Town on the Roof
- contemporary architecture
A multifunctional complex with apartments, an office center, a shopping gallery, a multilevel parking garage, and a new city square is being built on the basis of the former body shop of the ZIL plant, the largest building of the former automobile plant.
The multifunctional complex will be a part of the “Park of Legends” city block which is situated in the area of the Avtozavodskaya Street on the territory of the former ZIL automobile plant. The buildings are stretching parallel to one another on a 25-hectare land site: the synchronized swimming center, the Ice Palace with three arenas, and still further on – the longest volume of this city block, i.e. the multifunctional complex that includes an underground parking garage, offices of the sports organizations, and residential apartments. Closer to the Third Transport Ring, there is Russia’s first Hockey Hall of Fame, organized inside the reconstructed architectural monument of the early XX century, and a hotel for guest athletes. Practically all the buildings of the block have been completed and put into operation. The Ice Arena, specifically, has already hosted the Hockey World Championship 2016. The construction of the multifunctional complex is also close to completion, which is due in 2018, while the 2700 car-stall parking garage is already complete and is used to its direct purpose.
As a matter of fact, this complex is arguably the main infrastructural part of the block. Built back in 1988, the body shop is the largest building of the former automotive plant, its total area exceeding 100 thousand square meters.
“What we had to work with was a steady rectangular volume 324x75 meters that was in the epicenter of the demolition of the former ZIL production facilities – shares the president of “Olimpproekt” Group and the head of the author team, Vladimir Kovalev – What they tore down were also the two adjoining technological buildings. However, it was decided to keep the main building with a view of organizing a rather large overland parking garage here that was meant to accommodate for the sports quarter, and then build it up with an office part and apartments. The dependable metallic framework of the plant’s newest production facility allowed us to go ahead and safely do that without any apprehensions”.
According to Vladimir Kovalev, the designers were first of all required to create a comfortable environment for the future users of the complex. It was proposed to turn the already-existing unit into a six-level parking garage, and add to it public functions meant to accommodate for the city in general and visitors of the complex in particular.
As for the Third Transport Ring, the new multifunctional complex faces it with one of its side walls. One of its longest façades, closed by horizontal lamellae, is turned to the Ice Palace, the other – to a new boulevard with a wide promenade, parkway, and an automobile road. The boulevard became an important part of the new sports city block. Not only did it provide the connection between the block and the city but it also became a transient corridor for the pedestrians headed from the surrounding residential areas for the Moskva River, Moscow Central Circle, and the Avtozavodskaya metro station. This is why it was so important to form, in this part of the complex, a full-fledged public territory accessible to people.
In addition to the parking itself, with a straight ramp and a thought-out system of traffic flows that helps to avoid traffic jams, the bottom floors of the existing building will get a glass shopping gallery with a long pedestrian promenade running along the entire façade. The gallery will include small stores, bank offices, a medical center, a restaurant, and cafes with open-air terraces. In the stead of the removed technological building, the architects are planning to organize a new city square, from which one will be able to access the pedestrian gallery by a broad grand staircase. Staircases were added in two other places because due to the height difference the complex is situated about 5-6 meters higher than the square and boulevard level.
The opposite side of the former shop, which is fully occupied by the parking garage, had to be linked to the Ice Palace. The new complex is separated from the Ice Palace by a maintenance driveway, above which the architects decided to make two roofed overpasses that allow the guests to get inside the Ice Palace directly from the parking garage. However, these overpasses will only be accessible to the privileged guests. The others will have to use the staircases at the edges of the building which offer the fans to descend on the sidewalks, then circle the building, and get in through the main entrance.
The roof of the former body shop more than 300 meters long will host virtually a whole city in its own right. The office part, which consists of for separately standing seven-story buildings, is situated on the side that is closer to the Third Transport Ring. Initially it was planned that the apartments would be grouped around the perimeter of the large closed-circuit yard but later on the architects refrained from that idea. It was decided to place the buildings in a more uniform and dense fashion in order to reduce the overall height and visually soften the overall height difference between the complex and the sports facilities. But then again, on the edge, three slabs still form something like a small square – a solution that gives the residents protection from the rain, provides better insolation, and forms, however small, a cozy yard space on the roof, which includes railing, greenery, and a children’s playground.
Raised over 20 meters above the ground, this city on the roof is designed as a single-style ensemble. The office part visually does not contrast with the residential one. It sports the same stained glass windows, the same inserts of bent metal against the background of light-colored ceramic granite, the same grid pattern of the façades, and the same “chocolate milk” set of colors. The only difference may lie in the absence of the plastique that is generally characteristic of residential buildings with their ledges of balconies and stanzas, and the checkered pattern of the air conditioning units. The likeness of the façades is a result of a complex design process – Vladimir Kovalev explains – the office part repeatedly changed its function to residential and back again. Ultimately, the offices remained offices, but the architects opted out of changing the façades considering the uniformity of the façades to be a more appropriate solution.
The multifunctional complex is being completed in a new fully formed environment. Being a part of a modern cluster with innovative façades, large public squares, and broad streets, it lives up to its environment, as forgetting about its industrial past. Meanwhile, the grandiose proportions of the building and the horizontal character of the podium part, one way or another, retains the genius loci.