The recently built housing complex designed by ADM architects vividly shows how to make a whole city block out of but three towers, how to turn something that’s virtually flat into something volumetric, make houses of the same height look like something diverse, houses of odd height – like something uniformed, and integrate a maximum amount of sky and verdure into the environment that you create.
Written by: Translated by: Anton Mizonov
17 October 2018
The new residential complex PerovSky built by MR Group developers is precisely the case when being located far away from the main transport arteries is definitely an advantage. Yes, you’ll have to walk a good 15 minutes to the Perovo metro station but the neighborhood literally swims in verdure: the Terletsky Park with its ponds and 300-year-old oaks is but a two-minutes’ walk away, on the other side lies the Izmailovsky Park, and on the third side lies the territory of the local clinic turned to this territory with its yard, which is essentially also a park.
At the same time, the yard and the street spaces are clearly separated – the ADM leaders Andrey Romanov and Ekaterina Kuznetsova are convinced that we as human beings are a lot more comfortable living in such a format. The Moscow government actively supports such city block division technique, meaning, the technique of building a closed-contour of houses of approximately equal height. However, the authors claim that if this height exceeds 13 floors, the feeling of comfort and proportion evaporates, the sky becomes scarce, and the houses oppressive. It’s a lot more honest in this case to build a composition of towers positioned in a freehand fashion – in this particular project there are three of them 23 stories each – and mark the border of the “private” and “public” spaces with a common podium.
This way, in the middle of the PerovSky land site, with its face to the Terletsky Park, appeared the first comparatively private yard that is also vehicle-free: leaving one’s car in the underground parking garage beneath this same yard, one will need to cross it in order to get from the central lobby into one of the two further towers. And as for the large public area, it is organized precisely next to the lobby: this is the point, to which the architects oriented the entrances of the podium’s premises designed to host shops, service centers and cafés. An individual entrance was also given to the inbuilt kindergarten. Its own playgrounds and sports fields on the other side of the complex form yet another functional block. And, if anything, the sky is something that PerovSky has in abundance: it can be seen both from the sunlit yard on the ground level and from the residential floors soaring above the trees. Even the towers proudly bear the names of constellations: Pegasus, Phoenix, and Aquarius.
By the way, the articulated height set a certain bar for the “fifth façade”, i.e. the podium. And, although the architects were ultimately unable to make its roof green as they had originally planned, the use of tiles and pebbles in the decoration, and, more importantly, camouflaging all of the utility lines with smart-looking semitransparent cylinders, turned the flat surface of the podium into a natural part of the landscape.
To a large extent, achieving this effect was possible thanks to the fact that the landscapes surrounding their housing complexes is something that ADM always design themselves, not trusting anyone else with this work. And the circles (we’ll mention in passing that this was the term that Plato used for all heavenly bodies) – sometimes forming complex molecular structures, sometimes running away in all directions from tree trunks like circles on the water from a thrown rock, sometimes covering the ventilation shafts, sometimes growing like green hills from the ground, and sometimes “cutting” into the podium line – turned out to be that simple, yet effective stylistic device that formed the harmonious living environment so pleasing to the eye (and all of the other human senses). As a bonus, the curvilinear “cuts” in the stylobate visually compensated for its length and generated apartments with unconventional floor plans: here, the second floor ultimately became the residential one. Generally, the apartments range from 32 square meter studios to 5-room apartments with an area of 172 square meters.
As for the vertical planes, the “diversity” – which has virtually already become one of the common decencies of modern architecture – is achieved by the architects by using quite different techniques. As a general rule, designing such middle-class complexes, architects settle for various types of decoration materials without changing the façade patterns. However, what made ADM one of the leading Moscow firms specializing in designing housing complexes, is the fact that it works with materials on a much subtler level, and even “flat” architecture takes on an extra dimension in their hands. In one of the light towers, at the expense of the gray inserts, the contours of the windows look unpredictable as if they were shifted off-center, even though all of the apartments feature the same ceilings 3 meters high.
The two other towers sport corner windows and specially designed metallic bars: at some places they stick to the wall like little decorative balconies, and at some places stand out like real balconies – but in reality they are essentially screens for the air conditioning units. The Klinker brick “makes a turn” going inside the windows – and this also makes the façade surface look deep and volumetric. And as for the façades of the stylobate, they are articulated by vertical wooden lamellae – all standing at a different distance from one another, like tree trunks in some wild-growing coppice – like in the Terletsky Park, for that matter. And all of this ostentatious lack of rhythm clearly shows the virtuoso art of executing architectural syncopated “jazz”, in which each seemingly improvised passage is carefully calculated and studiously rehearsed.
