way it is done on New York’s Manhattan. From the opposite side, the windows... also overlook a park – the one that does not exist yet but which the architect asks the developer to make.
Thus, the usable roof of the podium is chiefly about caring about the upper residents. Nevertheless, the exits to the roof and the green landing are provided from both residential sections and the entrance lobby. The windows that overlook the improvised park are located no less than 2.5 meters above the roof level, so those who love to roam the roofs will not disturb the residents in any way. But then again, the true fans of “walking up high” will be sure to choose one of the penthouses that crown each of the units. These two include covered private terraces, full of air and sunlight, even though, when viewed from the outside, they look like regular floors with panoramic windows.
This is basically the way with this building: following the “seclusion” principle, the authors packed into a “laconic” box all the numerous functions, technical solutions (including the staircases, underground equipment, and the equipment in the top penthouse part), and the conceptual meanings as well, come right down to it. But they did it in such a way that the insides show through now and then – through unexpectedly elegant ornaments on the framing that show through when the backlighting is on (these can be both metallic panels and Corian bands); through protruding balconies appearing now and then on the sides, through hatches in the terraces’ roofs, which let trees out and let the sky back pouring in.
The Chinese Symphony
The construction of the Chinese center “Huaming Park” has been a long story that came to fruition relatively recently. The building is adjacent to a traditional Chinese garden, but it is very modern, laconic and technological, and the simple-in-form, yet spectacular, white lamellae promise to someday be incorporated as a media facade. This complex is also truly multifunctional: it contains different types of living spaces, offices, a large fitness center, conference halls and restaurants – all wrapped in one volume. You can comfortably hold international forums in it, having everything you may possibly need at your fingertips, and going outside only to take a walk. In this article, we are examining this complex in detail.
Ensemble of Individualities
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Black and Red
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The Mastery of Counterpoint
In the sculpture of Classical Greece, counterpoint was first invented: the ability to position the human body as if it were about to take a step, imbuing it with a hint of the energy of future movement, and with hidden dynamics. For architecture, especially in the 20th century and now, this is also one of the main techniques, and the ATRIUM architects implement it diligently, consistently – and always slightly differently. The new residential complex “Richard” is a good example of such exploration, based on the understanding of contrasts in the urban environment, which was fused into the semblance of a living being.
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In memory of Jean-Louis Cohen
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On the Hills
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The Magic Carpet
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A Copper Step
Block 5, designed by ASADOV architects as part of the “Ostrov” (“Island”) housing complex, is at the same time grand-scale, conspicuous thanks to its central location – and contextual. It does not “outshout” the solutions used in the neighboring buildings, but rather gives a very balanced implementation of the design code: combining brick and metal in light and dark shades and large copper surfaces, orthogonal geometry on the outside and flexible lines in the courtyard.
The Light for the Island
For the first time around, we are examining a lighting project designed for a housing complex; but then again, the authors of the nighttime lighting of the Ostrov housing complex, UNK lighting, proudly admit that this project is not just the largest in their portfolio, but also the largest in this country. They describe their approach as a European one, its chief principles being smoothness of transitions, comfort to the eye, and the concentration of most of the light at the “bottom” level – meaning, it “works” first of all for pedestrians.
Spots of Light
A new housing complex in Tyumen designed by Aukett Swanke is a very eye-pleasing example of mid-rise construction: using simple means of architectural expression, such as stucco, pitched roofs, and height changes, the architects achieve a “human-friendly” environment, which becomes a significant addition to the nearby park and forest.
Ledges and Swirls
The housing complex “Novaya Zarya” (“New Dawn”) designed by ASADOV Architects will become one of the examples of integrated land development in Vladivostok. The residential area will be characterized by various typologies of its housing sections, and a multitude of functions – in addition to the social infrastructure, the complex will include pedestrian promenades, shopping malls, office buildings, and recreational facilities. The complex is “inscribed” in a relief with a whopping 40-meter height difference, and overlooks the Amur Bay.
