In the project of the settlement with a telltale name of “Rafinad” (which literally translates as "Sugar Cubes"), located in the Khimki district of the Moscow area, PANACOM architects came up with the kind of housing that is versatile, human-friendly, and comfortable.
Written by: Lara Kopylova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
18 April 2018
“Sewing seven hats out of a piece of sheepskin”
The task was to take the allotted 12 hectares and stuff them with as many apartments and parking places as possible, or, as the founder and chief architect of PANACOM, Arseniy Leonovich puts it, “sew seven hats from a small piece of sheepskin”. And the architects were able to do just that, proposing diverse façade designs and apartment layouts, designing various infrastructure projects, a bridge over the river, and a community center, combining human-friendly territory organization with art objects and a fitness promenade. The overall result is an exquisite project, its style probably best described as elegant retro modernism of the “pre-Strelka” epoch. There is no system of city blocks or streets here, the buildings being positioned in accordance with what might be called “seaside resort” principle amidst groves and meadows – which at once puts one in the relaxed kind of mood.
The traditional evening glass of kefir
Svistukha is a place remarkable in itself. One can still see the remains of the Stalin-era health resort here, almost exactly the kind that you will see in the “Volga-Volga” classic black-and-white Soviet movie – it feels as though the next minute you will see the characters in white pajamas sitting on the verandas of this health resort enjoying their evening glass of kefir.
As for the trees that were already there on the site, the architects tried to keep most of them intact, although they did not have much hope that all of these trees would survive the construction process. Not far away from “Rafinad”, there is a village named Trakhoneevo. Back in the day, it belonged to a son of the Greek Trachaniot who came to Russia in 1472 with the bride of Ivan the 3rd, Sophia Paleolog (Greek: Ζωή Σοφία Παλαιολογίνα).
The signature fish figures as homage to the Gio Ponti Tower
Six fish-shaped houses are aligned along the riverside; still a little further on, there are five doubled towers and four blocks consisting of three towers each. All these buildings are human-proportionate, 7-8 stories tall. The apartments have terraces in them, while the “fish” buildings sport penthouses with green roofs. The architects were able to design these attributes of luxury as being quite budget-friendly – the anticipated cost of one square meter is 65 thousand rubles. But then again, the project has not been implemented yet, and the developer is putting the price on hold. The independently standing “fish” houses are PANACOM’s trademark technique running from one project to another. This form was partially inspired by the cutaway corners of the glass Gio Ponti Tower next to the Milano Centrale Railway Station. In actuality, however, things are still more complex than that. This type of layout is a favorite with PANACOM architects: the central staircase nucleus and apartments grouped around it. The architects developed this type of floor plan a few years ago, and since then it was implemented in a number of projects with different numbers of apartments. “This type of planning, one with a staircase in the middle and a short corridor, is extremely advantageous for future investment” – Arseniy Leonovich says .
Sugar cubes on a green meadow
The client took a long time coming up with the right name for the project. “At first, we tried to put an interesting spin on the form of the land site and find natural associations – Arseniy Leonovich shares – We also recommended to maybe pay attention to the architecture of the buildings: our white cubical houses do look like sugar cubes. This is how the name of “Rafinad” came about. This name very accurately conveys the image: white cubes on green meadows. When you see the pristine design of the façades dominated by horizontals, the avant-garde glass corners, the white sunken-in lower tier, thanks to which the buildings look as though they were hovering in the air, you think of the early romantic modernism.
Landscaping and art objects
The clusters of houses are organized around their own recreational areas: five clustered houses around one, three – around another, each house having a territory of its own. The parking lots are placed around the edges of the settlement, so as to free the “meadow” yards from vehicles. The landscaping idea is based on curvilinear shapes, which enhances the “seaside resort” effect: among the trees and shrubs, there run pedestrian boardwalks and bicycle trails. The pedestrian bridge thrown over the river leads to the school with a sports field. The individuality of the spaces is enhanced by art objects placed in each recreational zone. The waterfront is equipped with a fashionable glass railing, and there is a sports promenade running alongside the river.
