​The Grand Façade

The project of “Golden City” housing complex is unique in many respects: as an example of consequential implementation of the results of the competition, as an experience of joint work of a Russian and a Dutch team, and as an experiment of developing a high-profile construction on the basis of the city block technology.

14 May 2018
Ruurd Gietema
Jeroen Schipper
Patrick Meijers
Sergey Oreshkin
Glorax Golden City
Russia, St. Petersburg

2015 / 1.2018

Boundary Regime

The houses that are built along the embankments, seaside or riverside alike, are subject to particularly high quality requirements. There is more than one objective reason for that. The architecture that exists at the borderline between the earth and the water, belonging at the same time to the material world and the “mirror wonderland”, thanks to being multiplied in its reflection in the water, adds a lot to the romantic flavor that subconsciously influences the mind of the designer and the observer. Of course, there are also arguments of a purely practical nature: at the expense of the broad space before the building’s façade, these buildings influence a far greater part of the city, although this statement is equally applicable for the modern broad avenues, which, by the way, never stopped the architects from experimenting with silhouettes when designing the longitudinal construction fronts. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the waterfront construction took on a special high-profile status thanks to a large number of great examples: it’s enough to recall Venice, Amsterdam, New York – the list can go on and on. Even Moscow has quite a few buildings to show, not to mention Saint Petersburg. The Saint Petersburg waterfronts, which create the legendary skyline, are the veritable treasure of this city, so it comes as no surprise that people of Saint Petersburg cherish these panoramas and are so wary of every new inclusion that is meant to violate the beauty of the picture.

Luckily, the negative examples of the last few years are few and far between. One of the major reasons for this is the fact that the building space of the waterfront areas within the city limits is extremely limited. Today, the town planning map of Saint Petersburg got a new vacant land site at the edge of the water. It literally appeared out of nowhere because it is of an artificial origin. We are speaking here about the alluvial land lying on the west end of the Vasilyevsky Island, the decision of recreating which was adopted by the government of Saint Petersburg in 2006. Currently, over 170 hectares out of the planned 476 rose above the sea level. The land that has already been washed up is witnessing a major construction boom, which comes as no surprise. This area is located rather close to the center of Saint Petersburg, and, with the launch of the Western High-Speed Diameter highway, its transport accessibility soared, new subway stations being built nearby as well.

"Golden City" residential complex © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len
Integrated public and housing construction on the Vasilyevsky Island. Location plan. Project, 2015 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

In addition to the new complex of the new passenger sea port of Saint Petersburg with a terminal for cruise ships and ferries, built upon the project by “A.Len”, the city is planning to build here almost 500 000 square meters of housing stock, most of which will be comfort and business class. It is these buildings that will form the new “sea façade” of Saint Petersburg. Besides, building on the alluvial land is about the only chance for this city to form a new standard for the residential construction that will be modern and comfortable, the kind that will meet the high requirements of the “Nation’s Northern Capital”. Taking this task seriously, some of the developers and designers do strive to find a decent and harmonious solution for this “high-profile” type of construction meant to serve as the precursor of the famous city, to see which so many tourists come from near and far away.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

Doubling the Advantages

An extra proof of the vital town planning and typological importance of building on the alluvial territory is the competition for the best concept of developing this new city land run by GLORAX Development upon the initiative of the government of Saint Petersburg. The organizer is the company TOPMARK, while the consultants are the architectural school MARCH and the research center MARCH Lab.

Several Russian and the world’s top architectural firms took part in the competition. Suffice it to say that the shortlist of the second round included “Ostozhenka”, “Studio 44”, and “A.Len” as well as Cino Zucсhi Architetti Srl. (Italy), KCAP Holding B.V. (Netherlands), and Snøhetta AS (Norway) that submitted six totally different but equally bright and promising concepts. The judging panel awarded the victory to two teams – the Russian firm “A.Len” and the Dutch “KCAP Holding B.V.” that participated in the competition together with its partner Orange. It seemed that, instead of solving the most complex problem, the results of the competition made things even more complicated by shifting to the developer’s shoulders the burden of responsibility for bringing two projects, albeit based on similar planning principles but still different, to one common denominator.

