The housing project at the Mikhailova Street skillfully uses the benefits of its surroundings to the advantage of its future residents, exploring numerous fashionable trends of today: the façades are meticulously elaborate, and the public spaces are well thought out from the standpoint of both city people and the residents of the complex.
Written by: Julia Tarabarina, Alla Pavlikova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
This housing project is built in the southeast of Moscow, on a 2.4 hectare land plots, 700 meters away from the border of the Kuskovo Estate Park. But then again, the museum palace and its Large Creek are situated in the opposite side of the park, so the new building will not violate the historical panorama. The immediate surroundings of the complex consist of five-story houses swimming in greenery, including red-brick Stalin ones, with an odd inclusion of buildings with larger numbers of floors. The “Ryazansky Prospect” metro station is a 20 minutes’ walk away, and the “Plyushchevo” railroad station is 10 minutes away. In the nearest future, a new metro station named “Okskaya Ulitsa” will open, which will be a 15 minutes’ walk away from the complex.
The task of designing a large-scale housing project on a relatively small land plot with insolation limitations was far from easy – shares the chief architect of “Olimpproekt” Ekaterina Gren. The client wanted to see a flashy architectural concept that would at the same time fit in nicely with its surroundings, and answer the trends of modern construction. According to Ekaterina Gren, in the process of complicated work, the architects were able to find a solution that could satisfy both the client, and the future residents of the complex, and the residents of the surrounding area.
The complex consists of eight residential units from 12 to 19 stories high. Together, they form a semi-closed yard that opens up northeast towards the park. The front of the Mikhailova Street is formed by three 12-story sections – it is planned that here along the entire façade there will be a public space with cafes, shops, and an open-air promenade before them. The typology of the urban retail stores is generally familiar to the local residents: such stores are to be found on the first floors of the Stalin five-stories and the podiums of later-built 9-story buildings, but the new housing complex is expected to set the trend for a more modern type of busy public space of the ground floors.
Two 19-story buildings stretch into the depth of the land site. The east building is linked to the building that stands along the Mikhailova Street by a broad hypostyle connection. Its green roof will become a small additional park, while its supports will be coated with black polished granite. Across from it, in the west building, there is yet another entrance to the yard: a compact narrow passageway that functionally repeats the east “propylaea” – it is there for a reason, because, as is the custom nowadays, all the entrances to the residential sections are located in the yard, which pretty much turns the yard entrance into a home entrance.
The “Ryazansky Prospect” metro station, just as the future “Okskaya Ulitsa”, is situated east of the complex on the Mikhailova Street – so, the east façade is designed as being sort of a “grand” one, and, because, from this side the main bulk of the pedestrian stream will be coming, the main entrance to the yard is also situated here. For the same reason, the outward front of the east building, just as the first floors along the Mikhailova Street, is given to shops and restaurants. This is the “city side” façade, turned to the bustling Ryazansky Avenue.
But then again, yet another strong side of this place is the fact that with its fairly good transport accessibility it is not squeezed between overcrowded streets or highways. The nearest neighbor from the “grand” east side is a rank-and-file clinic building, overgrown with bushes; it is still good 65 meters to go to the narrow and quiet 1st Institutskaya Street. From the opposite side, the distance to the Lukhovitskaya Street is still further – 180 meters – and here the nearest neighbor of the complex is a three-story building of the former medical unit. From this side, the entire territory stretching up to that street belongs to the complex’s sphere of influence, and the architects are planning to organize here a transition zone – some sort of a quiet yard, going through which, without having to cross any automobile roads, one will be able to reach a football field, a children’s playground, and a library. Here the architects also place a guest overland parking lot with a turfstone paver. From this side, the two lower floors of the northeast building will house an over-2000-sqm kindergarten for 124 children.
The vehicle-free private yard is located on the roof of the underground parking garage; the yard is landscaped. The thought-out zoning allowed the architects to combine playgrounds with a highly developed landscape, abundance of greenery, a sufficient number of benches, and even a lilac garden that is capable of doing magic in any part of the city. A shallow strip of water – a miniature man-made river – forms in the main part of the yard a semblance of a short promenade, helps to divide the zones in an unconventional way, and fills the space with emotion. In the corner, where the south and west buildings meet, the “river” ends: there is a small square here, this time without greenery but adorned by a sculpture. The entrances to the underground parking garage are situated not inside the yard but outside of it, and at a sufficient distance to stop the exhaust fumes from poisoning the yard.
