The city block in which this house is being built is part of one of the historical industrial parks that survived into the present on Saint Petersburg’s Petrograd Side. In the 1920’s, a knitting factory was built here by the project of Erich Mendelson. The factory was named “Krasnoe Znamya” (“The Red Banner”), and today it is chiefly known for the expressive silhouette of its power station: the architect himself compared it to a “flagship that tows up all the production cycle”. The building influenced the development of the Leningrad avant-garde, and, for some time, it was a symbol of the Soviet industrialization and even a symbol of the city (in the 1930’s its picture was on the cover of the tourist guide).
Up until this year, the building of the station, as well as the factory and its surrounding territory were in a state of suspended animation: the land went from one owner to another, some predicted that one day this place would become the Russian Tate Modern, while others had serious misgivings about its future fate. In 2016, they started building a housing complex named “Mendelson” literally window to window with the power station upon the project of Evgeny Podgornov, and this drew a serious responce: a lot of local preservation activists demanded that the new construction be stopped and the building be taken down; the International Council on Monuments and Sites looked into the matter, and the Smolny finally OK’ed the beginning of the restoration work.
The power station is the doubtless centerpiece and the “star” of this suburban area of the Petrograd Side. Currently, all of its surroundings are changing together with it: buildings get restored and adjusted to fit new functions; voids get filled with office buildings and housing projects, and even the historical buildings of the nearby Mozhaisky Military and Space Academy are clad in scaffolding.
The land plot that Anatoly Stolyarchuk got to work with is located across from the road and diagonally from the power station. Currently, it is a wasteland with rather mottled surroundings: factory buildings alternate with houses of unknown origin and brand-new business centers. The main goal that the architects set for themselves was making sure that they do not violate the historically formed surroundings and make sure that there is no dissonance. However, another goal, just as important, was to avoid copying the style of the surrounding houses, and make a unique architectural statement of one’s own.
The plan of the land site prompted dividing the building into two major volumes. This way, the architects got a rectangular “white” unit and a slightly sunken-in “red” one that turns round into the depth of the city block. If we are to look at the façade from the Pionersksya Street, we will find that these two volumes are fractured horizontally with color and the window pattern in such a way as to pick up the height of the surrounding buildings. The resulting “cascading” pattern creates an unusual effect: as if the house already “lived” for some time, and at some point a buildup of a few extra floors. In this narrative, even the mansard, which was the client’s special request, becomes appropriate. Essentially, the façade projects to the street the architectural “herbage”, which is hidden in the yard, but in a slightly “combed-up” stylized manner. It is spontaneous yet at the same time pristine, like a guest who is dressing up for a party with carefully thought-out carelessness.
Rather lengthy (around 40 meters), the façade is dissected vertically as well: the broad bands of the stanzas refer us to the stained glass windows of the factories and alternate with “perforation” of the square windows and narrow glazing strips. The neat rows of balconies in the top part of the building turn into a “staggered” order in the lower part. These little balconies are meant for the air conditioning units, the chaotic installation of which by the tenants is, according to Anatoly Stolyarchuk, something that causes architects inevitable pain.
The color and the material (the decoration is fully executed from brick) also drop a courtesy to the surrounding houses: the conditionally red building is “clad” in the same tones with the neighboring factory buildings, while the white one picks up the colors of the other neighbors.
Ultimately, the building, although slightly higher than the power station of “Krasnoe Znamya” (its cornice height is 28 meters, and its total height is 33), does not make a parade of its height and does not look as if it wants to dominate. On the contrary, it pays all kinds of visual homage to its surroundings, without losing its dignity. Anatoly Stolyarchuk is hoping that there will be no antagonism here: “The power station has a strong plastique language of its own, with which it makes a bold statement, while what we’ve built is a background-type reserved-looking house”. This is proven by the visualization of interaction points between the power station and the future house developed by the Committee on State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Landmarks.
