The two units of the house on the Dolgorukovskaya Street look like Russian treasure chests, while the brickwork of their walls echoes the belfry of the Saint Nicolas Church in Novaya Sloboda. The project, although small, became the result of thorough analysis of the architectural environment and was selected out of many other options.
Written by: Julia Tarabarina Translated by: Anton Mizonov
The land site in question is but a miniature one – only 0.32 hectares – and it is located on the second line of the Dolgorukovskaya Street, in an extremely diverse and just as interesting historical environment, north of the Saint Nicolas Church, facing the semicircular square of the Italian Quarter designed by Mikhail Filippov, behind a small park, which is the haunt of the local dog owners. In 1904, the church of the “Naryshkin” architecture of the late XVII century got an additional monastery canteen or “fratery”, as it is sometimes called, and a belfry designed in a neo-Russian style on the verge of eclectics and art nouveau. The church functioned until the 1930’s when it was handed over to the Museum of Atheism (sic!), and then was taken down altogether to be replaced by the building of the soviet cartoon production company Soyuzmultfilm that turned out to be quite a decent monument of postconstructivism; in 2018 it was handed back over to the church community. Today, this architectural ensemble looks a little bit strange, just as many of the results of soviet intrusions into church complexes, yet at the same time very romantic, chiefly thanks to the belfry of dark brown bricks covered with hundred-year-old patina; it may look like gothic to a layperson, even though, of course, in the beginning of the XX century the architects Voskresensky and Kurdyukov drew inspiration from prototypes belonging to the late XVII century. What is more important, however, is the fact that the belfry definitely “holds together” the city space around it.
All around the place, everything is organized just as much in the “Moscow” fashion. The church and the territory to the north of it belonged to Soyuzmultfilm and was occupied by small-scale structures of varying time of construction and varying degree of dilapidation. Most of them will be torn down for the sole exception of a small three-window wooden house built in 1821 and overlooking the Dolgorukovskaya Street – it boasts the status of a “rediscovered heritage site”. In fact, the buildings of the new club house will occupy the territory of a town manor estate of the Councilor of State Andrey Aleksandrovich Petrovo-Sokolovo, who built this house; in the middle of the XIX century, there was a small pond here, and in 1880 a factory was built. Soyuzmultfilm was using this house as a darkroom but in 2004 half of the solid wood construction collapsed, and, according to the architects, the best way to save the situation was reassembling the house on a newly-built foundation.
Back to the surroundings of the buildings, though! The nearest neighbor of the Petrovo-Sokolovo estate, the house that used to belong to the Prussian subject August Sibert is an early, of 1891, work by Roman Klein, the master of neo-Greek, the author of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the TSUM department store; the house was slightly tainted by later remodeling, but still this proximity is more than obliging. There is still another – counting from the city center – tenement house that used to belong to “Fischer Society”, an example of Neogothic of the 1910’s. Across the street, there are Brezhnev and Luzhkov giants. Therefore, the miniature land plot in question is surrounded by every conceivable type of Moscow construction. And, accordingly, the authors had to take into account what diverse neighbors the future house would have – but more importantly, they had think about what kind of background the new housing project would present for the house of 1821, and the neighboring house designed by Roman Klein.
Considering the level of responsibility, the small size of the land site and the height restriction of 23 meters, the architects decided to design the complex very carefully, molding the future buildings step by step – showing different options to the client, discarding and improving their versions. What they ultimately got was a total of nine options, all rather different – with a cantilevered structure of a hovering “city villa”, with a pointed avant-garde nose, with a modern façade of respectable-looking vertical windows, or with a long “protuberance” that looked like a curious “head” peeking between the Sokolov Estate and the Saint Nicolas church. The architects and their client also considered elongated volumes, zigzagged and with an inner yard, and bio-shaped nonlinear ones looking like an armadillo.
The reference point – we’ll stress it again – were the same for all of the options; the authors carefully studied the surroundings both in terms of architectural reference points and in terms of the possible views both views of the house and views from the house, literally trying to get as much as possible information to be processed in the project. The architects even did a retrospective research of the local housing construction of the XX and XIX centuries (sic!), getting very curious results and city plans. They even remembered the Pimen Church and the shopping arcades, which once were there on the Miusskaya Square. There was quite a lot of meticulous work done, in short.
The main results look as follows: the most interesting neighbor is the belfry of the Saint Nicolas Church – back in the day it was also grasped by Mikhail Filippov who concentrated his whole huge housing complex around it, thus highlighting the brick tower yet again. Next – the two nearest neighbors are really miniature ones, and what pre-Brezhnev construction was there, was pretty much in the same “Moscow” scale. The tenement house of the Fischer Society is larger – but it still demonstrates the human-proportional yard rhythm. And, last but not least, one of the main problems was a building with a ceramic granite façade adjoining the north border of the land site, or, rather, its deep projection, stepping up right to the border; currently, the building hosts a bank.
The architects had to “step back” from this projection, and in this side a small yard appeared that the architects actually turned into a courtyard or a “court of honor”, as it is also called, the inevitable attribute of castles as palaces, both French and Palladian.
