По-русски

​PRO-apartments: Diversity through Parametrization

The Kiev-based architectural company ARKHIMATIKA has developed a new standard for the apartment floor plans used in housing projects: their “PRO-apartments” make every square meter of the floor space useful and become one of the prerequisites for comfortable housing construction.

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:
Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

11 May 2018
Overview
mainImg
The tedious work on designing detailed floor plans scares a lot of architectural firms away, in spite of the fact that these days this task is just as important as designing the façades – i.e. giving identity to the mass housing construction. ARKHIMATIKA was not in the least daunted by the scale of the task, and developed a new standard for apartment floor plans – the PRO-apartments.

The super task that the architects set for themselves could be put in this nutshell: “so many families, so many floor plans”. To achieve that task, ARKHIMATIKA came up with the basic types of apartments that at the expense of optional elements can be fine-tuned indefinitely to fit the needs of a specific buyer. At the same time, the inner space is organized in such an efficient way that every square meter works.



As a starting point, the architects dissected the apartment into “morphemes” – the basic functional zones. It turned out that there were eleven of these: kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom, study, anteroom, wardrobe, bathroom, utilitarian closet and the washing machine space, fresh air zone (balconies and stanzas), and the FREE-zone – a free space for yoga practice, dancing and kids’ games.

Zoning © ARKHIMATIKA


Then the architects defined what types of households and residents there were out there: single and married, young couples, families with kids, three-generation families, and so on. For each type, they developed several floor plans with a corresponding “scenario”, meaning the ratio of the functional zones. Due to the fact that different families of the same type may have different needs – some may want a spacious children’s room, some may want a large dining room and a comfortable study, and so on – altering these functional zones, the architects came up with floor plan subtypes.

Two-bedroom PRO-apartment of a 2XS size © ARKHIMATIKA


The architects compare this to the experience of buying a new car: “just like we choose the class of the car and its configuration, studying its manual with all the information about all of the car’s parameters – this was the way that we dissected the apartment by its parameters” – they say.

"Faina Town" housing complex, the 1st stage © ARKHIMATIKA


Before getting down to the actual design process, the company conducts an opinion poll among the potential buyers, finding out what specific parameters of the apartment they need, paying particular attention to the family’s lifestyle. Ultimately, the architects get a buyers’ matrix, on the basis of which they decide what kind of apartments, with what parameters, and in what numbers will be there in the new building. Each PRO-apartment – says the director of ARKHIMATIKA Alexander Popov – goes 100% home in terms of the family's demography, budget, and lifestyle.

The square footage of PRO-apartments ranges from 17 to 200 square meters. The apartments are classified not by the number of rooms but by the number of bedrooms: from a studio to a four-bedroom apartment. Further, they are divided into classes. For the sake of convenience, the international classification of clothes size is used: XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL. The higher the class, the more widely the functional zones are represented.

Classification of PRO-apartments © ARKHIMATIKA


For example, in a one-bedroom apartment, as we move from XS to XL (from 28 to 90 square meters), a shower cabin will be at some point replaced by a full-fledged bath; a large dining table, a working place, a wardrobe, and a full-fledged kitchen will appear. The apartments with a larger number of bedrooms are getting such “bonuses” as a large bathroom or a wardrobe with a window, and a master-bedroom, which is essentially a bedroom with a direct access to an individual bathroom, a free zone, and a terrace.

Single-bedroom PRO-apartment of a 1XS size © ARKHIMATIKA


Single-bedroom PRO-apartment of a 1XL size © ARKHIMATIKA


ARKHIMATIKA takes special pride in three-bedroom apartments that are practically not built anywhere else in Kiev now.

Three-bedroom PRO-apartment of a 3L size © ARKHIMATIKA


Also, the architects were able to help the two-level floor plans recover their charm and popularity: these are commonly known as poor sellers because “it’s inconvenient having to go up and down the staircase”. However, in the loving hands of ARKHIMATIKA they turned into “villas” on the top floors, with an area of 100-200 square meters, a panoramic view, and a cozy little yard/terrace of their own upon the roof.

Three-bedroom PRO-apartment of a 3XL size © ARKHIMATIKA


Getting back to the smaller PRO-apartments, one must note that their floor plans also provide for the scenarios of family development: if a baby is on the way, there will be a place for the cot. When the child has grown, it is suggested that he or she moves to the bedroom, while the parents move to the studio space of the living/dining room. But then again, the architects hope that this solution will be temporary and applicable until the entire family moves to a two-bedroom apartment!