Integrated public and housing construction on the Vasilyevsky Island. Project, 2015 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

The obvious strong point of the project by KCAP+Orange was its freshness and clarity of idea, which consisted in the composition of rectangular city blocks composed of parallelepipeds of varying height and packed into an orthogonal façade structure. The laconic set was livened up by a few architectural and planning elements that were meant to make the Dutch concept look more authentic. Channels running between the city blocks were to be traced back to the image of the “Northern Venice”, while the asymmetrical tops of the towers – looking like the frameworks of the golden spears of Saint Petersburg – claimed the status of the new landmarks in the new reformed skyline. For all its flashiness, one could easily see significant discrepancies between the concept and the Russian construction rules and regulations, as well as the realities of the Russian building practice. It was only the input from a highly professional domestic team – which would be (a) experienced in implementing projects of similar magnitude and (b) working with foreign partners – that could ensure just as bright and high-quality realization of the idea. The best candidate for that was “A.Len”, whose project with clearly structured city blocks and a number of planning and façade design solutions similar to those proposed by the Dutch firm clearly was playing to win. Ultimately, according to the leader of “A.Len” Sergey Oreshkin, “the judging panel made a wise decision. They selected the two similar concepts and suggested that the developers and the authors (both the Russian and the European one) take the very absolute best from each concept, thus creating a single synchronized town planning and architectural system”.

"Golden City" residential complex © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

The Integrated System

The land site, upon which “Golden City” will be built, borders on the U-shaped port bay, flanking its south corner. The narrow site stretches westward and is divided lengthwise into three blocks #7, 8, and 9. Two more blocks (#5 and 6) lie at a right angle in the direction of the last block #4, which is situated outside the main perimeter and is separated from the main body of the complex by a crossroads and a small square. Currently, the working documents of the corner block #4 are ready and the construction of its overland part is underway.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Location plan © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

The perimeter type of the city block construction helps to protect the inner yard from the bone-chilling sea winds that blow here from October and well into the wintertime. At the same time, the architects are leaving a few breaks in the perimeter, designing them as arches, in order to keep the visual connection between the residential buildings and the world outside, particularly the bay. In order to further protect the residents from the wind and the rain, the architects designed covered galleries running along the first floors and resting on V-shaped columns.

Defining the sizes of the blocks, the architects proceeded from their historical prototypes, based on the measurements of the town planning grid of the center of Saint Petersburg, as well as on the expertise of modern suburban housing construction. The height of the buildings that form the blocks varies from 20 meters (the level of the cornice of the Winter Palace) for the main bulk of the houses to 50 and even 100 meters of the corner towers, which create extra compositional accents and add to the beauty of the silhouette of the complex. The façades are clad in a structural grid that is formed by the horizontal and vertical ribs marking the levels of the floors and a 3.3 meters regular axis span (the construction span being 6.6 meters, double that size). One of the things that also make this architectural concept different is the asymmetrical spears and rooftops of metallic framework painted gold. These “crowns” or, rather, architectural “headdresses”, are essentially an interesting compromise between the fashionably laconic and even minimalist style of the entire complex and the architects’ desire to accentuate its connection to the historically formed image of Saint Petersburg.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

The inner yards are closed for the non-residents’ cars. Developed by the Gensler Company, the outside traffic and pedestrian infrastructure is meant to make the locomotion around the complex safe and easy.

The range of the apartments in “Golden City” meets the current trends of the market. Out of the 588 apartments, only 20% are three-room ones with a floor space of about 90 square meters. The rest are studios (10%) with a 25 square meter floor space, single-room apartments (20%), and double-room apartments (40%). “The Russian architects better feel the needs of the market – Sergey Oreshkin explains – And they are capable of proposing design solutions that are more effective in terms of ergonomics. The Russian conditions are harsher, and the market is much more volatile that the European one. Regretfully, the buying power rises and falls all the time. And now we are in yet another shrinking phase – in terms of the apartments’ floor space and the technology. Only because of the floor space alone our complex is marketed as comfort class. At the same time, the level of the architectural, engineering and design solutions, as well as the detailed work with landscape, façades, and public places, including the lobbies, the elevator halls, and such like, meets the world’s highest standards”.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Masterplan, draft © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

Reality Check

Over two years that have elapsed since the results of the competition were announced, the project has moved a good deal ahead. The construction of block #6 is underway, the other four being in the phase of detailed design and definition engineering. The Russian and the Dutch teams are in constant contact, handling arising issues together. The designers of KCAP and Orange are focused on the development of the architectural image, striving to keep up the purity and clarity of solution that the judging panel liked so much. The Dutch teams work methodically, dividing their sub-projects into phases, each of which is preceded by a survey, and justifying their solutions by analytics.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