Agglomeration on an Island
Recently, an approval came for the master plan of the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk agglomeration, which was developed by a consortium headed by the Genplan Institute of Moscow. The document provides for the creation of 12 clusters, the totality of which will give the region a qualitative leap in development and make the island more self-sufficient, more accessible, and less dependent on the mainland. We are inviting you to examine the details.
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Grasping and Formulating
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The White Tulip
Currently, there are two relevant projects for the Great Cathedral Mosque in Kazan, which was transferred to a land site in Admiralteiskaya Sloboda in February. One of them, designed by TsLP, was recently showcased at Arch Moscow. In this article, we are covering another project, which was proposed during the same period for the same land site. Its author is Aleksey Ginzburg, the winner of the 2022 competition, but now the project is completely different. Today, it is a sculptural “flower” dome symbolizing a white tulip.
The architectural company ATRIUM opened a gallery of its own in a metaverse. Inside, one can examine the company’s approach and main achievements, as well as get some emotional experience. The gallery is already hosting cyberspace business meetings and corporate events.
From Darkness to Light
Responding to a lengthy list of limitations and a lengthy – by the standards of a small building – list of functions, Vladimir Plotkin turned the project of the Novodevichy Monastery into a light, yet dynamic statement of modern interpretation of historical context, or, perhaps, even interpretation of light and darkness.
Modernism in Avant-Garde
The contest proposal that Studio 44 made for the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet Theater is bright in all senses, and in many ways even provocative – just like a modern theater performance should be. Being in context with modern culture, it even shocks you in some respects. At first, you are amazed at the red color that is present all around, and then you gradually make sense of the picturesque congregation of volumes that share a multitude of functions. And it’s only later that you realize that this conglomerate conceals a modernist building, most of which the architects save intact.
The Black Mountain
The project of reconstructing the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet theater developed by Wowhaus, which won the competition, proposed a total demolition and new construction, as well as considerable expansion (up to 8 floors) – and transformable multifunctional spaces. The new project, however, does retain the recognizable elements and the image of the old theater. As for the main spectator hall, it is turned – figuratively speaking, of course – into a semblance of a black volcano.
Recently, Moscow saw the presentation of a project by Yuri Grigoryan, devoted to turning the truck garage on Novoryazanskaya Street, designed by Konstantin Melnikov, into the Museum of Moscow Transport. The project involves restoring the monument of architecture, adding a new underground floor and a new entrance, as well as a whole park. The implementation is already underway.
Houses by the Lakeside
Approvals came for the project of a housing complex that DNK ag designed in Kazan. The complex is low-rise; its sections are designed as separate volumes united by a common podium. Everything is very much like DNK: delicate and sometimes even lyrical, especially where the yard meets the lakeshore.
In Novosibirsk, the construction of a school has been completed, whose project is standing every chance to set a new standard for the nation’s educational institutions. SVESMI Architects and Brusnika company started by developing the brief that would answer the modern teaching practices, and then they proposed the optimum plan, versatile classrooms, and reserved, yet expressive, image in the spirit of this Amsterdam alliance.
An 800-room hotel complex, designed by Ginzburg Architects, offers the seaside city of Anapa a fragment of well-organized urban environment that keeps up the cultural spirit of the place. The architects break away from traditional white facades, turning to the antique and even archaic periods of the history of this land, and drawing inspiration in the color of red clay and simple, yet lightweight, shapes.
In Plumage Colors
Working on the facades of a mid-rise residential area in Odintsovsky district, GENPRO architects “adjusted” a number of features of the volumetric composition, which they received without the right to make any changes to, by purely “decorative” means, such as ornamental brickwork, including glazed bricks and the rhythm of the windows. Interestingly, the starting point in the search for the color code was the plumage of birds that are found in the Moscow region.
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One of the largest housing projects of today’s Moscow – the “Ostrov” (“Island”) housing complex built by Donstroy – is now being actively built in the Mnevniky Floodplain. They are planning to build about 1.5M square meters of housing on an area of almost 40 hectares. We are beginning to examine this project– first of all, we are talking to Julius Borisov, the head of the architectural company UNK, which works with most of the residential blocks in this grand-scale project, as well as with the landscaping part; the company even proposed a single design code for the entire territory.
A Balanced Solution
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A Multi-Faced Grotto
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