But then again, we cannot entirely rule out the possibility that the main melody was overheard from the Perovo skies.
The Crystal of the City Block
The typology and plastique of large housing complexes move with the times, and you can sometimes find new subtleties in the scope of seemingly familiar solutions. The Sky Garden complex combines two well-known themes, forming a giant residential area consisting of tall slender towers, placed at the perimeter of a large yard, in which a crossroads of two pedestrian promenades is “dissolved”.
Sunshine, Air, and Water
The construction of the “Solnechny” (“Sunny”) summer camp, designed by ARENA project institute, has been completed, the largest summer camp within the legendary Artek seaside resort for children. It was conceived still in Soviet time, but it was not implemented. The modern version surprises you with sophisticated engineering solutions that are combined with a clear-cut structure: together, they generate Asher-esque spaces.
Art Deco at the Edge of Space
The competition project by Stepan Liphart – a high-end residential complex executed in a reserved classicist style in close proximity to the Kaluga Space Museum – responds equally well to the context and to the client’s brief. It is moderately respectable, moderately mobile and transparent, and it even digs a little into the ground to comply with strict height restrictions, without losing proportions and scale.
Going, Going, Gone!
The housing complex “Composers’ Residences” has been built in accordance with the project by Sergey Skuratov, who won the international competition back in 2011. It all began from the image search and “cutting off all spare”, and then implementing the recognizable Skuratov architecture. It all ended, however, in tearing down the buildings of the Schlichterman factory, whose conservation was stipulated by all the appropriate agencies prior to approving Skuratov’s project. This story seems to be educational and important for understanding the history of all the eleven years, during which the complex was designed and built.
The Life of Iron
The building of the Vyksa Metallurgy Museum, designed by Nikita Yavein and Sergey Padalko, provides for the natural aging of metal – it is planned that the iron will gradually rust – at the same time utilizing the advanced type of construction, based on metal’s ability to stretch. The building will be constructed from pipes and rolled steel supplied by OMK company, as well as from recycled bricks.
And the Brook is Flowing
ASADOV Architects have designed a master plan for developing a residential area at the outskirts of Kaliningrad: a regular grid of housing blocks is enriched by large-scale public facilities, the main “artery” of the new area being the fortification channel that regains its original function.
Off We Go!
The new terminal of the Tomsk airport is being designed by ASADOV bureau. The architects keep on developing its identity, building the imagery upon the inventions of Nikolai Kamov, whose name the airport bears. The result is laconic, light, and, as always, levitating.
The Multispace Dinamo, which recently opened within the Arena business center, is an example of a project that is entirely based upon cutting-edge approaches and technologies. It is managed via a mobile application, special software was created for it, and the spaces are not just multifunctional but carefully mixed up, like some kind of jigsaw puzzle that allows the office workers to mix their working routine for better efficiency.
A Factory’s Path
Last week, the new center for constructivist studies “Zotov” hosted its first exhibition named “1922. Constructivism. The Inception”. The idea of creating this center belongs to Sergey Tchoban, while the project of the nearest houses and adjusting the building of the bread factory for the new museum function was done by the architect in collaboration with his colleagues from SPEECH. We decided that such a complex project should be examined in its entirety – and this is how we came up with this long-read about constructivism on Presnya, conservation, innovation, multilayered approach, and hope.
The Savelovsky Axis
The business center, situated right in the middle of a large city junction next to the Savelovsky Railway Station takes on the role of a spatial axis, upon which the entire place hinges: it spins like a spiral, alternating perfect glass of the tiers and deep recessions of inter-tier floors that conceal little windows invented by the architects. It is sculptural, and it claims the role of a new city landmark, in spite of its relatively small height of nine floors.
In the housing complex Sydney City, which FSK Group is building in the area of Shelepikhinskaya Embankment, Genpro designed the central city block, combining parametric facades and modular technology within its architecture.
The new interior of the Action Development headquarters can be regarded as an attempt to design the perfect “home” for the company – not just comfortable but broadcasting the values of modern development. It responds to the context, yet it is built on contrast, it is fresh but cozy, it is dynamic, yet it invites you to relax – everything of this coexists here quite harmoniously, probably because the architects found an appropriate place for each of the themes.
Refinement No Longer Relevant
A few days ago journalists were shown the building of Bread Factory #5, renovated upon the project by Sergey Tchoban. In this issue, we are publishing Grigory Revzin’s thoughts about this project.
The Comb of Strelna
In this issue, we are taking a close look at the project that won the “Crystal Daedalus” award – the “Veren Village” housing complex in Strelna, designed by Ostozhenka. Its low-rise format became a trigger for typological and morphological experiments – seemingly, we are seeing recognizable trends, yet at the same time there are a multitude of subtleties that are a pleasure to go into. Having studied this project in detail, we think that the award is well-deserved.