Most of the solutions proposed in the competition concept proved efficient upon the detailed analysis but some of them did not pass the Russian reality check. The first thing that the architects had to give up in the beginning of their joint work on the project was changing the configuration of the construction blueprint and enlarging its size, which the Dutch proposed to do in their competition proposal “to harmonize the construction”. Then the developer for economic reasons decided to abandon the idea of the channels. This turned out to be a prohibitively expensive luxury for a housing complex that is officially marketed as “comfort class”. In connection with the specification of some of the clauses of the city’s town planning code, difficulties arose with getting the approvals for the maximum allowed height, including that of the golden spears.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

“During the development of the project and specifying its details, a lot of the solutions proposed by the Dutch team had to be altered in favor of the ideas that were originally proposed by “A.Len” from the very start – Sergey Oreshkin shares – And this was a natural thing to do because we have a better knowledge of our regulatory structure, and we took it into consideration all along. Besides, we are experienced in working on alluvial lands, and we know just what kind of design and engineering solutions must be used in such a project. All of our structures rest on 30-meter piles that in turn are based on the natural hard ground below. Everything that’s above that mark must be designed with regard to the fact that this land was actually washed up. If you are aware of it and if you know how to deal with it, it’s not really a problem but if you are oblivious of the fact, you are in for a whole number of risks”.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

In order to implement some of the key elements of the project, the architects oftentimes had to revise and improve their design and engineering solutions. For example, designing the units of the V-shaped columns which support the covered arcades running along the first floors of all of the buildings, the Russian proposal was to be revised in favor of the more elegant and aesthetically pleasing solution that the architects insisted upon, the Russian and the Dutch teams bring unanimous on this issue.

"Golden City" residential complex © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

The architects also had to find the design solution for the railing structures of the top floors of the towers, from which spring the “golden” asymmetrical spears and the structural “crowns”. The diagonal elements of the grilles, necessary both for the rigidity of the structure, and for purely aesthetic purposes, would slice the window apertures, and the Russian designers were to find the optimum solution for each joint, turning a beautiful picture into a no-frills technological draft.

"Golden City" residential complex © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

Rather serious changes had to be made to the floor plans of the buildings and apartments as well. In this respect, the team of “A.Len” also plays the leading part. Unlike their European colleagues, the Russian architects pay a great deal of attention to the orientation of the apartments, the insolation level, and the views that open up from the apartments’ windows, trying to smoothly distribute these qualities among the apartments within the limits of one floor. This approach is in fact inherited from the soviet design tradition but it is still relevant for the realities of the modern market economy, ensuring that there will be no non-sellers among the apartments.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

On the other hand, in terms of their architectural solution, clarity of technique, and the absence of “fuss” in working with the façades, the Dutch architects, according to Sergey Oreshkin, outdo their Russian colleagues: “The Dutch have a very keen eye for the purity of architectural lines. It’s hard to say what exactly is the reason for that – maybe their market is adequately developed or the specific education is really up to the mark – but they do very well realize that any fuss, something like a couple of unnecessary details or frontons, is just not architecture. This is equally applicable to the design code of the façade and the silhouette of the building. They chisel away the surplus. The problem is that, as is often the case in this country, we often see the author trying to use a pileup of different techniques and complex shapes as a coverup for his inability to achieve architectural harmony”.

The team also collectively selects the construction materials from suppliers and contractors. What the Dutch designers propose cannot always be implemented in Russia – not all of the materials are available on the market, and you cannot always be sure in the quality of those that you do get, and the practical knowledge of “A.Len” helps to substitute the conceptual solutions to visually similar ones that are at the same time just as dependable.

"Golden City" residential complex © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

In actuality, this, of course, is a whole different project now. The differences are considerable also on the level of the town planning solutions, and in terms of the volumetric composition. Which inevitability happens in the process of fine-tuning the competition project to reality anyway. What is amazing, however, is the fact that the international team was able to keep the original image and character of the project turning it into real sustainable architecture which did not lose a bit of its quality and preserved the message of the “sea façade” of Saint Petersburg – the purpose that all of the members of the project set two years ago.

