По-русски

​The Red Park

Wowhaus turned a park in the center of Moscow into a great space for recreation and outdoor activities where everyone will find a place for himself by following red guiding marks.

Elena Petukhova

Written by:
Elena Petukhova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

03 May 2018
Object
mainImg

The story of reorganizing the “Kransogvardeiskie Prudy” park is typical for the practice of Wowhaus, which has been into improving city spaces and recreational areas for about ten years now. There is meticulous work and there is deadline pressure, there is struggling with the harsh realities of the Russian construction industry and overcoming the challenges of the climatic cataclysms. However, this work also leaves plenty of room for creativity, which makes it all worth it.
 
Three Ponds of Memories
 
Located west of the Moscow City business center, this cluster of a few green areas is definitely not on the top of Moscow parks list. Nevertheless, the new trends have finally reached this place as well: the park “Krasnaya Presnya”, which the city inherited from the Studenets-Gagarins estate, has already been reformed and landscaped. Historically, the “Krasnogvardeiskie Prudy” park is one of its parts, even though today it looks more like a green boulevard – as a matter of fact, the street running along the western border of the park is called “Krasnogvardeiskiy Boulevard”.
 
The three ponds that once gave the name to the park, were dug out in the early XVIII century. The biggest one (called “Nizhny”, meaning “the lower”) is squeezed between the 1st Krasnogvardeiskiy and the Shmitovsky drives. The two other ponds are located to the north of this one – their green zone, averaging 70 meters, stops at the Zvenigorod Highway. During the soviet time, the ponds were clad in concrete casing, which was rather convenient for the ducks and the anglers. The park was intended for the local use: it had neither amusement rides nor heritage sites in it that would draw crowds from the outside. One could compare it to a slightly hyperbolic yard that was spilling over its boundaries – it was a haunt of moms going for walks with go carts and toddlers, pensioners from the surrounding houses, and the local youngsters who would periodically raise a racket here.
 
Vox Populi
 
In 2015, the Department of Culture and the management of “Krasnaya Presnya” decided to include the “Kransogvardeiskie Ponds” into the sphere of influence of the new park policy and invited for developing the project Wowhaus architects, known for their ability to not only uncover the potential of various venues but also involve the future users to the creation of the program, using the methodology of social and cultural programming.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. View of the Moscow City through the Upper Pond © WOWHAUS
Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. Analysis of the original situation © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. Analysis of the problem spots © WOWHAUS

 
To collect and analyze the design information, the architects invited their steady partners in that field – KB23. The sociological survey proved the desire of the local residents to keep the intimate character of the park. “The poll data made us us reconsider some of our preliminary solutions – shares the chief architect of Wowhaus, Daria Ionova (Melnik), who curated the project of reconstructing the “Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds” – Parents and their little kids, and the senior citizens that usually go for walks here, were not so much in need of some spectacular amusement rides or other noisy activities as children’s playgrounds, sports fields, and places for quiet rest and recreation”.
 
The Red Entrance

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
As far as the starting point was concerned, the architects used the main entrance from the side of the Zvenigorod Highway: at this point, the width of the park reaches its minimum – about 62 meters, so, from the side of the highway this place looked just like a rather unkempt piece of parkland. 
 
It was also necessary to accentuate the entrance, and the architects of Wowhaus flanked it with two black-and-red pavilions connected by an openwork pergola that encompasses a cluster of preserved trees. The resulting structure is strikingly different from the stylized decorative portals that have recently adorned the entrances to the numerous Moscow parks – these pavilions are not meant to imitate some sort of holiday, their function being much more honest and utilitarian: one can have here a cup of coffee, rent a scooter or buy a book to read in the park. They signify an entrance to a territory that was designed and built for people.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
Five Parks Instead of Just One
 
The information about the life of the park, specifically, its terrain, ponds, and greenery, as well as the surrounding buildings, prompted an unconventional solution: the authors decided to refrain from the idea of working with this territory “from beginning to end” and fractured it into several fragments with different functions and different approaches to infrastructure and landscape design.