Single-bedroom PRO-apartment of a 1S size © ARKHIMATIKA


"Faina Town" housing complex, the 1st stage © ARKHIMATIKA


If the buyer is baffled by this variety, the developer’s sales department will help him or her make sense of the numerous floor plans with the manual named “Passport of the Functional Use of the Apartment”, which the architects created. It includes a slip with the floor plan and the functional zones of the apartment, which are color-marked. Also, the technical passport contains two characteristic parameters:

1. Functional front – the total length of the furniture that stands in a conditional horizontal line. It visually shows such linear zones as wardrobe and the kitchen front, as well as other zones, which allows the buyer to compare them with one another.

2. Functional space – the floor space of the furniture and other equipment necessary for a certain function, as well as the floor space necessary for its usage. The total functional area of all of the apartment’s zones may exceed the actual physical floor space – due to the fact that one and the same space can be used for different functions. It must be noted at this point that the arrangement of the furniture in the PRO-apartments is not “carved in stone” – the buyers are also given several options to choose from. Due to the fact that the architects use furniture of standard dimensions, the absolute majority of the floor plans are rectangular, and changes can be made without any significant damage to the efficiency.

Zoning of the PRO-apartments © ARKHIMATIKA


The sales department performs yet another function – it gets the customer feedback, thus making the whole selling process truly interactive. The ARKHIMATIKA catalogues currently include about two hundred planning options, this number growing with each new project. When a new option comes around, the architects compare it to the closest-in-the-line PRO-apartment of a smaller square footage. If the extra meters do indeed yield some extra comfort, this planning option gets a PRO status; if not, it is subject to revision.

Such diversity of planning options makes the design process more complex and expensive but, as Alexander Popov claims, this does not affect the price of the PRO-apartments. ARKHIMATIKA is able to keep up its standards even with economy class housing construction. For instance, the “Pasechny” housing project in the city of Lviv (where the real property prices are almost exactly half again as little as they are in Kiev) nevertheless consists of PRO-apartments.

"Pasechny" housing complex © ARKHIMATIKA


Still, building a house with such an insane number of floor planning options is much more difficult than duplicating one standard section: the framework is growing much more complex, and you need to install doors and windows of different sizes. Implementing such a project would be impossible without a highly organized and professional building contractor. ARKHIMATIKA was the first to implement its approach with the building company KAN, with which the architects have been working for more than twelve years now, and with which they have built a dozen of projects.

The architects of ARKHIMATIKA came to the idea of optimizing the floor plans in 2015 when they developed for KAN a small series of SMART-apartments in the housing project named “Comfort Town”; these were optimally planned but small apartments. Then, developing this idea, the architects came to a conclusion that the principle of functional usage of each square meter is also relevant for large areas of residential property – and this is how the PRO-apartments came about.

Today, in addition to the 40-hectare super-city-block “Faina Town” (KAN), in which he architects had the opportunity for presenting virtually the entire line of PRO-apartments, 7 more housing projects are being built, in which the floor plans were developed on the basis of the PRO concept, in collaboration with KAN: “Respublika” and the last stage of “Comfort Town”, in collaboration with bUd development: “Slavutich 2.0” and “Time” in Kiev, and, last but not least, in Lviv, in collaboration with the company “Vash Dom” (“Your Home”), the housing complex “Pasechny”.

zooming
"Slavutich" housing complex © ARKHIMATIKA


"Time" housing complex © ARKHIMATIKA


The PRO-apartments are but one of the components of the PRO-housing concept, which, as the architects believe, must one day replace what they call “the discomfort class”: the faceless, inconvenient, and human-incompatible housing. Here are other principles that ARKHIMATIKA sticks to while creating the “new generation” housing:
  • PRO-façades
The housing architecture, in addition to solving all the utilitarian tasks, from sewage disposal and heat retention to installing air conditioning units, must express the identity of each house and each city block in such a way that the residents could proudly post selfies made against the background of their house, and the tourist would include walks through these residential areas into their tourist routes.
  • PRO-parking lots
In a multimillion city, there will always be a lack of space, and, therefore, a car that occupies a lot of space is too much of a luxury. This is why parking space – a part of the city territory eaten up by an immobile car – must always be paid for, both on the municipal land and on the territory of the housing complex.
  • PRO-semiprivate
The public space of an urban multi-apartment house must be much larger than just the entrance to the hallway and the corridor with apartment doors; it must also provide all of the functions that are otherwise financially inefficient being placed inside the apartment, from a coworking area for the adults and a playground for children to a swimming pool and a spa center. 
  • PRO-city blocks
Strewn with residential buildings, the windswept field of a “micro-district” (a soviet term) must remain in the XX century where it belongs. The XXI century is reviving as its main urban planning unit the “good old” city block. However, this will not be the literal replica of the city block of the XIX century: it will not have the “dungeon” yards and the contrast between the grand splendor of the street façade and the utilitarian bleakness or the inside yard side. This is the new quality of open and semi-open spaces, public and semiprivate alike, which create the optimum building conditions both for apartments and public functions.