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Building 2. THe facade in axes 1-23 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Section view 2-2 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Building 1, the underground floor © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Building 1, the 1st floor © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Building 1, the standard floor © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Building 2, the standard floor © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Building 1, the standard plan of the tower © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Building 2, the standard plan of the towers © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. Location plan © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. Landscaping plan © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. Development drawing along the designed 13th Street © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. Section view 2-2 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

"Golden City" residential complex. Block #6. Section view 1-1 © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len
"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. Plan of the parking lot © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len
"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. Plan of the standard floor © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len
"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. Plan of the standard floor of the tower © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len
"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. The facade in the axes 41'-1' © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len
"Golden City" residential complex. Block #7. The facade in the axes Ц-А © KCAP + ORANGE + A.Len

Ruurd Gietema
Jeroen Schipper
Patrick Meijers
Sergey Oreshkin
Glorax Golden City
Russia, St. Petersburg

2015 / 1.2018

14 May 2018

Headlines now
The Big Twelve
Yesterday, the winners of the Moscow Mayor’s Architecture Award were announced and honored. Let’s take a look at what was awarded and, in some cases, even critique this esteemed award. After all, there is always room for improvement, right?
Above the Golden Horn
The residential complex “Philosophy” designed by T+T architects in Vladivostok, is one of the new projects in the “Golubinaya Pad” area, changing its development philosophy (pun intended) from single houses to a comprehensive approach. The buildings are organized along public streets, varying in height and format, with one house even executed in gallery typology, featuring a cantilever leaning on an art object.
Nuanced Alternative
How can you rhyme a square and space? Easily! But to do so, you need to rhyme everything you can possibly think of: weave everything together, like in a tensegrity structure, and find your own optics too. The new exhibition at GES-2 does just that, offering its visitor a new perspective on the history of art spanning 150 years, infused with the hope for endless multiplicity of worlds and art histories. Read on to see how this is achieved and how the exhibition design by Evgeny Ace contributes to it.
Blinds for Ice
An ice arena has been constructed in Domodedovo based on a project by Yuri Vissarionov Architects. To prevent the long façade, a technical requirement for winter sports facilities, from appearing monotonous, the architects proposed the use of suspended structures with multidirectional slats. This design protects the ice from direct sunlight while giving the wall texture and detail.
Campus within a Day
In this article, we talk about what the participants of Genplan Institute of Moscow’s hackathon were doing at the MosComArchitecture booth at the “ArchMoscow” exhibition. We also discuss who won the prize and why, and what can be done with the territory of a small university on the outskirts of Moscow.
Vertical Civilization
Genpro considered the development of the vertical city concept and made it the theme of their pavilion at the “ArchMoscow” exhibition.
Marina Yegorova: “We think in terms of hectares, not square meters”
The career path of architect Marina Yegorova is quite impressive: MARHI, SPEECH, MosComArchitectura, the Genplan Institute of Moscow, and then her own architectural company. Its name Empate, which refers to the words “to draw” in Portuguese and “to empathize” in English, should not be misleading with its softness, as the firm freely works on different scales, including Integrated Territorial Development projects. We talked with Marina about various topics: urban planning experience, female leadership style, and even the love of architects for yachting.
Andrey Chuikov: “Optimum balance is achieved through economics”
The Yekaterinburg-based architectural company CNTR is in its mature stage: crystallization of principles, systematization, and standardization helped it make a qualitative leap, enhance competencies, and secure large contracts without sacrificing the aesthetic component. The head of the company, Andrey Chuikov, told us about building a business model and the bonuses that additional education in financial management provides for an architect.
The Fulcrum
Ostozhenka Architects have designed two astonishing towers practically on the edge of a slope above the Oka River in Nizhny Novgorod. These towers stand on 10-meter-tall weathered steel “legs”, with each floor offering panoramic views of the river and the city; all public spaces, including corridors, receive plenty of natural light. Here, we see a multitude of solutions that are unconventional for the residential routine of our day and age. Meanwhile, although these towers hark back to the typological explorations of the seventies, they are completely reinvented in a contemporary key. We admire Veren Group as the client – this is exactly how a “unique product” should be made – and we tell you exactly how our towers are arranged.
