По-русски

At the Edge of Avant-Garde and Post-Constructivism

The project of reconstructing the building of the automatic telephone station at the Zubovskaya Square, which includes preserving some of its original façades.

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:
Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

10 October 2018
Object
mainImg
Architect:
Pavel Andreev
Firm:
GRAN

The first building of the telephone station appeared on the Zubovskaya Square back in the 1930, and it was quite small at that time. Then a larger seven-story building overlooking the Garden Ring was built upon the project by Kasyan Solomonov in 1939. The array of pylons in the center of the façade helps the building to “hold together” the square and makes it look like anything but a telephone station because there is a fair amount of windows in between the triangular pylons, which, again, exist since the 1930’s. The pylons also set the dominance of the verticals and accentuate the fact that the façades designed by the architect Solomonov belong to the so-called post-constructivism. On the other hand, the square-shaped recessions that flank the array of pylons, which also definitely place the building in the architectural period of the 1930’s and bear an extra load, remind us of its more famous neighbor – the Frunze Academy, which was designed by Rudnev and Mutz (1932-1934) – highlighting their proximity in an “ensemble” way, and thus serving as the representative of the architecture of 1939, the time when the area of the Devichiy Park was actively developed along with the mottled buildings of the Garden Ring. The telephone station building on the Zubovskaya Square looks like the “tip” of the “wedge” that consists of early-Stalin buildings and widens in the direction of the Novodevichy Monastery, merging with the construction of the 1920’s and growing from it. Probably, because of that, the building of the telephone station ended up being so abundantly decorated, in spite of its purely technical function.

Taking down such a wonderful building would have been an atrocity, and Pavel Andreev, the architect who had worked on the reconstruction projects of such monuments of architecture as the Moscow Manezh, GUM department store, and Children’s Paradise department store, proposed to keep intact two outside façades of the telephone station, in spite of the fact that it lacked the status of a cultural heritage site. The function of the building, however, changes radically – as is known, this is the fate of many Moscow’s telephone stations, because digital technologies do not require huge boxes, and thus telephone stations are replaced by hotels and housing projects, the narratives of these adjustments being really diverse (tearing down the building / not tearing down the building, examples one and two). In this specific instance, the telephone station itself will be kept within the land site but it will occupy a small building erected in 1930 in the depth of the yard, while the main building will be occupied by a hotel. Therefore, the project requires a replacement of all of the insides of the building, an introduction of an underground parking garage, and an increase in the height of the public floor.

Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


According to the project, the outside façades of the building that overlooks the Garden Ring will be kept authentic (currently, the building is covered in scaffolding netting but it looks like all the walls behind the wraps are intact), the difference being that, instead of gray, they will take on a slightly more optimistic color that is both in the spirit of Stalin and avant-garde architecture – the main tone is pale blue, with a hint of warm gray, the secondary tone is brick-red, almost crimson: it marks the attic, the outlines of the balconies, and the margins of the square recessions. “Proposing a new color solution and introducing the red color, we wanted, on the one hand, to make the façade more noticeable, and, on the other hand, accentuate its proximity to avant-garde buildings” – Pavel Andreev explains. The windows in between the pylons gradually increase in height, while the pylons themselves, highlighted by a light shade of color, visually stands out and starts looking more like a portico. On top, the building gets a small-height floor of mechanical rooms, related to its new function.

Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. The current situation, development drawing © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. The project, development drawing © "GRAN" architects


The ground floor, whose height is increased up to 5.25 meters, will keep its zigzagged outline of the 1930’s, which traces the triangular contours of the pylon ribs, but it will get, while retaining the building structures, stone coating with large frameless windows, more appropriate for a hotel. About two thirds of the ground floor will be occupied by a restaurant, while the remaining third – by the hotel lobby. On the ground floor, the zigzag of the historical wall gives the inside spaces an extra advantage for placing tables in the resulting bay windows; the plan of the minus first floor clearly shows that the foundation of the historical part is not included in the bearing structure, the framework and the walls of the new content of the hotel drawing inwards. The same stylistic device is repeated on the upper floors – the outside historic wall is not loaded – on the contrary, the supports of the framework, which are placed along the contour of the walls, stretch relief beams to it.

Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the 4th floor © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the 1st floor © "GRAN" architects


The first underground floor is occupied by the mechanical rooms of the restaurant and the hotel, while a small parking garage is situated down below. The low-rise building that stands alongside the Dashkov Lane contains a fitness center and just one apartment, not really large, 83 square meters. Incidentally, the lateral wings are reconstructed more radically – the western one is due to be taken apart and then restored in the same parameters, while the small eastern one will be also built anew, yet with modern façades – and this will be the only place where the façades will truly “face” the city.

Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the -1st floor © "GRAN" architects


The same modern style is applied in the design of the façades of the inside yard: thin horizontal RAL ceramic strips of a light-beige color. The new single-story volume with large stained glass windows, which continues the hotel lobby inside the yard, is also covered with ceramics but its bands are broad, vertical and dark-crimson – this way, the modern parts echo the proposed historically accurate colors of the façades, adding a new interpretation of them. The two colors of the ceramics are added by insets that imitate wooden panels.

Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Facade © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Facade © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Facade © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Facade © "GRAN" architects


Originally, it was planned that the hotel would be part of the Mariott chain; then a decision was made to hand it to AccorHotels. The 1191-room hotel, for the rare exception of an odd single room, with an overall area of 750 square meters, chiefly boasts large apartments on the top seventh floor, which overlook the Garden Ring.

The authors of the project – and this was also a first experience for them in that area – proposed an image concept for the interior design of the hotel in the spirit of avant-garde artistic works: the reception area, inspired by the things that Lubov Popova designed, a restaurant and bar in the spirit of Varvara Stepanova, rooms and corridors in the vein of Malevich and Rodchenko – all of these works of art had an influence on literally everything, including not only the bedsheets and the carpet on the floor but also the staff uniform and the cutlery. Not to mention the photographs of the athletes of the 1920’s in the gym and the swimming pool.

Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square © "GRAN" architects


The energy of the Russian avant-garde art of the 1920’s, known for its urge to master all of the areas of human lives, lends itself to the art of design. The huge amount of artistic material allows the architects to easily immerse the guests of the hotel into the atmosphere and culture of that epoch.

But then again, it is worth mentioning in passing that the building was actually completed in 1939, which is a decade later than the Russian avant-garde epoch, and it resembles (in its scale, volume, and symmetry) the “Moscow” hotel.

And, although what is characteristic of the 1930’s is rather plastered bas-reliefs on the ceiling and bronze chandeliers, it makes still more interesting the idea of the authors of the project to “get back to one’s roots”, breaking the historical accuracy, highlighting the proximity of the avant-garde art. Generally speaking, this “liberty taking” and violation of the historical correctitude (for us, people who know with absolute certainty that constructivism and post-constructivism are rather antagonists than otherwise) contains a different kind of historical lookout: oftentimes, we tend to forget that the super-eventful 1920’s and 1930’s are but two decades; today, an equal amount of time has elapsed since 1998. And, while some of the masters of the avant-garde art really could not accept the “post” reality, the others did accept it – besides, it often happened that both were done by the same people, even though the icons of these two trends were completely different.

In addition, the building of an “automatic telephone station”, a purely technical structure that by definition is unfit to perform the housing function and requires for its renovation not only some thought-out engineering measures but also some “imagery” rationale, can quite possibly allow of such a possibility. In other words, at the end of the day, it hardly makes much difference in which of the two possible way you will renovate the historical legacy building: by turning the former telephone station into an early-Stalin micro-palace or by immersing it into the extravaganza of an earlier period – either of the two will be an approximation because the original function is lost any way, and restoring it is out of the realm of possibility.

The image concept got the client inspired, the project was accepted and it got all the necessary approvals, but, as is often the case, at this point the communication between the parties stopped, and currently the project is living a life of its own without the participation of its authors. The tasks of drawing the working documents, doing interior design projects, and construction supervision – all of this was handed over to companies that had nothing to do with the creation of the original project. In the situation where copyright and author control is neglected in such a manner, all we can do is hope that the project will be treated carefully and the end result will not be a disappointment. This is the center of the nation’s capital, after all.
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Location plan © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the -2nd floor © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the 5th floor © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the 3rd floor © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the 2nd floor © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the 7th floor © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the 6th floor © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Plan of the roof © "GRAN" architects
Reconstruction of the building at the Zubovskaya Square. Section view 2-2 © "GRAN" architects
None


Architect:
Pavel Andreev
Firm:
GRAN

10 October 2018

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:

Julia Tarabarina
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.