zooming
Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. Plan of the functional and stylistic organization of the territory © WOWHAUS


zooming
Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. Masterplan © WOWHAUS

 
Children’s Paradise
 
The zone situated immediately behind the entrance is occupied by sports fields and family recreation venues; the architects preserved the natural character of the park as much as possible here. The gem of this zone is the already-famous “playground in the trees”, something like a cross between a fairy tale castle and a rope park. A few differently sized little houses connected by boardwalks and ladders are mounted on tree trunks and special columns. The project got into the spotlight of all the architectural and city media long before it was implemented, which comes as no surprise – this sci-fi playground was created with the input from the architects who had previously designed the children’s club “Koni na Balkone” (“Horses on the Balcony”), and these architects used their own experience in involving children in the creative process of designing the exciting game environment. There are no preset scenarios here, the children themselves deciding what games to play, and how. Some families specifically come from far away specially for this playground.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
The next zone is the territory around the Upper Pond, also treated in the natural key, with a boardwalk. The third fragment – located between the Upper and the Middle ponds – is designed as a regular park with a central promenade, flowerbeds, a few pavilions, an amphitheater around the dance floor, and also a small square, the center of which, according to the architects’ proposal, is the local curiosity – the “October Days” monument.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. The central promenade © WOWHAUS

 
The next zone, which spreads around the second pond, is designed in a romantic spirit: a few gazebos with benches, and a boat renting point.
 
...and Circuses 
 
The last fifth fragment with the “Lower Pond”, separated from the mainland by the Shmitovsky Driveway and having no nearby houses, became the center of the noisy pastime, which, as the sociological survey showed, the other zones rejected. There is a floating stage in the middle of the huge pond, and its banks have been turned into an amphitheater for 150 spectators and a large flooring sun bed. On the City Day 2017, there was an orchestra playing on that stage; in the upcoming season, the program is promising to be more diverse.
 
In order to ensure a better connection between the two major parts of the park, the architects planned to remove the pedestrian stoplight on the Shmitovsky Drive but, regretfully, this plan was not to come to pass.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. The floating stage © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. The floating stage © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
The Connecting Red Line
 
The entire length of the park is pierced by a “secret trail” – a pedestrian route with sightseeing platforms and “surprise” objects that the visitors run into as if by accident.

In addition, the authors of the project decided not to argue with history and converted the name of the park into an obvious color code. For “Krasnogvardeiskie Prudy” (“Red Guard Ponds”) that are part of the “Krasnaya Presnya” (“Red Presnya”) park, they proposed to use the red color. It is complemented by gray and beige-ochre color of wood.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
Red Greenery and Other Curious Dendrology
 
In addition to the objects and guiding arrow signs, the red color is also present in vegetation here: the dendrologists have put together a collection of plants with red leaves or branches – or at least the kind that turns red in autumn.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
The reconstruction of the park required a major revision of its greenery. There were a lot of trees in the park but not all of them were healthy; over the long years of “wild” growth, many cultured trees and shrubs died, junk underwood grew up, and the flowerbeds practically disappeared. Because of the strong winds of the winters of 2016-2017, many trees fell down – in a word, there arose a necessity for planting new trees: these include the now-popular kinds of trees, shrubs and perennials that grow well in the city.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds. Pavilions next to the Lower Pond © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
The flowerbeds were individually developed for each of the segments of the park, with regard to its function and style – regular or, conversely, landscaping kind. At some places, the architects would choose to use simple forest plants, at some places – more flashy-looking but still fuss-free garden flowers and herbs. The boundaries of the zones are highlighted – and at the same time smoothed out – with a mix of herbs.
 
Realization: Express and Improvised
 
The project was finished in the middle of 2016 but the construction work in the park did not begin until October. The management of the park was to organize a tender to choose the contractor, and, as it often happens, the process took quite a long time – until the advent of the unexpectedly early winter. Practically the whole work was suspended until the next year. The only thing that could be done was preparing the foundations for the pavilions, but then again, some changes were introduced because a different technology was used.
 