Crystal is Watching You
Right now, Museum Night has kicked off at the Museum of Architecture, featuring a fresh new addition – the “Crystal of Perception”, an installation by Sergey Kuznetsov, Ivan Grekov, and the KROST company, set up in the courtyard. It shimmers with light, it sings, it reacts to the approach of people, and who knows what else it can do.
The Secret Briton
The house is called “Little France”. Its composition follows the classical St. Petersburg style, with a palace-like courtyard. The decor is on the brink of Egyptian lotuses, neo-Greek acroteria, and classic 1930s “gears”; the recessed piers are Gothic, while the silhouette of the central part of the house is British. It’s quite interesting to examine all these details, attempting to understand which architectural direction they belong to. At the same time, however, the house fits like a glove in the context of the 20th line of St. Petersburg’s Vasilievsky Island; its elongated wings hold up the façade quite well.
The Wrap-Up
The competition project proposed by Treivas for the first 2021 competition for the Russian pavilion at EXPO 2025 concludes our series of publications on pavilion projects that will not be implemented. This particular proposal stands out for its detailed explanations and the idea of ecological responsibility: both the facades and the exhibition inside were intended to utilize recycled materials.
Birds and Streams
For the competition to design the Omsk airport, DNK ag formed a consortium, inviting VOX architects and Sila Sveta. Their project focuses on intersections, journeys, and flights – both of people and birds – as Omsk is known as a “transfer point” for bird migrations. The educational component is also carefully considered, and the building itself is filled with light, which seems to deconstruct the copper circle of the central entrance portal, spreading it into fantastic hyper-spatial “slices”.
Faraday Grid
The project of the Omsk airport by ASADOV Architects is another concept among the 14 finalists of a recent competition. It is called “The Bridge” and is inspired by both the West Siberian Exhibition of 1911 and the Trans-Siberian Railway bridge over the Irtysh River, built in 1896. On one hand, it carries a steampunk vibe, while on the other, there’s almost a sense of nostalgia for the heyday of 1913. However, the concept offers two variants, the second one devoid of nostalgia but featuring a parabola.
Midway upon the Journey of Our Life
Recently, Tatlin Publishing House released a book entitled “Architect Sergey Oreshkin. Selected Projects”. This book is not just a traditional book of the architectural company’s achievements, but rather a monograph of a more personal nature. The book includes 43 buildings as well as a section with architectural drawings. In this article, we reflect on the book as a way to take stock of an architect’s accomplishments.
Inverted Fortress
This year, there has been no shortage of intriguing architectural ideas around the Omsk airport. The project developed by the architectural company KPLN appeals to Omsk’s history as a wooden fortress that it was back in the day, but transforms the concept of a fortress beyond recognition: it “shaves off” the conical ends of “wooden logs”, then enlarges them, and then flips them over. The result is a hypostyle – a forest of conical columns on point supports, with skylights on top.
Transformation of Annenkirche
For Annenkirche (St. Anna Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg), Sergey Kuznetsov and the Kamen bureau have prepared a project that relies on the principles of the Venice Charter: the building is not restored to a specific date, historical layers are preserved, and modern elements do not mimic the authentic ones. Let’s delve into the details of these solutions.
The Paradox of the Temporary
The concept of the Russian pavilion for EXPO 2025 in Osaka, proposed by the Wowhaus architects, is the last of the six projects we gathered from the 2022 competition. It is again worth noting that the results of this competition were not finalized due to the cancellation of Russia’s participation in World Expo 2025. It should be mentioned that Wowhaus created three versions for this competition, but only one is being presented, and it can’t be said that this version is thoroughly developed – rather, it is done in the spirit of a “student assignment”. Nevertheless, the project is interesting in its paradoxical nature: the architects emphasized the temporary character of the pavilion, and in its bubble-like forms sought to reflect the paradoxes of space and time.
The Forum of Time
The competition project for the Russian Pavilion at EXPO 2025 in Osaka designed by Aleksey Orlov and Arena Project Institute consists of cones and conical funnels connected into a non-trivial composition, where one can feel the hand of architects who have worked extensively with stadiums and other sports facilities. It’s very interesting to delve into its logic, structurally built on the theme of clocks, hourglasses and even sundials. Additionally, the architects have turned the exhibition pavilion into a series of interconnected amphitheaters, which is also highly relevant for world exhibitions. We are reminding you that the competition results were never announced.
Mirrors Everywhere