The ARKHIMATIKA projects prove that the mass housing construction can indeed be humanize as early as today, in spite of all the norms and limitations, and without much apprehension about the “harsh market realities”, and even increasing the sales – because the diverse line of offers also works great as a marketing technique, adding “extra points” to the housing project and extra popularity to the architects that designed it.

11 May 2018

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:

Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
Vladimir Plotkin: “Our profession is complex, vulnerable, and sometimes defenseless against...
As part of the editorial project devoted to the high-rise and high-density construction that Moscow is seeing in recent years, we spoke to the leading architect of CU Reserve Vladimir Plotkin, the author of many grand-scale – and high-profile – buildings of this city. We spoke about an architect’s role and his tasks in the mega-construction process, about the drive of the megalopolis, about the strong sides of mixed and multifunctional construction, and about the methods of organizing big forms.
Upping the Stakes
The concept of a housing complex in Samara from T+T Architects: a new landmark in the cityscape, view of the Zhiguli Mountains, and VR technologies.
The Book Sanctuary
Reconstructed and renovated by Studio 44, the building of Vladimir Mayakovsky Public Library received modern technical content, at the same time becoming closer to its authentic image from the times when it was part of the compound of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.
​Foothills and Peaks
Developed by OSA, the concept of revitalization of the territory of Stankoagregat plant combines two scales: extreme-high towers and relatively “human-friendly” urban villas. In the conditions of ultra-dense construction, this solution makes it possible to vacate territories for public spaces and trees, as well as adapt the project for the conditions of the changing market.
City in the Stream
The books by Genplan Institute of Moscow, published for the Institute’s 70th anniversary and for the coinciding exhibition, are the most amazing three-volume edition that I ever saw: the books are totally different, yet packed in one box. This, on the other hand, is justified by the specifics of each of the volumes, the diversity of approaches to processing information used in them, and the complexity of the material as such: town planning is a multifaceted science, bordering on art.
Stop the [special operetion]!
The collective letter Russian architects was published here the 26.02.2022. Now, 04.03.2022, it's text is edited according the new law of the Russian Federation. All the signatures, more than 6800, are deleted, as well as weblinks. But we coserved the edited text for the history.
​Shape of the Winery
In this article, we are telling you more about the development of the shape and the implementation of the “Skalisty Bereg” (“Rocky Shore”) winery, designed by Alexander Balabin and his company “Severin-Project” in the Krasnodar Territory, and one of the finalists of WAF 2021.
​An Architectural Reality Show
Roman Leonidov, the well-known architect of luxury countryside residences, about which Archi.ru repeatedly wrote, launched a new online project called “Build YOUR House” on his YouTube channel.
​Buyan and the Court Quarter
The news about cancellation of the Tuchkov Buyan park has been stirring the minds of people of St. Petersburg for a week already. In the absence of any verified specific information, we discussed the situation with the architects of the park and the Court Quarter: Nikita Yavein and Evgeny Gerasimov.
​The Possibility of Flight
The project of the airport, which ASADOV Architects developed for the city of Tobolsk, and which won in the architectural competition, was not implemented. However, it is interesting as an example of designing an airport building of a very small scale, where the main challenge is the optimal organization of space and infrastructure without compromising the imagery component.
​The Wavelength
Built in the town of Pushkino in the Moscow area, the “Turgeneva 13” housing complex, while fitting in with the surrounding context, differs from it with the rhythmic austerity of its dual composition, a slight wave of the façade, and the color design, in which one can see two images, winter and summer, both “growing” from the specifics of the place.
​A Shell by the Sea
Designing the Sports Palace that will determine the development of the entire northern part of Derbent, ASADOV Architects turned to the architectural legacy of Dagestan, local lore, and ancient layers of history.
​Christmas Skyscrapers
Karen Saprichyan is wishing everyone a merry Christmas, presenting a series of letter-shaped skyscrapers. The architect has long since been working on this theme, and has calendars of various years in stock. His latest development is a group of towers designed for the city of NEOM, which will be built in Saudi Arabia.
​Parade Order
The three brick blocks of the “River Park” housing complex gaze at the water with their terraces. Each block forms a backdrop and two wings, while the residents-only yards turn into “stages” perceived from the river. The landscaped embankment, accessible to all the city people, complements the hierarchy of private, semi-private and public city life that is formed here.
Pompidou Inside Out
