​Re-cultivation of the City Center

The project of reorganizing the embankment in the center of Tula helps the city to recover the hundred-year-old complex that has been revised with regard to the principles of modern urban planning.

Alla Pavlikova Julia Tarabarina

Written by:
Alla Pavlikova, Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

11 September 2017

North of the Tula Kremlin, there is an island that looks very much like Moscow’s Sadovniki, only slightly smaller: a little over a kilometer long. It was upon this island that the first Tula’s fortress was founded, which is proven by the old maps. Ivan III carried it over to the left bank of the Upa River, i.e. to the mainland, and Basil III rebuilt it in brick; currently, this is the city’s main heritage site. 200 years after the island was “vacated”, Peter the Great founded the Royal Small Arms Factory here, which has been successfully operating ever since. In the XX century, its buildings occupied the whole island, and the factory annexed the Kazanskaya Embankment – the left bank of the Upa River next to the Kremlin. The boundary of the plant locked on with the wall of the Kremlin – arguably, this is the closest vicinity ever of a medieval fortress and an industrial park. 

The Tula Small Arms Factory gave up to the city 12 hectares of its land but the project provides for the riverbed of the Upa as well. It was planned that the riverbed would be cleaned, deepened and filled with water, thus turning into a channel about 10 meters wide with an adjustable intake of water. The strip of land that for decades accumulated the industrial waste was to be re-cultivated and turned into a recreational area. All of this must make a positive difference to the ecology of the city center.

The Kremlin wall steps away from the river the furthest at this point – 46 meters; in front of it, the architects were able to find a place for a cherry garden and other perennial plants that blossom all through the summer, as well as a series of little sightseeing bridges with deep cantilevers of sightseeing platforms resting on supports on the slope of the bank – the architects also included into their network two already-existing pedestrian bridges over the river. Left of the lilac garden, two small factory buildings will be preserved: they will mark the city square, and it will be possible to make shops and restaurants in them. Behind the mini-square, at the joint with the Kremlin wall, and next to the Myasnitskaya tower, the architects are planning to make an open-air concert stage, while the slope of the bank will get an open-air amphitheater. To the east, in the direction of the Proletarsky Bridge, there are two playgrounds designed for children of two different age brackets, and a sports field – the latter was designed with the consulting input from the local sports communities – it includes bicycle tracks, jogging tracks, and a skate park. The architects also designed a bicycle track running alongside the embankment and proposed to extend it, wherever possible, to other streets of Tula’s downtown area. It must be said that generally the architects worked on the whole project based on the participation principle: they also consulted the local business community, students of local lore and local preservation activists: based on the accumulated data, the would constantly fine-tuned their project.

From the opposite side, i.e. from the Kremlin to the Zarechensky Bridge, stretches a boulevard with three fountains. The curls of the boskets are meant to divide its territory into private zones. Closer to the Spassky streets, a fragment of the embankment grows into a “Park of Tula Honey-Cake”, while the existing park with a monument to the inventor of the three eighths of an inch caliber rifle, Sergey Mosin, is enlarged and additionally landscaped. There are also plans for opening the Kremlin’s riverside gate, which had stood shut for almost a century.

Possibly, the city will be able to use the false river as a big skating rink in the wintertime. But then again, a filled-out skating rink with a new year tree is also made on the main city square at the Kremlin wall. 

The river and its embankment are two important parts of the concept but they are not the only ones: the architects’ scope of attention also covered the Metallistov Street, the former Pyatnitskaya, stretching parallel to the river in the west part of the city center. Currently, this street is essentially a part of the drive-thru before the Kremlin from the Mosina Street to the Mendeleevskaya Street. Wowhaus proposed to plant the Metallistov Street with trees and turn it into a pedestrian promenade. It is planned that all the monuments will be restored, a few public buildings will be built in the depth of the city blocks to replace old dilapidated buildings, one of the new buildings being a theater. The yards will be open for end-to-end passage, which will provide an extra connection to the embankment.