The project by Sergey Nebotov, Anastasia Gritskova, and the architectural company “Novoe” was created for the Russian pavilion at EXPO 2025, but within the framework of another competition, which, as we learned, took place even earlier, in 2021. At that time, the competition theme was “digital twins”, and there was minimal time for work, so the project, according to the architect himself, was more of a “student assignment”. Nevertheless, this project is interesting for its plan bordering on similarity with Baroque projects and the emblem of the exhibition, as well as its diverse and comprehensive reflectiveness.
The Steppe Is Full of Beauty and Freedom
The goal of the exhibition “Dikoe Pole” (“Wild Field”) at the State Historical Museum was to move away from the archaeological listing of valuable items and to create an image of the steppe and nomads that was multidirectional and emotional – in other words, artistic. To achieve this goal, it was important to include works of contemporary art. One such work is the scenography of the exhibition space developed by CHART studio.
The Snowstorm Fish
The next project from the unfinished competition for the Russian Pavilion at EXPO 2025, which will be held in Osaka, Japan, is by Dashi Namdakov and Parsec Architects. The pavilion describes itself as an “architectural/sculptural” one, with its shape clearly reminiscent of abstract sculpture of the 1970s. It complements its program with a meditative hall named “Mendeleev’s Dreams”, and offers its visitors to slide from its roof at the end of the tour.
The Mirror of Your Soul
We continue to publish projects from the competition for the design of the Russian Pavilion at EXPO in Osaka 2025. We are reminding you that the results of the competition have not been announced, and hardly will ever be. The pavilion designed by ASADOV Architects combines a forest log cabin, the image of a hyper transition, and sculptures made of glowing threads – it focuses primarily on the scenography of the exhibition, which the pavilion builds sequentially like a string of impressions, dedicating it to the paradoxes of the Russian soul.
Part of the Ideal
In 2025, another World Expo will take place in Osaka, Japan, in which Russia will not participate. However, a competition for the Russian pavilion was indeed held, with six projects participating. The results were never announced as Russia’s participation was canceled; the competition has no winners. Nevertheless, Expo pavilion projects are typically designed for a bold and interesting architectural statement, so we’ve gathered all the six projects and will be publishing articles about them in random order. The first one is the project by Vladimir Plotkin and Reserve Union, which is distinguished by the clarity of its stereometric shape, the boldness of its structure, and the multiplicity of possible interpretations.
The Fortress by the River
ASADOV Architects have developed a concept for a new residential district in the center of Kemerovo. To combat the harsh climate and monotonous everyday life, the architects proposed a block type of development with dominant towers, good insolation, facades detailed at eye level, and event programming.
In the Rhombus Grid
Construction has begun on the building of the OMK (United Metallurgical Company) Corporate University in Nizhny Novgorod’s town of Vyksa, designed by Ostozhenka Architects. The most interesting aspect of the project is how the architects immersed it in the context: “extracting” a diagonal motif from the planning grid of Vyksa, they aligned the building, the square, and the park to match it. A truly masterful work with urban planning context on several different levels of perception has long since become the signature technique of Ostozhenka.
​Generational Connection
Another modern estate, designed by Roman Leonidov, is located in the Moscow region and brings together three generations of one family under one roof. To fit on a narrow plot without depriving anyone of personal space, the architects opted for a zigzag plan. The main volume in the house structure is accentuated by mezzanines with a reverse-sloped roof and ceilings featuring exposed beams.
Three Dimensions of the City
We began to delve into the project by Sergey Skuratov, the residential complex “Depo” in Minsk, located at Victory Square, and it fascinated us completely. The project has at least several dimensions to it: historical – at some point, the developer decided to discontinue further collaboration with Sergey Skuratov Architects, but the concept was approved, and its implementation continues, mostly in accordance with the proposed ideas. The spatial and urban planning dimension – the architects both argue with the city and play along with it, deciphering nuances, and finding axes. And, finally, the tactile dimension – the constructed buildings also have their own intriguing features. Thus, this article also has two parts: it dwells on what has been built and what was conceived
New “Flight”
Architects from “Mezonproject” have developed a project for the reconstruction of the regional youth center “Polyot”(“Flight”) in the city of Oryol. The summer youth center, built back in the late 1970s, will now become year-round and acquire many additional functions.
The Yauza Towers
In Moscow, there aren’t that many buildings or projects designed by Nikita Yavein and Studio 44. In this article, we present to you the concept of a large multifunctional complex on the Yauza River, located between two parks, featuring a promenade, a crossroads of two pedestrian streets, a highly developed public space, and an original architectural solution. This solution combines a sophisticated, asymmetric façade grid, reminiscent of a game of fifteen puzzle, and bold protrusions of the upper parts of the buildings, completely masking the technical floors and sculpting the complex’s silhouette.