As a result, from April to October 2017, the construction was done by express and improvisation method; some of the solutions had to be simplified in order to meet the construction schedule.
 
Before the start of the landscaping work, the park launched the process of reconstructing and clearing the ponds that included reinforcing their banks with gabions. Due to the fact that the ponds are in the books of Mosvodostok (the Moscow water disposal service), and not the park itself, their reconstruction was handled by another contractor – the result of his efforts was strikingly different from the solutions proposed in the project, and the architects had to make revisions to the structure of the boardwalks and amphitheaters to put things in order.
 
Just Add Water
 
The not-so-long list of project losses has one position in it that stands out with its objectively insurmountable character, though temporary, as the authors of the project hope. The ponds did survive the years of dilapidation, with losses in terms of purity but still with water. After the reconstruction, the ponds grew shallow – which was the reason the architects had to abandon the idea of a boat renting point on the Middle Pond, and the twin-hull boat renting point at the Lower Pond had to be turned into a changing room for the sunbed. But then again, the architects hope that this situation is only temporary and the ponds will get filled with water soon.
 
Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS


Luckily, almost all the other solutions got realized to a letter, just as the architects were able to achieve the integrity of the landscape and architectural inclusions, so characteristic of Wowhaus projects. Some of the solutions even turned out to be more effective and efficient than the authors anticipated.
 
Bench Reversal
 
In the conditions of time and budget constraints, the architects had to combine new minor forms with author creations. One of the most popular ones is the “high back bench”.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
The beauty of descriptive names is in their self-explanatory vividness. The size of the back of the bench is outstanding indeed but what is more important is the fact that it is the key to solving the longstanding problem of all parks: the necessity to choose between the comfort of sitting and the opportunity to admire the surrounding scenery. Usually, benches are placed along the trails, facing the promenade – and the person who sits down on them automatically finds himself with his back to all the beauty of the park, through which the trail runs. The solution that Wowhaus proposed is revolutionary in its radical simplicity: they turned the bench with its back to the passageway, and, in order to make sure that the person who is sitting on it does not get a creepy feeling because of what is going on behind his back, covered the rear with a high back. The idea went straight home. Once they were installed, these benches became an instant hit with lovebirds and introverts.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
A Park Study
 
Yet another successful solution is the format of the “bank pavilions”. Because of the steep banks of the middle pond, you could not place regular benches alongside it, while building an amphitheater here would be prohibitively expensive. A compromise was found in small “balcony” or “veranda” gazebos, which were placed above the water and connected to the bridge by a boardwalk. Such boxes can comfortably host a company of four to six people. Being formally detached from the outside world will let one feel more comfortable but, being of the open-air type, the verandas are vandal-proof.

Reorganization of the Krasnogvardeiskie Ponds © WOWHAUS

 
And, while a couple of years back Wowhaus came up with an urban open-air “living room”, now the list of innovations proposed by this company has been augmented with an urban “open-air” study.

03 May 2018

Elena Petukhova

Written by:

Elena Petukhova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​Inside of a Drawn Grid
Designing the apartment complex PLAY in Danilovskaya Sloboda, ADM architects placed their bet on the imagery of construction. The area where it manifested itself the most vividly was the sophisticated grid of the facades.
​The Yard Aesthetics
Organizing the yard of a premium-class housing complex, GAFA architects took care not just about the image that matches the project’s high status, but also about simple human joys, masterfully overcoming the construction regulations.
​MasterMind: a Neural Network for Developers and Architects
Created by Genpro, this software allows you to generate within half an hour dozens of development and construction options in accordance with the set parameters. At the same time, however, being more focused on the technical aspects, the program does not exclude creative work, and can be used by architects for preparing projects with a subsequent data export to AutoCAD, Revit, and ArchiCAD.
This Beetle Has Flown
The story of designing a business center in the Zhukov (“Beetle”) Drive: a number of attempts to preserve a hundred-year-old cold storage facility, at the same time introducing modern buildings interpreting the industrial theme. The project remained on paper, but the story behind it seems to be worth our attention.
​The Childhood Territory
The project of the educational complex within the second stage of “Spanish Quarters” was developed by ASADOV Architects. The project is all about creating a friendly and transparent environment that in itself educates and forms the personality of a child.
Man and the City
Designing this large-scale housing complex, GAFA architects accentuated two types of public spaces: bustling streets with shops and cafes – and a totally natural yard, visually separated as much as possible from the city. Making the most out of the contrast, both work together to make the life of the residents of EVER housing complex eventful and diverse.
​Andy Snow: “I aim for an architecture which is rational and poetic”
The British architect Andy Snow has recently become the chief architect at GENPRO Architects & Engineers. Projects, which Andy Snow did in the UK in collaboration with world-famous architectural firms, scored numerous international awards. In Russia, the architect took part in designing Moscow’s Stanislavsky Factory business center, iLove housing complex, and AFI2B business center on the 2nd Brestskaya Street. In our interview, Andy Snow compared the construction realities in Russia and the UK, and also shared his vision of architectural prospects in Russia.
​The Living Growth
The grand-scale housing complex AFI PARK Vorontsovsky in Moscow’s southwest consists of four towers, a “slab” house, and a kindergarten building. Interestingly, the plastique of the residential buildings is quite active – they seem to be growing before your eyes, responding to the natural context, and first of all opening the views of the nearby park. As for the kindergarten building, it is cute and lyrical, like a little sugar house.
Sergey Skuratov: “A skyscraper is a balance of technology, economic performance, and aesthetic...
In March, two buildings of the Capital Towers complex were built up to a 300-meter elevation mark. In this issue, we are speaking to the creator of Moscow’s cutting-edge skyscrapers: about heights and proportions, technologies and economics, laconicism and beauty of superslim houses, and about the boldest architectural proposal of recent years – the Le Corbusier Tower above the Tsentrosoyuz building.
​The Red Building
The area of Novoslobodskaya has received Maison Rouge – an apartment complex designed by ADM, which continues the wave of renovation, started by the Atmosphere business center, from the side of the Palikha Street.
​The Uplifting Effect
The project of Ostankino Business Park was developed for the land site lying between two metro stations (one operating and the other in construction), and because of that its public space is designed to equally cater for the city people and the office workers. The complex stands every chance of becoming the catalyst for development of the Butyrsky area.
​Binary Opposition
In this article, we are examining a rather rare and interesting case – two projects by Evgeny Gerasimov situated on one street and completed with a five years’ difference, presenting the perfect example of example for analyzing the overall trends and approaches practiced by the architectural company.
Raising the Yard
The housing complex Renome consists of two buildings: a modern stone house and a red-brick factory building of the end of the XIX century, reconstructed by measurements and original drafts. The two buildings are connected by an “inclined” yard – a rare, by Moscow standards, version of geoplastics that smoothly ascends to the roof of the stores lined up along a pedestrian street.
​Hearing the Tune of the Past
The Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist in the park near the Novodevichy Convent was conceived in 2012 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. However, instead of declamatory grandeur and “fanfare”, the architect Ilia Utkin presented a concentrated and prayerful mood, combined with a respectful attitude of this tent-shaped church, which also includes some elements of architecture of orders. The basement floor hosts a museum of excavations found on the site of the church.