The first floor is occupied by shops and restaurants. Because of the slight breakaway of the “red” building, the edge turned out to be a “living” one, making this part of the street interesting for the passes-by. The architects enhanced this effect by making in the “white” building a gallery that leads to a broad pavement with large shop windows of the “red” one. Between these, there is a hidden entrance to the building; two other entrances are situated in the yard, where the façade grows even more reserved yet by no means monotonous.
Floors from 2 to 10 include apartments – their layouts were handed down to the architects “pre-packed” from the marketing experts of the project, which doubtlessly complicated their work.
The basement floor includes a parking garage, the entrance to which is situated on the Pionerskaya Street from the side of the “white” building.
Anatoly Stolyarchuk stresses that simplicity and laconism are what the architects were about working on this project. This means not only the architects’ respect to the city and their predecessors but also a fair amount of confidence – they were able to design something simple yet at the same time flashy-looking. What also helped was the understanding that the architects achieved with the client whose notion of beauty matched the authors’ project proposal (it would be appropriate to recall here the project of another building designed by this architectural firm, which was built amidst a similar context on the Mira Street yet with bigger difficulties).
This building not only “fixes a hole” in the street – it “takes root” in its new place, intertwining with everything that was there before it came around. Such examples can hopefully change the people’s attitude towards new construction carried out in the historical areas, of which most of Saint Petersburg people are still pretty wary, and for a good reason, too.
The Gallery Approach
In this article, we are covering the concept of a Central District Clinic for 240 patients, designed by Ginzburg Architects, which won at a competition organized by the Architects Union and the Healthcare Ministry.
A Comfortable City in Itself
The project that we are about to cover is seemingly impossible amidst human anthills, chaotically interspersed with old semi-neglected dachas. Meanwhile, the housing complex built on the Comcity business part does offer a comfortable environment of decent city: not excessively high-rise and moderately private as a version of the perfect modern urbanist solution.
Moving on the Edge
The housing complex “Litsa” (“Faces”) on Moscow’s Khodynka Field is one of the new grand-scale buildings that complement the construction around it. This particular building skillfully tackles the scale, subjugating it to the silhouette and the pattern; it also makes the most of the combination of a challenging land site and formidable square footage requirements, packing a whole number of features within one volume, so the house becomes an analogue of a city. And, to cap it all, it looks like a family that securely protects the children playing in the yard from... well, from everything, really.
Visual Stability Agent
A comparatively small house standing on the border of the Bolshevik Factory combines two diametrically opposite features: expensive materials and decorative character of Art Deco, and a wide-spaced, even somewhat brutal, facade grid that highlights a laminated attic.
The Faraday Cage
The project of the boutique apartment complex in the 1st Truzhenikov Lane is the architects’ attempt to squeeze a considerable volume into a tiny spot of land, at the same time making it look graceful and respectable. What came to their rescue was metal, stone, and curvilinear glass.
The Union of Art and Technology
His interest for architecture of the 1930’s is pretty much the guiding star for Stepan Liphart. In his project of the “Amo” house on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island, the architect based himself on Moscow Art Deco - aesthetically intricate and decorated in scratch-work technique. As a bonus, he developed the city block typology as an organic structure.
The project that Evgeniy Gerasimov and Partners developed for Moscow’s Leningrad Avenue: the tallest building in the company’s portfolio, continuing the tradition of Moscow’s Stalin architecture.
In the project that they developed for a southern region of Russia, OSA Architects use multilayered facades that create an image of seaside resort architecture, and, in the vein of the latest trends of today, mix up different social groups that the residents belong to.
Just a Mirror for the Sun
The house that Sergey Skuratov designed in Nikolovorobinsky Alley is thought out down to the last detail. It adapts three historical facades, interprets a feeling of a complex city, is composed of many layers, and catches plenty of sunlight, from sunrises to sunsets. The architect himself believes that the main role of this house is creating a background for another nearby project of his, Art House in the Tessinsky Alley.
Part of the Whole
On June 5, the winners of Moscow Architectural Award were announced. The winners list includes the project of a school in Troitsk for 2,100 students, with its own astronomy dome, IT testing ground, museum, and a greenhouse on the roof.
