The project of reconstructing the model-making workshop of the ZIL plant into a Mercedes-Benz and Audi dealership is unique even by the standards of the legendary complex. It is planned that the workshop will be restored using the elements of the dismantled building that was erected back in the 1930’s. It will become a part of the “ZIL’s Gate”, viewable from the Third Ring Road. In addition, this building will be the only one that will keep the “automotive” function – at least to some extent.
Written by: Lilya Aronova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
14 September 2017
The combined dealership of Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which is promising to become the largest one in Europe, is being built for the “Avilon” holding within the framework of “Park of Legends” cluster on the territory of the former ZIL automotive plant. Even by the ZIL standards, where today just about every project is a significant event in itself, this project of reconstructing the former model-making workshop will become, without exaggeration, an iconic one. First of all, unlike the other workshops under reconstruction, where the architects plan to organize theaters, shopping malls, and other public services, the model-making workshop is the only location in the legendary ensemble of soviet industrial architecture that will keep the memory of the former function of this place. It is this very building that, back in the day, saw new automobiles being designed, it is here that the final bodywork was done, and then the cars were forwarded to be retailed – even considering the embarrassing difference between the production of the Soviet and the German automotive industries, the continuity of tradition is obvious in this case.
And, second of all, in accordance with the master plan of the plant developed in 1933 by the “First Architecture and Design Workshop of Narkomtyazhprom” headed by the Vesnins brothers, the workshop building, stretching along the Avtozavodskaya Street (which is now in fact a segment of the Third Transport Ring), together with the instrumental workshop, served as the ZIL’s grand entrance. It is here that the plant’s central inner thoroughfare started that was formed by the buildings of the main workshops, each of which today bears the status of a monument of industrial constructivist architecture. Due to the fact that it was decided to leave the layout structure of the plant intact as an architectural heritage site, the ex-workshop will also retain its “grand entrance” function.
The original building of the workshop itself – just like most of the other constituent parts of the grandiose ensemble – did not survive into the present. A historian of architecture, Denis Romodin, notes: “Regretfully, the dilapidation of the building was significant because for the last 12 years it was out of operation, neither was it treated for preservation. Besides, the function of the workshop was always changing, and the last reconstruction that took place in the 1970’s proved fatal to the building’s framework. Strengthening of the framework and further operation of the building were impossible”.
After careful measurement taking, the structure was almost completely dismantled by laser cutting, its parts carefully stored here on the plant territory.
Kleinewelt Architekten was invited to take part in the competition for the project development already after the previous task was elaborated. The architects are planning to use as many as possible of the surviving elements integrating them to the structure of the new building. The technologies for that are really cutting-edge, and the architects are in for a huge piece of work assembling this “construction set”, which requires pinpoint accuracy, but the ultimate goal of recreating the historical building maximally true to life is worth it. The new project will essentially be a rectangular five-story building with a six-story protrusion of a pylon, on a level with which the architects are planning to build a mansard structure on top of the building.
The new Mercedes-Benz and Audi center will include showrooms, trade-in and service centers, and all this is going to be doubled without copying each other even in tiny details by any means – this was the necessary condition stipulated by the two competing brands. “We, of course, have the experience of complex negotiations with our clients, with subcontractors, and with approval boards – shares one of the authors of the project Nikolai Pereslegin – but what a really complicated dialogue look like, we have understood just recently, in the course of getting all the appropriate approvals from Stuttgart and Ingolstadt, where the headquarters of the two automakers are situated”. The competitors got separated by an impenetrable wall, and not in the figurative but in the most literal sense of the word: the two parts of the building are separated by a huge firewall, and one will only be able to get from one showroom to the other by getting outside. Not a single detail inside will be repeated: if, for example, on the Audi side at some place there is a staircase, on the Mercedes-Benz side it’s going to be an escalator, and so on, this rule allowing for no exception. The separation starts as early as on the façade which is vertically divided by a broad cutaway running from top to bottom; the entrance portals, although designed in a single style, sport contrastive colors corresponding to the colors of the logos of the two automotive giants.