Settling on one option out of nine was made easier by the analogies with the belfry, the “merchant Moscow”, and Paris: ultimately the architects got two compact rectangular buildings of similar parameters standing at a right angle to each other. Between them, there is a yard that steps back from the “bank” projection; it is continued southward by a path that leads to the Pykhov Lane and the belfry. Underneath the yard, and underneath the whole construction blueprint, for that matter, there are two levels of an underground parking garage. Closer to the yard and the projection of the “northern neighbor”, there are entrance lobbies grouped on the bottom floors. The bottom floors are meant to be public ones; in the western building (which was placed in the depth of the territory), the ground floor, in addition to the entrance lobby, is also occupied by the office of the management company, while the eastern building will also have a cafe in it. It is extended by amphitheater stairs that descend into the yard and separate the space of the residential complex from the street noise.
The apartments on floors from 2 to 4 have three rooms in them, ranging from 39 to 78 square meters. Higher up, the architects designed two-level penthouses – these flank the center along the building’s perimeter and conceal the protrusions of the mechanical rooms (the authors claim that it’s imperative that the technical equipment remain invisible). The outside walls of the penthouses are tilted inwards; the likeness with the mansard – the “Parisian” part of the buildings’ image – is strengthened by decorative “shutters” made from glass fiber reinforced concrete; they also go a long way to help the top part of the building look like a single integral volume.
The slanting silhouette gave the house an unmistakable likeness to an ancient Russian treasure chest, the kind that can be seen in local history and lore museums, and this likeness pleased the authors because it is resonant with the “petty bourgeoisie” Moscow and their search for the historical context – what it ended up happening is something like “the return of the merchant city”, not in the form of one of the single-story or double-story mansions that used to be abundant here but indirectly, through the image of a single thing scaled up to the size of a house, as is the custom nowadays.
As for the likeness to the main accent – the belfry – it is highlighted by the brick decoration. The architects opted for solid-body hand-molded bricks, seamless, with a cutaway at the edges that enhances the ribs of the joints. The authors stress that its use was necessary for achieving the desired effect – the purpose was, of course, not only to inscribe the two buildings into the context but also to highlight their “preciousness” through their relationship with the most interesting building amongst the surroundings. By the way, stressing the “preciousness” of the house, the interior design, proposed by the architects, uses a golden hue, which is echoed by the window jambs made of copper imitation panels; it looks as if the golden glow of the treasure slightly leaks out from the inside, casting a copper reflex.
By the way, between the first and the second section of the belfry, there is a height difference, a “leap” that is basically typical for Naryshkin silhouettes – it also echoes the mansard slant of the buildings. Now, however, the architects have a new reason to worry: work has begun on renovating the Saint Nicolas Church, and what if the belfry gets stuccoed all over? But then again, one must say that this fear is groundless – its façades have always been pure brick, and no one in their right mind would permit to use stucco here.
The brickwork is diluted with ornamental insets: floral ones that look like diamond rings of the medieval treasure chests and meander that serves as an homage to the neighboring Klein. The end result slightly resembles the Igumnov house. The outlines of the “treasure chest” buildings are slightly squatting because of the height restrictions and the “tower” typology with a communication nucleus in the middle of the volume – this is something that the authors of the project admit themselves. On the one hand, such shape is perfect for “treasure chests”, and, on the other hand, the architects did everything they could to fight the squatting appearance of their creation: they removed almost all the horizontal dividing lines, for the sole exception of the meanders, and slightly raised the overall height.
To cut a long story short, the construction has already begun, and by 2019 the Dolgorukovskaya Street must get two “treasure chests”, whose unusual silhouettes will add extra diversity to this city.
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.
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.
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.
An Office for Concentrating Ideas
T+T Architects have designed an office for a French IT company, where the employees in any point of the premises can discuss with their colleagues new ideas or even write them on the wall.
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.
The Magic of Rhythm or Ornament as a Theme
Designed by Sergey Tchoban, the housing complex Veren Place in St. Petersburg is the perfect example of inserting a new building into a historical city, and one the cases of implementing the strategy that the architect presented a few years ago in the book, which he coauthored with Vladimir Sedov, called “30:70. Architecture as a Balance of Forces”.
Walking on Water
In the nearest future, the Marc Chagall Embankment will be turned into Moscow’s largest riverside park with green promenades, cycling and jogging trails, a spa center on water, a water garden, and sculptural pavilions designed in the spirit of the Russian avant-garde artists of the 1920, and, first of all, Chagall himself. In this issue, we are covering the second-stage project.
A-Len has developed and patented the “Perfect Apartments” program, which totally eliminates “bad” apartment layouts. In this article, we are sharing how this program came around, what it is about, who can benefit from it, and how.
“Architectural Archaeology of the Narkomfin Building”: the Recap
One of the most important events of 2020 has been the completion of the long-awaited restoration of the monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture – the Narkomfin Building, the progenitor of the typology of social housing in this country. The house retained its residential function as the main one, alongside with a number of artifacts and restoration clearances turned into living museum exhibits.
LIFE on the Setun River
The area in the valley of the Setun River near the Vereiskaya Street got two new blocks of the “LIFE-Kutuzovsky” housing complex, designed by ADM architects. The two new blocks have a retail boulevard of their own, and a small riverside park.