French windows and grass roofs
The authors did everything they could to diversify and humanize the living environment, the façades, and the layouts. Different options for wall covering were invented: from stucco applied upon the heating agent to Russian-made brick and wood imitating panels. The “fish” houses are more expensive; they overlook the river. The studios have stanza balconies, while the two and three room apartments have terraces with great views, both of them – with glass railings. Terraces are essentially a luxury in the Russian conditions, and the very fact of their presence in a comfort-class housing project is a great tendency, of which one could only wish to spread more.
The result is a great “intelligent” project very much in the spirit of housing projects of the Northern Europe with great human-friendly spaces, comfortable housing density, and a reasonable price achieved at the expense of a lot of intellectual and creative effort.
18 April 2018
A High-Rise Erector Set
In this article, we are examining one of the projects submitted for a closed-door competition for a housing complex to be built in the north of Moscow. The KPLN architects proposed a simple volumetric pair of 100 meter high towers, united by a common sculptural design based on laconic contrast, yet dramatic at the same time. Another interesting thing is an oval yard that is “carved out” in the stylobate roof.
The Leisure Culture
In the new extra building of the Klyazma resort center, whose project was developed by KPLN, the aesthetics of Soviet modernist architecture is combined with modern ideas of how leisure activities should be organized.
The White Grove
This project by “Ginzburg Architects” scored first place in the international competition for a draft project of a Cathedral Mosque in Kazan, dedicated to the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam in Volga Bulgaria. The concept of a “white garden”, which the architects presented in modern shapes, interprets the rules and notions of Islam and refers to historical figures. Below, we are examining the project in detail.
The eccentric shape of this thin slab that expands upwards is not a formal gesture but the UNK architects’ response to the site’s requirements and the technical and economic performance specifications. The solutions are modernist, cost-effective, and functional. The building is terraced, the side ends are accentuated with a “slab” shift, and the wide facades are composed of triangular bay windows.
The Shelter of a Digital Wanderer
The apartment hotel that GAFA designed for the central district of Moscow offers its guests living the habitual routine through a new spatial experience, and claims the status of a new landmark as well.
The Takeoff of a Multifunctional Approach
ASADOV architects presented a concept of developing the old airport in Rostov-on-Don. A four kilometer long boulevard stretching in the stead of the former runway and the block housing, multiplied by a wide range of business and public functions, possibly including the governmental one, will allow this area to claim the role of a new attraction point with a high level of self-sufficiency.
A Ringlet Bridge
The project of a pedestrian bridge, proposed by the architectural company ATRIUM, headed by Vera Butko and Anton Nadtochiy, for the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, became the winner of the A+A Awards organized by the Architizer portal in the “Unbuilt Transportation” nomination. The bridge is indeed a stunner: a “hanging garden” in concrete tubs of columns, suspended over a city highway, is fitted with ringlets of wooden ramps, which in the bridge’s key point form an element of national ornament.
Consistency of the Method
Marking its 35th anniversary, Reserve Union (officially named OOO TPO Reserve in Russia) used the venue of the Arch Moscow convention to showcase its hitherto unannounced projects. We asked Vladimir Plotkin a few questions, and we are showing a few pictures – without any captions yet.
Julia Tryaskina: “Modern public interiors are about the super-goal, not about unnecessary...
The new IPI Award for design of public interiors considers the projects from the point of view of today’s trends of the modern world, and even broader – from the point of view of a super-goal set by the client and achieved by the architect. In this article, we are speaking to the initiator of the award: about the specifics of rating the projects, about the priorities, fears, and hopes.
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.
Alexander Kolontai: “The competition revealed the potential of Moscow as a global city”
An interview with the deputy director of the Genplan Institute of Moscow about the international competition for the concept of development of the nation’s capital and the territories that it annexed in 2012. The competition took place 10 years ago, and this year we are seeing its anniversary, just as the anniversary of changing the boundaries of the capital city.
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.
In Tune with Mendelsohn
The “Kersten House” standing next to the “Krasnoye Znamya” (“Red Banner”) factory fits in with the tactful course adopted by Anatoly Stolyarchuk studio: it allows of no historical stylization, yet at the same time is quite respectful of the surrounding context.
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.
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.
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.
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.