As far as the interior design is concerned, the authors produced a whole range of possible scenarios, meant to showcase the cars to their best advantage to potential customers. The “Avilon” company attaches a lot of importance to showcasing its product in a grand manner – it is enough to remember the Mercedes-Benz dealership on the Volgogradsky Avenue designed by “Asadov Architectural Bureau”. The local specifics of ZIL consists also in the fact that thanks to a large area of glazing, the future showroom will be maximally open to the city, or, to be more precise, to the Third Transport Ring, a large highway, upon which (if there is no traffic jams) the cars race at a 100 km per hour. “In this situation, our project (which we called among ourselves “Where best cars belong”) will be perceived as a single whole, like some kind of sculpture – says Nikolai Pereslegin – At the same time, the driver’s gaze must have the time, while tearing down the highway, to get hooked on something amazing – like the smartly backlit silhouettes of relic and new cars”. According to the architects, such thematic installation behind the restored stained glass windows of the model-making workshop will be an adequate homage to the great past of this legendary site.
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.
The Northern Versailles
On the bank of the magnificent Vychegda River, in a picturesque location six kilometers away from Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi republic, the renowned neoclassical architect Mikhail Filippov has designed the town of Yugyd-Choi in the traditional aesthetics inspired by the center of St. Petersburg. The customer Elena Soboleva, the head of the Syktyvkar Housing Construction Fund, sees her mission in making Yugyd-Choi the hallmark of the republic.
Analysis and Synthesis
The project of the housing complex “Krasin”, designed for the historical center of St. Petersburg, and situated in a very obliging place – next to the Mining University designed by Voronikhin, yet bordering on an industrial area – became the result of a thorough analysis of the specifics of historical construction on the Vasilyevsky Island, and a subsequent synthesis with avoidance of direct stylization, yet forming a recognizable silhouette, resonant with the “old town”.
Tatiana Guk: “A document that determines the development of the city has to be flexible”
In this issue, we are talking to the director of the Genplan Institute of Moscow about trends that determine the future, about the 70-year history of the Institute, which is celebrating an anniversary this year, about electronic computing in the field of urban planning and about international experience accumulated in this area, as well as about how the Institute is involved with other cities, and about the perfect document for the city development, which has to be flexible and strategic.
The high-rise housing complex MOD, whose construction has begun in Moscow’s district of Maryina Roshcha next to the site, on which the new Russian Railways headquarters will be built, is responding to the “central” context of the future city surroundings, and at the same time is positioned by the architects as a “manifesto of Modernist minimalist principles in architecture”.
A project by DNK ag won in a competition for the science campus of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics in the city of Sarov, conducted by ROSATOM corporation in collaboration with the Moscow State University, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Kurchatov Institute.
The new terminal of the Leonov Airport in Kemerovo was built in record-breaking time, despite the pandemic. It became one of the important factors for the rapid development of the city, visually reflecting its dedication to the first spacewalk, both in the interiors and on the facades. Its main features are the “starry sky” effect and overall openness.
The Spiral Approach
The school building in the city of Nur-Sultan, designed by Vera Budko and Anton Nadtochiy from beginning to end – from concept to working documentation – became the embodiment of the architects’ method for creating a modern educational environment, which the ATRIUM architects have been developing for years. Its fundamentals include creating an inspiring environment that motivates you to create. This is why the new school received a shape of an ornamental golden spiral that symbolizes ascension to knowledge; on the inside, the building is a compound and multifunctional “city within a city” with multilevel atriums, amphitheaters, and varying routes.
Stream and Lines
Stepan Liphart’s projects of Art Deco villas demonstrate technical symbolism in combination with a subtle reference to the 1930s. One of the projects is a “paper” one; the others are designed for real customers: a top manager, an art collector, and a developer.
On the Bank of a Very Quiet River
The project of landscaping the territory of the residential complex NOW in Moscow’s Nagatinskaya Valley goes beyond the limits of its task and looks more like a modern park: with viewing platforms, an embankment, spaces different in their moods, and thought-out scenarios for visitors aged between 0 and 80.
The Strategy of Transformation
In this article, we are publishing eight projects of reconstructing postwar Modernist buildings that have been implemented by Tchoban Voss Architekten and showcased in the AEDES gallery at the recent Re-Use exhibition. Parallel to that, we are meditating on the demonstrated approaches and the preservation of things that architectural legislation does not require to preserve.