“In addition to the town-planning issues and the search for the volumetric and space solution, we had to stylistically inscribe the complex into its surroundings – says Ekaterina Gren – Ultimately, we came up with an austere and respectable image of housing, reserved in the plastique of the volumes and exquisite in the façade decoration”.
Indeed, if we are to speak about some full-scale play of volumes, the genre of a housing complex does not provide for it by definition, and the architects concentrated on the texture, color, and other details, combining two types of façade “matter”: white glass-fibre reinforced concrete и cream-colored clinker. The clinker is used in volumes of smaller height, the 12-story-tall ones, and their height this way echoes the scale of the neighboring panel houses, while their material echoes that of the Stalin five-stories. The clinker is also used to decorate the three sections standing on the Mikhailova Street, and the slabs that visually continue them, cut into the volumes of taller yard-side units. The “white” matter is allotted to taller volumes and is subjugated to the horizontal; the rows of windows look much like bands, but then again, this is compensated by the latent classics of the enlarged and laconic “flutes” in the piers.
The theme of two “matters”, which is important for the complex, is augmented and united by openwork inclusions of ornamental panels which are there in both colors and which form a sunken-in “inner” layer of the façades on a level with windows and inserts of dark ceramic granite. The theme is picked up by protruding wrought iron balconies – air conditioning units that look like French balconies from a distance. They protrude more than it is necessary for the air conditioning units: the façades are endowed with a noticeable depth of their surface, carefully drawn and sculptured. These little balconies can even host small planters – the authors of the project claim.
All the apartments have a stanza balcony in them, and 3-room apartments have even two. Totally, the project provides for 685 apartments of “comfort” class. The developer plans to sell them, as he puts it, “with partitions to be given a finishing touch later” – i.e. without decoration. The list of popular novelties includes, among other things, bathrooms with windows; in some apartments kitchens are united with living rooms; the project also provides for storage spaces for the residents in the basement. The entrances to the residential sections are designed on the “zero” level, so they do not need either stairways or ramps that would otherwise clog up the yard – one can just step inside.
Thus, this new housing complex embodies a lot of the trendy “signs of the times”: attention to detail and desire to rethink the architectural context, a vehicle-free landscaped yard, a developed public space in the bottom floors, thought-out pedestrian routes, and smart use of the benefits given by the surroundings.
One can also mention a few things that are NOT there in this housing complex. The fashion for bright “pixelated” façades came and (luckily) went; the architects found quite a different solution to make sure that comfort-class high-rises no longer look like line “medical thermometers” because of vertical arrays of stanza balconies. It turned out that it was enough to sink the stanzas into the space of the apartments, treating them from the outside as windows, to leave enough room for playing with the façade’s plastique. And as for the image of the buildings, in this specific instance, it teeters on the verge of respectable art-deco: hence the metal, openwork inclusions, vertical modules and flutes – and the modern decorated architecture. Possibly, we are witnessing the birth of a certain branch of Moscow art-deco of the XXI century: different versions of this style have been tried in this city for 20 years already; there have been a lot unsuccessful attempts. As for the new version, however, it is reasonably up-to-date, respectable-looking, and at the same time it answers the requirements of the market that wanted to get a large but “decent-looking” housing complex. One must admit that architecture of residential buildings developed in a similar manner in the XIX century: architects would answer, as best they could, to the requirements of the growing housing market; back in those days, in the beginning of the XX century, all the techniques were honed to perfection. Now we are observing the same process, only on a larger scale, resonant with the pace of the growing megalopolis.
The developer is promising to put the housing complex into operation in the second quarter of 2019; the construction worker is underway.
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.
In this issue, we are publishing the concept of a standard clinic designed by UNK Project, which took second place in the competition organized by the Union of Architects of Russia in collaboration with 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.