Yet another project of a private school, in which Archimatika realizes the concept of aesthetic education and introduces a new tradition: combining Scandinavian and Soviet experience, turning to works of art, and implementing sustainable technologies.
In the “Parallel House” residence that he designed in the Moscow metropolitan area, the architect Roman Leonidov created a dramatic sculptural composition from totally basic shapes – parallelepipeds, whose collision turned into an exciting show.
In the Istra district of Moscow metropolitan area, the tandem of 4izmerenie and ARS-ST designed a sports complex – a monovolume that has the shape of a chamfered parallelepiped with a pointed “nose” like a ship’s bow.
Stairway to Heaven
The project of a hotel in the settlement of Yantarny is an example of a new recreational complex typology, and a new format that unites the hotel, the business, and the cultural functions. All of this is complemented by 100% integration with nature.
Cape of Good Hope
In this issue, we are showing all the seven projects that participated in a closed-door competition to create a concept for the headquarters of Gazprom Neft, as well as provide expert opinions on those projects.
The Outer Space
Honoring the 300th anniversary of the Kuznetsk coal fields in 2021, a new passenger terminal of the Aleksey Leonov Airport in the city of Kemerovo will be built, designed by GK Spectrum and ASADOV Architectural Bureau.
The Pivot of Narkomfin Building
Ginzburg Architects finished the restoration of the Narkomfin Building’s laundry unit – one of the most important elements of the famous monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture.
The housing complex “Respublika” is so large that it can be arguably called a micro-town, yet, at the same time, it easily overcomes most of the problems that usually arise with mass housing construction. How could Archimatika achieve that? We are examining that on the example of the first stage of the complex.
The Flowing Lines
The five houses of the “Svoboda” block belonging to the “Simvol” residential complex present a vivid example of all-rounded work performed by the architects on an integral fragment of the city, which became the embodiment of the approach to architecture that hitherto was not to be seen anywhere in Moscow: everything is subjected to the flow of lines – something like a stream, enhanced by the powerful pattern of the facades akin to “super-graphics”.
A City by the Water
The concept of a large-scale housing development at the edge of Voronezh, near the city reservoir, or “the sea”, as it is locally called, uses the waterside height difference to create a sophisticated public space, paying a lot of attention to the distribution of masses that determine the look of the future complex if viewed from the opposite bank of the river.
A Journey to the Country of Art Deco
The “Little France” residential complex on the 20th line of the Vasilyevsky Island presents an interesting make-believe dialogue between its architect, Stepan Liphart, the architect of the New Hermitage, masters of the Silver Age, and Soviet Art Deco, about interesting professional topics, such as a house with a courtyard in the historical center of Saint Petersburg, and the balance between the wall and the stained glass in the architectonics of the facade. Here are the results of this make-believe conversation.
A House in a Port
This housing complex on the Dvinskaya Street is the first case of modern architecture on the Gutuevsky Island. The architectural bureau “A-Len” thoroughly explores the context and creates a landmark for further transformations of this area of Saint Petersburg.
Balance of Infill Development
Anatoly Stolyarchuk Architectural Studio is designing a house that inadvertently prevails over the surrounding buildings, yet still tries to peacefully coexist with the surrounding environment, taking it to a next level.
The Precious Space
Evolution Design and T+T Architects reported about the completion of the interior design project of Sberbank headquarters on the Kutuzovsky Avenue. In the center of the atrium, hovers the “Diamant” meeting room; everything looks like a chest full of treasures, including the ones of a hi-tech kind.
Big Little Victory
In a small-sized school located in Domodedovo in Moscow metropolitan area, ASADOV_ architects did a skillful job of tackling the constraints presented by the modest budget and strict spatial limitations – they designed sunlit classrooms, comfortable lounges, and even a multi-height atrium with an amphitheater, which became the center of school life.