A Tectonic Shift
For several years now, Futura Architects have been working with the “New Peter” residential area in the south of St. Petersburg. In this article, we are covering their most recent project – a house, in which the architects’ architectural ideas peacefully coexist with the limitations of comfort-class housing, producing a “multilayered” effect that looks very attractive for this typology.
Three “Green” Stories
In this issue, we are examining three environmental urban projects showcased by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the Zodchestvo festival. The scale of the projects is really diverse: from gathering information and suggestions from the residents on a city scale to growing meadow grass between houses to paintings, which, as it turned out, possess power to cure trees, healing their wounded bark. + a list of kinds of plants natural for Moscow to help the developer.
The Slabs of Bagration
The construction of a new skyscraper designed by SPEECH within the complex of Moscow City has been announced. A keen observer may see in it: Moscow high-rises, Chicago architecture, Malevich architecton, and an attempt of deconstruction of the integral image of the Moscow skyscraper – a technique that has been actively employed by the architects in their recent works.
Preserving the History of Clean Ponds
How do you make a comfortable high-end residential complex that meets the modern requirements for expensive downtown housing, and keep as much of the original 1915 building as possible? Ilia Utkin, together with Sminex, solved this charade for Potapovsky Lane, 5 – here is how.
Living in a Forest
The apartment complex in Roshchino, designed by GAFA architects, looks very much like a glamping: the residents enjoy the untouched nature of the Karelian isthmus, while having urban amenities and opportunities for social life.
A Laboratory for Life
The building of the Laboratory of Oncomorphology and Molecular Genetics, designed by the author team headed by Ilya Mashkov (Mezonproject) uses the benefits of the natural context and offers space for cutting-edge research, both doctor- and patient-friendly.
The Logic of Life
The light installation, designed by Andrey Perlach in the atrium of Moscow's Federation Tower, balances on the edge between a mathematical order of construction and the diversity of perception when viewed from different angles.
An Architect in a Metaverse
In this interview, we talked to the participants of the festival of creative industries G8 about why metaverses are our tomorrow’s everyday routine, and how architects can already influence it today.
Three in One
The house on Telezhnaya Street, designed by Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners, located just a couple of steps away from the Nevsky Prospect, can be visually divided into three independent entities. By doing this, the architects keep up the scale of the historical street and overcome the challenges posed by a stretching land site.
A Circular Arrangement
The project by UNK interiors, which won in the competition for the “Zagorye” metro station, is resonant to the ideas of the surrounding industrial and housing construction thanks to its modular laconic shapes. At the same time, the station is “all metal”, which is a nod towards the name of the nearby Lipetskaya Street because Lipetsk is a metallurgical center. One could expect that the authors would fall for the brutal images of metallurgy and blast furnaces but the project turned out to be light and laconic – we are examining why.
A Complex Dimension of a Dream
The TOTEMENT/PAPER project by Levon Airapetov and Valeria Preobrazhenskaya became, as was announced in the beginning of August, the winner of the competition for designing “Ostrov Mechty” (“Dream Island”) metro station. Contrastive graphics, united by a common method of geometric composition, “grows into the volume”, gets embellished with color, and ultimately results in a compound solution that seemed to us nothing short of exceptional. Below, we examine the construction method and keep our fingers crossed for the project to be implemented the way it should be – it would be exciting to see it become a reality.
The Beams of Energy Effectiveness
On August 22, Berlin saw an official opening of the new HQ of the energy company Vattenfall, the office complex named EDGE. One of its buildings is Germany’s biggest wood hybrid building. The term means that its supporting frame is made of glued timber, but in certain places wood cooperates with metal, reinforced concrete and fiberglass. Below, we are sharing about the inner design of this structure, not just environmentally friendly but energy efficient as well.
Evgeny Gerasimov: “You need to run twice as fast”
In this article, we are speaking to Evgeny Gerasimov about the book released to mark the 30th anniversary of his architectural company, about his activities as the chairman of the Union of Architectural Companies, and his plans for the future.
Inside Out: Pavilions of Eternity
The reconstruction of the warehouses of the Spit of Nizhny Novgorod – they opened in the beginning of June as concert and exhibition halls – became, without exaggeration, the event of the year, both in the field of culture and architecture. Their story seems to us to be extremely attention-worthy from the point of view of discovering, researching, and protecting this monument to engineering thought of the 19th century. At the same time, the solution proposed by Sergey Tchoban on how to adjust and how to expose these structures is as relevant as it is bold and unconventional – on the edge of temporary, timeless, and eternal.
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.