Renzo Piano and his GES-2 have already been compared to Ridolfo Aristotele Fioravanti and his Cathedral of the Assumption. And for a good reason: GES-2 also stuns you with its grace and loftiness, but ultimately turns out to be the richest collection of recognizable motifs from an early masterpiece by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the George Pompidou Center in Paris. These motifs are fused into the grid of Shukhov-esque structures, painted white, and they create a dialogue between 1910, 1971, and 2021, built on references (not devoid of a poster-like quality) to the main masterpiece. The basilica-shaped space of the former power station is taken apart virtually just like the museum, in accordance with the concept by Teresa Mavica.
​Next to Lidval and Nobel
The housing complex designed by Anatoly Stolyarchuk in Neishlotsky Alley: tactful change of scale, tribute to the memory of the place, Finnish additions to the functional typology – specifically, saunas in the apartments – and plans for receiving a BREEAM certificate.
​And stabbed it with a knife
The leader of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Wolf D. Prix, presented three projects that he is currently doing in Russia: a complex in Sevastopol, Crimea, which, as it turned out, a western architect could build bypassing the sanctions, because this is a cultural project; a museum and theater center in Kemerovo, and the “SKA Arena”, which is built in the stead of the destroyed Sports and Concert Complex in St. Petersburg – during the presentation the latter was symbolized by a round cake that the architect eventually cut.
​The Thin Matter
The house named “Medny 3.14” (“Copper 3.14”) is composed of two textures, each of which resembles in its own way some kind of precious fabric, and of three units, each of which is oriented towards one cardinal point. The architecture of the house absorbs the nuances of the context, summing them up and turning them into a single rhythmic structure. In this article, we are examining the new, just-completed, house designed by Sergey Skuratov in Donskaya Street.
​Super Pergola
The new business center built in Moscow’s district of Presnya in the 1st Zemelny Lane is all about technology and sustainability. Its streamlined shapes and white facade grid are combined with a new version of vertical greenery: the green of wild grapes, placed at a distance from the facade, instead of arguing with the “pergola” grid, sets it off by contrast.
​Lightness of Being
Blooming Sakura, a campfire party, kids splashing in a swimming pool – no, these are not pictures from a vacation, but everyday life going on in the yards of Kiev’s housing complex “Fayna Town”. In this issue, we are examining how the utopia designed by the architects is wired, and what they did to make it a reality.
​A Triangular Folded Structure
The project of the new terminal of the Muraviev-Amursky airport in Blagoveshchensk offers architecture based on a modular form – endowed with a special imagery, it becomes the basis both for the carrying structures of the building and the plastique of the facade, at the same time reverberating in the interior design.
​The Breath of the East
Designing a residential complex for Tashkent, GENPRO is turning to traditional architecture and modern trends, aiming at emotionality and efficiency: the panjar window lattices and mishrabias are neighboring on vertical greenery and parametric ornaments, while the theme buildings do on a cotton alley and an oriental bazaar.
​The Openwork XX-Construction Set
The yard of the Architecture Museum on Moscow’s Vozdvizhenka hosts an installation by DNK ag. It is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the company, and was originally presented at Arch Moscow. The art object is expected to stay in the yard of the museum for one year and set a new tradition – a regularly renewed exhibition project called “Modern Architecture in the yard of MUAR”.
The Spinning Vibe
The pavilion designed by Sergey Tchoban for the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai is a bright and integral architectural statement, whose imagery can be traced back to avant-garde graphic experiments by Jacob Chernikhov, but allows for multiple interpretations. The pavilion looks both like a dome temple, a spinning “Planet Russia”, and the head of a matryoshka doll. Still more interestingly, the core of the exposition is a “brain”. In this article, we take a closer look at the interpretations and the subtleties of the implementation.
Tolerant Aesthetics of Terraforming
The World Expo is a gigantic event; it is difficult to give it one definition or cover it at a glance. All the more so – such an ambitious and record-breaking fair as the one that is now open in Dubai despite all the pandemic restrictions. By no means claiming to present an all-rounded review, we are making an attempt to examine Expo 2020, where signs of aesthetic tolerance of a developer project begin to loom behind the imposing-looking “wings” of “star” architects and delights from space exploration.
The Town in the Snuff-box
The new academic building of Cooperation School in Moscow’s Taganka, designed and built by ASADOV Architects, is a compact volume, at the same time filled with functions and impressions. It easily combines classrooms, a theater, a cafeteria, a gym, and a double-height atrium with an open library and an exit to the terrace – virtually everything that you expect to see in a modern school.