​Semantic Shift
The high-end residential complex STORY, situated near the Avtozavodskaya metro station and the former ZIL factory, is delicately inscribed in the contrastive context, while its shape, which combines a regular grid and a stunning “shift” of the main facade, seems to respond to the dramatic history of the place, at the same time, however, allowing for multiple interpretations.
​Yards and Towers: the Samara Experiment
The project of “Samara Arena Park”, proposed by Sergey Skuratov, scored second place in the competition. The project is essentially based on experimenting with typology of residential buildings and gallery/corridor-type city blocks combined with towers – as well as on sensitive response to the context and the urge to turn the complex into a full-fledged urban space providing a wide range of functions and experiences.
​The Fili Duo
The second phase of the Filicity housing complex, designed by ADM architects, is based on the contrast between a 57-story skyscraper 200 meters high and an 11-story brick house. The high-rise building sets a futuristic vector in Moscow housing architecture.
​The Wall and the Tower
The OSA architects have been searching for solutions that could be opposed to the low-rise construction in the center of Khabarovsk, as well as an opportunity to say a new word in the discourse about mass housing.
​The Energy Family
The housing complex Symphony 34 will be built in Moscow’s Savelovsky district; it will consist of four towers from 36 to 54 stories high. Each of the towers has an image of its own, but they all are gathered into a single architectural ensemble – a fragment of a new high-rise urban space lying outside the Third Transport Ring.
The Fifth Element
The high-end residential development in the Vsevolozhsky Lane features a combination of expensive stone and metal textures, immersing them into a feast of ornaments. The house looks like a fantasy inspired by the theater of the Art Nouveau and Symbolism era; a kind of oriental fairy tale, which paradoxically allows it to avoid direct stylization and become a reflection of one of the aspects of modern Moscow life.
​Springboards and Patios
The central element of the manor house in the village of Antonovka, designed by Roman Leonidov, is the inner yard with pergolas, meant to remind its owner about his vacations in exotic countries. The exposed wooden structures emphasize the soaring diagonals of single-pitched roofs.
​Adding Up a Growing City
The housing quarter “1147” is located at the border between the old “Stalin” district in the north and the actively developing territories in the south. Its image responds to a difficult task: the compound brick facades of the neighboring sections are different, their height varying from 9 to 22 floors, and, if we are look from the street, it seems as though the front of the city development, consisting from long narrow elements, is forming some sophisticated array at this very moment in front of our eyes.
Agility of the Modular
In the Discovery housing complex that they designed, ADM architects proposed a modern version of structuralism: the form is based on modular cells, which, smoothly protruding and deepening, make the volumes display a kind of restrained flexibility, differentiated element by element. The lamellar and ledged facades are “stitched” with golden threads – they unite the volumes, emphasizing the textured character of the architectural solution.
Polyphony of a Strict Style
The “ID Moskovskiy” housing project on St. Petersburg’s Moscow Avenue was designed by the team of Stepan Liphart in the past 2020. The ensemble of two buildings, joined by a colonnade, is executed in a generalized neoclassical style with elements of Art Deco.
​In Three Voices
The high-rise – 41 stories high – housing complex HIDE is being built on the bank of the Setun River, near the Poklonnaya Mountain. It consists of three towers of equal height, yet interpreted in three different ways. One of the towers, the most conspicuous one looks as if it was twisted in a spiral, composed of a multitude of golden bay windows.
​In the Space of Pobedy Park
In the project of a housing complex designed by Sergey Skuratov, which is now being built near the park of the Poklonnaya Hill, a multifunctional stylobate is turned into a compound city space with intriguing “access” slopes that also take on the role of mini-plazas. The architecture of the residential buildings responds to the proximity of the Pobedy Park, on the one hand, “dissolving in the air”, and, on the other hand, supporting the memorial complex rhythmically and color-wise.
​Dynamics of the Avenue
On Leningrad Avenue, not far away from the Sokol metro station, the construction of the A-Class business center Alcon II has been completed. ADM architects designed the main façade as three volumetric ribbons, as if the busy traffic of the avenue “shook” the matter sending large waves through it.
​Steamer at the Pier
An apartment hotel that looks like a ship with wide decks has been designed for a land plot on a lake shore in Moscow’s South Tushino. This “steamer” house, overlooking the lake and the river port, does indeed look as if it were ready to sail away.