Apart from the habitual set of the public life, the region administration and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation also have plans for turning the Metallistov Street into a “museum quarter” – by placing a whole string of museums in the historical buildings: a museum of Tula weaponry, a museum of Tula Honey-Cake, a Cossacks museum, an expo hall of РВИО, as week as affiliate branches of Yasnaya Polyana, Kulikovo Field, and Polenovo. It is planned that the yards will become a venue for lectures, concerts and exhibitions. Some of the mansions, however, will be remodeled to become hotels and educational institutions. The ground floors will be occupied by shops and cafés with summer terraces – this neighborhood must become, on the one hand, a cultural center, and, on the other hand, an example and a driver for the development of the postindustrial economy of the city, a place for the concentrated eye walking.

The round Krestovozdvizhenskaya Square at the corner of the Kremlin will also partly become pedestrian-only – a sort of “finale” of the walking route. It will get new trees, paving, and a small fountain. In addition, the Kremlin entrance, which is there on the square, will be made more convenient.

The driveway before the south wall of the Kremlin, however, will be kept intact. According to Oleg Shapiro, the transport experts are sure that if the Metallistov Street becomes pedestrian-only, the city traffic will not suffer, the automobile streams being switched to alternative routes. Besides, it is planned that after a new bridge over the Ula is launched in 2019, the city center’s transport load will be relieved. On the other hand, the new pedestrian route will dramatically change the city center turning it into a cohesive transparent space and one of the main event hubs of the city.

The project of renovating the Tula embankment © WOWHAUS
Krestovozdvizhenskaya Square. Archive materials / provided by WOWHAUS
The Kazanskaya Embankment. View of the Kremlin from the Small Arms Factory. Archive materials / provided by WOWHAUS
The Embankment. View of Small Arms Factory from the Kremlin. Archive materials / provided by WOWHAUS
The Pyatnitskaya Street. Currently - the Metallistov Street. Archive materials / provided by WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment. The lilac garden © WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment © WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment © WOWHAUS
The sports area. The project of renovating the Tula embankment © WOWHAUS
The playground for children under 7 years old. The project of renovating the Tula embankment © WOWHAUS
The playground for children over 8 years old. The project of renovating the Tula embankment © WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment. The landscaping plan © WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment. Transforming the museum quarter © WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment. The metallistov Street © WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment. The metallistov Street © WOWHAUS
The project of renovating the Tula embankment. The Krestovozdvizhenskaya Square © WOWHAUS

11 September 2017

Alla Pavlikova Julia Tarabarina

Written by:

Alla Pavlikova, Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
Julius Borisov: “The “Island” housing complex is a unique project – we took it on with...
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
The residential complex “Balance” on Moscow’s Ryazansky Prospekt is one of the large-scale, and relatively economical (again, by Moscow standards) housing projects. Its first phase has already been built and landscaped; the work on the others is in progress. Nevertheless, it has an integral internal logic, which is based on the balance of functions, height, and even image and space composition. The proposed solutions are recognizable and laconic, so that each of them was reduced by the authors to a graphic “logo”. To see everything, you have to flip through the pages and look through to the end.
Horror Vacui
In the city of Omsk, ASADOV architects took on a very challenging task: they are developing a concept of a public and residential complex, which involves reconstructing the city’s first thermal power station standing right next to Omsk’s first fortress. This territory has already seen a lot of projects designed for it, and the residential function of this land site has been the subject of heated debate. In this article, we are examining the project in question, aimed at developing a mid-scale city fabric suited for the historical center. We also examine the above-mentioned debate. Seriously, will this project save this place or will it bring it to ruin?
A Multi-Faced Grotto
This building, seemingly small, unremarkable, semi-ruined, and not even very ancient – the Grotto in the Bauman Garden – was restored by the “People’s Architect” architectural company with all the care applicable to a heritage monument. They preserved the romantic appeal of the ruins, added multimedia content, and explored the cascading fountain, which, as it turned out, was completely preserved. Brace yourself for a long story!
First among Equals
The building of a kindergarten in the town of Beloyarsky is more than just another example of a modern educational space. Its design began a long time ago; it is located in Russia’s Far North; it is also a state-owned facility that is subject to regulations, and had to cut costs during construction (as usual). However, the design is contemporary, the layout is modern, and the building feels very fresh. The project is planned to be replicated.
Gustave Falconnier
In the “ruin” wing of Moscow’s Museum of Architecture, an exhibition of “glass bricks” by Gustave Falconnier is open. These “bricks” are essentially the predecessors of glass blocks, but more complex and beautiful. The exhibition shows genuine “bricks”, buildings composed of them, the history of the destruction of Falconnier windows in the building of the State Archives, and it also became one of the reasons to revive this unique production technology.
​Streamline for City Canyons
Stepan Liphart has designed two houses for two small land sites situated in the area surrounding the Varshavsky Railway Station, which is being intensively developed now. The sites are situated close but not next to each other, and they are different, yet similar: the theme is the same but it is interpreted in different ways. In this issue, we are examining and comparing both projects.
​The Eastern Frontier
“The Eastern Arc” is one of the main land resources of Kazan’s development, concentrated in the hands of a single owner. The Genplan Institute of Moscow has developed a concept for the integrated development of this territory based on an analytical transport model that will create a comfortable living environment, new centers of attraction, and new workplaces as well.
A School of Our Time
On the eve of the presentation of the new book by ATRIUM, dedicated to the design of schools and other educational facilities, based on the architects’ considerable experience, as well as expert judgments, we are examining the Quantum STEM school building, constructed according to their project in Astana. Furthermore, this building is planned to be the first one to start a new chain. The architects designed it in full accordance with modern standards but sometimes they did break away from them – only to confirm the general development rules. For example, there are two amphitheaters in the atrium, and there is an artificial hill in the yard that is meant to make the flat terrain of the Kazakhstan steppe more eventful.
The Fluffy Space
Designing the passenger terminal of the Orenburg airport, ASADOV architects continue to explore the space theme that they first introduced in Saratov and Kemerovo airports. At the same time, the architects again combine the global and the local, reflecting topics inspired by the local conceptual context. In this case, the building is “covered” by an Orenburg downy shawl – an analogy that is recognizable enough, yet not literal; some will see the reference and some won’t.
The White Fitness Center
The white health and fitness center, designed by Futura Architects at the entrance to St. Petersburg’s New Piter residential complex, provides the developing area not only with functional but also with sculptural diversity, livening up the rows of the brick city blocks with the whiteness of its seamless facades, cantilevered structures, and dynamic inclined lines.
The New Dawn
In their project of a technology park to be built on the grounds of “Integrated Home-Building Factory 500” in Tyumen Oblast – the biggest in Russia – the HADAA architects preserve not just the industrial function of the giant hangar built in the late 1980s and 90% of its structures, but also respond to its imagery. They also propose a “gradient” approach to developing the available areas: from open public ones to staff-only professional spaces. The goal of this approach is to turn the technology park into the driver for developing the business function between the industrial zones and the future residential area in accordance with the Integrated Land Development program.
​Tame Hills for New Residents
T+T Architects have reported that they have completed the landscaping project for the yard of the first stage of Alexandrovsky Garden housing complex in Ekaterinburg – the landscape complements the contextual architecture, tailored for the buyers’ preferences and downtown standards, with bold neo modernist master strokes and lush and diverse vegetation.
The Crystal of the City Block
The typology and plastique of large housing complexes move with the times, and you can sometimes find new subtleties in the scope of seemingly familiar solutions. The Sky Garden complex combines two well-known themes, forming a giant residential area consisting of tall slender towers, placed at the perimeter of a large yard, in which a crossroads of two pedestrian promenades is “dissolved”.
Sunshine, Air, and Water
