​Embroidery on Context

What is the Moscow Monorail metro line – a means of transportation or just an amusement ride? Keeping it in working order is detrimental to the city budget, and generally it is like a suitcase without a handle. The Wowhaus interns worked on the project of turning the Monorail into a “Monogarden”, a giant (5 square kilometers) urban tourist attraction that picks up on both local and city scenarios in terms of function and imagery as well.

Written by:
Anna Agaphonova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

23 July 2018
The history of the reorganization project of the Monorail began when information was published that the city had plans for tearing it down altogether. Instead of tearing down the Monorail bearing structure, the Wowhaus architects propose to turn it into a recreational area – a combination of a park and a sports field.

According to the architects’ vision, the theme of the park was to be sports – the structure of the park is formed around its jogging and bicycle tracks, and the architects have named their rather peculiar kind of park “the path of health”. But – sports are an obvious matter; there are plenty of various sports facilities around of every conceivable kind nowadays. What makes this project different is the architects’ careful “reading” of the territory and its context, and their stringing various scenarios and functions on the ill-starred metro line. What the architects did was make sure that a walk or a bicycle ride a little over 5 kilometers long should be full of various interesting impressions – yet at the same time they made sure that the new unconventional park should attract those who lives or works nearby.

The town-planning context. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

Functional zoning. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The event program. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The architects thought out every detail of the process of reforming all the five kilometers of the overland metro line from the construction and engineering standpoint. Here is the thing: at some places, the monorail tracks run side by side, and at some places they run a few meters apart – what the architects did was connect them with platforms on the inside, adding extra cantilevered platforms on the outside as well, thus dramatically increasing the overall area of the top part. As for the stations – rather large units with broad passenger platforms – the architects also revised them functionally, trying to make the most of their heated and covered premises.

The Monorail starts off at the Timiryazevskaya metro station, where the academic buildings and dormitories of the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy are situated, and this is why at this place the project provides for a greenhouse which is inscribed into the turnaround of the metro line and serves as the starting point of the park.

Functional zoning and potential users. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

Section views. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

Section views. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The “sleeping belt” residential areas situated between the Timiryazevskaya and Ulitsa Milashenkova stations are treated by the architects as the zone of popularization of sports, designed not so much for professional athletes as for sports enthusiasts of all age brackets, from children to senior citizens: here the architects are placing interactive playgrounds, recreation areas, and, again, a public greenhouse.

The next part of the flyover metro line runs over a railroad track, and, according to one of the versions, the Transportation Department is planning to keep the tram running here. Should this become the case, the architects provided a ramp for the cars to make it over the railroad tracks by way of the fragment of the reformed flyover. This part of the Monorail is in fact a “transient zone” – here the jogging and bicycle trails run parallel to the railway, fenced off from the tram traffic by green espaliers.

Section views. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The greenhouse. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The zone of popularizing sports that crosses the sleeping belt between the Timiryazevskaya and Ulitsa Milashenkova metro stations. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The middle of the Monorail is the Teletsentr (“TV Center”) metro station. The employees of the TV center need recreational areas situated within a walking distance of their workplaces, these recreation areas including walking places, cafes, restaurants, shops, and, possibly, fitness centers – the casual zone that is devised by the architects here includes all these infrastructure projects. Further on, it bleeds into the zone called “Daydream Garden” – a park territory planted with fruit and berry-bearing trees. This place commands a fine view of the Ostankinskaya Church and the Ostashkovskoe Estate, the pond, and the famous Moscow TV-tower, for which the architects have designed sightseeing platforms. In addition to the trees, blossoming in spring and bearing fruit in summer, the garden includes an open-air panoramic swimming pool having no analogues in Moscow – the swimmers will actually be able to get to the edge and look at the Ostankinskiy Pond from up above.

The garden is continued by a family recreation zone. The “Ulitsa Akademika Koroleva” station – a rather large building with a rectangular plan – is turned by the authors into a sports kindergarten, which becomes the nucleus of this zone. Next to it, there is a recreation center and a parents’ waiting lounge, with cafés and restaurants, including those situated on the roof; these are meant to ensure the inflow of visitors in the evening. Further on, the theme of a sports center is picked up by a two-level playground with a roof that protects it from the rain.

The transient zone. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The zone of the Ostankino Pond. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

Above the Ostankino Pond. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The attention of those going for a stroll around the All-Russia exhibition center will be attracted by the lush vegetation in the experimental greenhouse – the architects are turning the former Vystavochny Tsentr station into it. The plants “spill over” and entwine around the structures of the Monorail like a jungle – as if the nature had broken loose from the anthropogenic control and seized the flyover altogether. The narrative is augmented by lighting installations – currently, the project presents them as rainbow arches.

Next comes the zone of professional sports: venues for power lifting, workout, extreme sports, gyms, and a first medical aid point. The sports area then gives way to the cultural one – the final part of the park. 

The Daydreaming Garden. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The Daydreaming Garden. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

"Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

According to the project, the building of the former depot of the Monorail, behind the Ulitsa Sergeya Eisensteina, close to the the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography, hosts experimental theater venues with turntable stages. The building will also include a museum of graffiti and street art, combining it with a museum of transport that has lost its home. The idea to use the exhibits of the museum as a canvas will help to combine the art and the transport expositions. 

It is worth mentioning that the idea of turning an outdated monorail into a hanging garden is not exactly groundbreaking – after the Zaryadye Park was opened you will hardly find a Muscovite who has not heard about New York’s Highline park, and that’s the first thing that comes to mind. The similarity to the famous DS+R park on rails is also apparent – meanwhile, the authors of the project neither deny nor highlight it, reminding us that the first “hanging garden” in history built on an old railway was the Parisian park La Coulée verte, that was made in 1988-1993. On the other hand, as the authors of the project admit, they were more inspired by the example of the Seoul park Skygarden, which was built by MVRDV in 2015-2017.

The family recreation zone. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The family recreation zone. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The family recreation zone. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

This project is essentially an urbanist research work that combines the upbeat spirit of sports with passeism, the inevitable companion of urban meditation. Combining these things, not quite related to each other – the young and the old, the joyful and the pensive, the pragmatic and the melancholy, which invites the observer to read the many meanings, and at the same time is not at odds with the direct pragmatic use has recently become one of the trademark techniques of this architectural firm. 

The Monogarden was first presented at Arch Moscow in May of 2018; recently it also got shortlisted for the WAF prize.

The zone next to the All-Russia Exhibition center. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The experimental greenhouse. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The zone next to the All-Russia Exhibition center. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

Professional sports zone. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The of the All-Russia Exhibition center that completes the turnaround with a theater stage. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The of the All-Russia Exhibition center that completes the turnaround with a theater stage. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The zone of the All-Russia Exhibition center that completes the turnaround with a theater stage. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The depot floor plan. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

The zone of the All-Russia Exhibition center that completes the turnaround with a theater stage. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS
The zone of the All-Russia Exhibition center. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS
Presentation of the "Monosad" project at Arch Moscow 2018 © WOWHAUS
Presentation of the "Monosad" project at Arch Moscow 2018 © WOWHAUS
The swimming pool. "Monosad" project © WOWHAUS

23 July 2018

Written by:

Anna Agaphonova
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.