The Social Biology of Landscape
The list of new typologies of public spaces and public projects has been expanded yet again — thanks to Wowhaus. This time around, this company came up with a groundbreaking by Russian standards approach to creating a place where people and animals can communicate.
Watched by the Angels from up Above
Held in the General Staff building of the Hermitage Museum, the anniversary exhibition of “Studio 44” is ambitious and diverse. The exhibition was designed to give a comprehensive showcase of the company’s architecture in a whole number of ways: through video, models, drawings, installations, and finally, through a real-life project, the Enfilade, which the exhibition opens up, intensifies, and makes work the way it was originally intended.
A New Version of the Old City
The house at Malaya Ordynka, 19, fits in perfectly with the lineup of the street, looking even as if it straightened the street up a little, setting a new tone for it – a tone of texture, glitter, “sunny” warmth, and, at the same time, reserved balance of everything that makes the architecture of an expensive modern house.
Stepan Liphart: “Standing your ground is the right thing to do”
A descendant of German industrialists, “Jophan’s son”, and an architect, speaks about how studying architectural orders tempers one’s character, and how a team of just a few people can design grand-scale housing projects to be built in the center of Saint Petersburg. Also: Santa Claus appearing in a Stalin high-rise, an arch portal to the outer space, mannerism painting, and the palaces of Paris – all covered in an interview with Stepan Liphart.
Honey and Copper
In the Moscow area, the architect Roman Leonidov designed the “Cool House” residence, very much in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, spreading it parallel to the ground, and accentuating the horizontal lines in it. The color composition is based on juxtaposition of warm wood of a honey hue and cold copper blue.
The Ring on the Saisara Lake
The building of the Philharmonic Hall and the Theater of Yakut Epos, standing on the shore of the sacred lake, is inscribed into an epic circle and contains three volumes, reminiscent of the traditional national housing. The roof is akin to the Alaas – a Yakut village standing around a lake. In spite of its rich conceptual agenda, the project remains volumetrically abstract, and keeps up a light form, making the most of its transparency, multiple layers, and reflections.
Architecture of Evanescence
On the Vernadskogo Avenue, next to the metro station, appeared a high-rise landmark that transformed the entire area: designed by UNK Project, the “Academic” business center uncovered, in the form of its architecture, the meanings of the local place names.
The Theater and Music Circles
The contest-winning ambitious grand-scale project of the main theater and concert complex of the Moscow area includes three auditoriums, a yard – a public area – a higher school of music, and a few hotels. It promises to become a high-profile center for the classical music festivals on a national scale.
The Line of a Hardened Breakthrough
Designed by Stepan Liphart, the housing complex “Renaissance” continues the line of the historical center of Saint Petersburg, reinterpreting the Leningrad Art Deco and the neoclassical architecture of the 1930-50’s in reference to the civilization challenges posed by our century.
The Regeneration Experience
The housing project “Metsenat”, which occupies the area next to the Resurrection Church in Moscow’s Kadashi, has a long and complicated history, full of protests, victories, and hopes. Now the project is complete: the architects were able to keep the views, the scale, and a few historical buildings; we can examine the end result now. The project was developed by Ilia Utkin.
The Terraces of the Crystal Cape
Proposed by Nikita Yavein, the concept of a museum, educational, and memorial complex to be built in the city of Sevastopol avoids straightforward accents and over-the-top dramatics, interpreting the history of this place along with the specifics of its landscape, and joining the public space of the operated stairway and amphitheaters with an imposing monument.
Evgeny Podgornov: “You need to make your projects visible”
The leader of Saint-Petersburg’s architectural company Intercolumnium explains why his company’s portfolio includes projects ranging from hi-tech to historicism, discourses upon high-rise landmarks, about the clients, and about the sources of the drive that the city needs.
Next to the Theater
On the Zemlyanoi Val Street, left of the entrance to the automotive tunnel underneath the Taganskaya Square, in front of the Taganka Theater, and next to the side end of Chocolate housing complex, the eight-story Novotel building, designed by Pavel Andreev, is being completed.