The construction of the “Solnechny” (“Sunny”) summer camp, designed by ARENA project institute, has been completed, the largest summer camp within the legendary Artek seaside resort for children. It was conceived still in Soviet time, but it was not implemented. The modern version surprises you with sophisticated engineering solutions that are combined with a clear-cut structure: together, they generate Asher-esque spaces.
​Art Deco at the Edge of Space
The competition project by Stepan Liphart – a high-end residential complex executed in a reserved classicist style in close proximity to the Kaluga Space Museum – responds equally well to the context and to the client’s brief. It is moderately respectable, moderately mobile and transparent, and it even digs a little into the ground to comply with strict height restrictions, without losing proportions and scale.
​A Hill behind the Wall
The master plan of a new residential area in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by the Genplan Institute of Moscow with the participation of Kengo Kuma & Associates, is based on the complexities and advantages of the relief of the foothills: the houses are arranged in cascades, and multi-level improvement penetrates all the blocks, continuing in forest trails.
Going, Going, Gone!
The housing complex “Composers’ Residences” has been built in accordance with the project by Sergey Skuratov, who won the international competition back in 2011. It all began from the image search and “cutting off all spare”, and then implementing the recognizable Skuratov architecture. It all ended, however, in tearing down the buildings of the Schlichterman factory, whose conservation was stipulated by all the appropriate agencies prior to approving Skuratov’s project. This story seems to be educational and important for understanding the history of all the eleven years, during which the complex was designed and built.
The Life of Iron
The building of the Vyksa Metallurgy Museum, designed by Nikita Yavein and Sergey Padalko, provides for the natural aging of metal – it is planned that the iron will gradually rust – at the same time utilizing the advanced type of construction, based on metal’s ability to stretch. The building will be constructed from pipes and rolled steel supplied by OMK company, as well as from recycled bricks.
​And the Brook is Flowing
ASADOV Architects have designed a master plan for developing a residential area at the outskirts of Kaliningrad: a regular grid of housing blocks is enriched by large-scale public facilities, the main “artery” of the new area being the fortification channel that regains its original function.
Off We Go!
The new terminal of the Tomsk airport is being designed by ASADOV bureau. The architects keep on developing its identity, building the imagery upon the inventions of Nikolai Kamov, whose name the airport bears. The result is laconic, light, and, as always, levitating.
Maximum Flexibility
The Multispace Dinamo, which recently opened within the Arena business center, is an example of a project that is entirely based upon cutting-edge approaches and technologies. It is managed via a mobile application, special software was created for it, and the spaces are not just multifunctional but carefully mixed up, like some kind of jigsaw puzzle that allows the office workers to mix their working routine for better efficiency.
A Factory’s Path
Last week, the new center for constructivist studies “Zotov” hosted its first exhibition named “1922. Constructivism. The Inception”. The idea of creating this center belongs to Sergey Tchoban, while the project of the nearest houses and adjusting the building of the bread factory for the new museum function was done by the architect in collaboration with his colleagues from SPEECH. We decided that such a complex project should be examined in its entirety – and this is how we came up with this long-read about constructivism on Presnya, conservation, innovation, multilayered approach, and hope.
The Savelovsky Axis
The business center, situated right in the middle of a large city junction next to the Savelovsky Railway Station takes on the role of a spatial axis, upon which the entire place hinges: it spins like a spiral, alternating perfect glass of the tiers and deep recessions of inter-tier floors that conceal little windows invented by the architects. It is sculptural, and it claims the role of a new city landmark, in spite of its relatively small height of nine floors.
Parametric Waves
In the housing complex Sydney City, which FSK Group is building in the area of Shelepikhinskaya Embankment, Genpro designed the central city block, combining parametric facades and modular technology within its architecture.
The Multitone
The new interior of the Action Development headquarters can be regarded as an attempt to design the perfect “home” for the company – not just comfortable but broadcasting the values of modern development. It responds to the context, yet it is built on contrast, it is fresh but cozy, it is dynamic, yet it invites you to relax – everything of this coexists here quite harmoniously, probably because the architects found an appropriate place for each of the themes.
Refinement No Longer Relevant
A few days ago journalists were shown the building of Bread Factory #5, renovated upon the project by Sergey Tchoban. In this issue, we are publishing Grigory Revzin’s thoughts about this project.
The Comb of Strelna
In this issue, we are taking a close look at the project that won the “Crystal Daedalus” award – the “Veren Village” housing complex in Strelna, designed by Ostozhenka. Its low-rise format became a trigger for typological and morphological experiments – seemingly, we are seeing recognizable trends, yet at the same time there are a multitude of subtleties that are a pleasure to go into. Having studied this project in detail, we think that the award is well-deserved.
A Tectonic Shift
For several years now, Futura Architects have been working with the “New Peter” residential area in the south of St. Petersburg. In this article, we are covering their most recent project – a house, in which the architects’ architectural ideas peacefully coexist with the limitations of comfort-class housing, producing a “multilayered” effect that looks very attractive for this typology.
Three “Green” Stories
In this issue, we are examining three environmental urban projects showcased by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the Zodchestvo festival. The scale of the projects is really diverse: from gathering information and suggestions from the residents on a city scale to growing meadow grass between houses to paintings, which, as it turned out, possess power to cure trees, healing their wounded bark. + a list of kinds of plants natural for Moscow to help the developer.