Situated in the north of Moscow, the housing complex “Caramel” was to have one outboard balcony per each apartment. Such a composition inevitably creates a “thermometer look” – but ADM Architects were able to “kill” this undesirable effect by introducing a play of planks of every conceivable hue of the chocolate color.
Working in the conditions of dense city construction – and the space between the Nizhnyaya Maslovka, Butyrskaya, and Bashilovslaya street has long since been formed – is always about facing a great number of restrictions. However, when you happen to “inherit” a house with its intrinsic “genes” presented by the construction blueprint and the number of floors (and, at the same time, with a few prominent “inherent vices”), this takes challenge you have to face to a whole new level. What you have to do is make a high-precision surgery on a living and breathing organism – and then hold your breath that complications will not set in.
In the case of “Caramel” housing complex, this was exactly the situation described above: the construction had already begun, the position of the building and its yard had been settled, and at the same time the project needed some major revisions to be done without altering either configuration or number of floors. ADM architects completely redesigned the two underground levels and the first floor, took on the function of the master designer, redid the project and the working documentation stages, passed expert review, and got the architectural and urban planning permissions. And – the miracle did happen: even at this early stage, the architects were able to get rid of the “inherent vices” by changing both structure and (to a certain extent) ideology of the complex.
For example, while in the old project the hallway entrances were situated on the inner side of the house, and there was a free driving access to them through the yard, in the new version there is just one central entrance with a spacious lobby. Now the entrance is organized from the outside, and one can either proceed to the residents-only yard or to one of the two elevator groups, each of which leads to its “own” section of the house, or to the shops that occupy a considerable part of the ground floor and “look” outside with their windows and doors. As for the cars, the driving is organized as follows: immediately from the 2nd Kvesisskaya Street, they drive into a double-level underground parking garage, and the yard gets inaccessible to them.
Further on, the architects had to find an acceptable solution for the concrete ramp situated on the west border of the land site – joined with the ventilation chambers and other mechanical rooms, it turned into a bulky object more than 3 meters high and almost 10 meters long – this volume “ate up” all but the whole territory of the yard. What the architects did was integrate it into a manmade hill covered with grass and trees, and singled out some of the concrete surface for playgrounds, flowerbeds, and recreation zones with benches. As a result, they got a two-level yard with active and interesting kind of geoplastics, full of not only functions but also impressions that people will be getting from the height differences and the effect of a hilly terrain. Not only was the yard saved from going to waste but it also got an extra emotional value by turning into a terrain cure spot.
However, probably, the main challenge that the architects had to face were the balconies, originally designed virtually for each of the apartments; and at the time the project was revised the apartments were already being sold – the architects had to work “on the fly”, first of all, thinking about the way to eliminate the effect of a thermometer, which inevitably shows through when identical glazed balconies are stacked on top of one another giving a recognizable intrepid taste to the buildings of our cities. In spite of the fact that the balconies could not be removed, Andrey Romanov and Ekaterina Kuznetsova were able to mitigate this effect to a large degree – or at least divert people's attention from it.
The “plastic surgery” was done along several lines at once: surface-wise, the architects solved the issue by introducing transparent and nontransparent rectangles of varying width; volume-wise – by introducing elements of different scale standing out, from air conditioning unit casings to vertical blocks of balconies. And, finally, as far as the entire façade is concerned – by using different colors and textures: the thin broad ceramic tiles of various shades of pale, looking like plaster, create a grisaille watercolor background, making the slab of the house look indeed like a gigantic candy and justifying the gastronomic name of the complex. On the glazed balconies, they turn into brittle, almost white, lintels that bravely dissect the glass massifs. Here, on the stanzas, the floors are grouped in twos, and a different rhythm appears – as if one house grows through the other, as if we are seeing two genetic codes here, one more on the thicker side, the other totally gothic.
And, finally, this whole multilayered, yet still clearly readable, structure, alternates with inserts made up of aluminum planks of all shades of chocolate – from milky white to bitter dark. They conceal the air-conditioning units installed next to the stanzas, forming a staggered rhythm that is meant to offset the vertical effect. The same ribbons adorn the individual casings of the air conditioning units scattered across the walls in a deliberately asymmetrical fashion, also for the sake of livening up the view and making the building look less predictable. On the façades of the house, the planks are responsible for the horizontal: fractured, decorative, and full of color, like a pretty little scarf. They balance out the vertical, which is doubtlessly dominant here, because it is responsible for making the house look slender and neat, just like a modern building should. The slenderness is achieved through the lines of the stanzas, the vertical proportions of the windows, which, after the 120-centimeter fire safety break regulation was observed, got in their bottom parts gray silk-printed inserts that visually “stretch up” the contour, especially when viewed from a distance. The walls are interpreted as a broad grille of lintels between the window apertures, which also enhances the visual “fitness effect” for the building. As for the vertical, it is enhanced by the numerous grilled on the yard side, which support the stroke pattern of the thin planks.
One should hardly mention the fact that ADM are the perfect masters of such rhythmic bel canto, these multilayered, volumetric and graphic façades, where the architect’s main task is to stay within the framework of the grid that holds the volume together, adding, at the same time, a twist of picturesque asymmetry that livens up the whole thing. In this specific instance, it is obvious that the task was to “rock” the monotonous and predictable volume, yet, as true professionals, the architects were able to resist the temptation of overdoing it. Besides, one can easily notice the similarities between the solutions used in this project and the architecture of the Hilton Doubletree Hotel on the Leningrad Avenue: the same combination of picturesque spots and punctured lines, the same play of window apertures, sometimes broad and sometimes narrow, the same sophisticated “knot” of verticals and horizontals that nonetheless makes perfect sense. What is different here is the scale, the function, and the materials – the hotel project used plaster and ceramic planks, and here we see ceramic walls and aluminum planks. But still, the set of techniques is very close to that, which is perfectly normal: the authors keep on developing their method, applying it to a new task.
Therefore, from a rank-and-file high-rise with monotonous rows of balconies and potentially oppressive yard, “Caramel” turned into a business-class housing complex with all the “ensuing consequences”: a recognizable architectural image, a green vehicle-free yard, a public ground floor, an underground parking garage, and panoramic glazing in apartments from 54 to 228 square meters. No complications did set in.
The Gallery Approach
In this article, we are covering the concept of a Central District Clinic for 240 patients, designed by Ginzburg Architects, which won at a competition organized by the Architects Union and the Healthcare Ministry.
In this issue, we are publishing the concept of a standard clinic designed by UNK Project, which took second place in the competition organized by the Union of Architects of Russia in collaboration with the Healthcare Ministry.
From Foundation to Teaspoon
Based on the taste of their friendly clients, the architects Olga Budennaya and Roman Leonidov designed and built a house in the Moscow metropolitan area playing Art Nouveau. At the same time, they enriched the typology of a private house with modern functions of a garage loft and a children’s art studio.
Continuation and Development
The second “office” stage of Comcity, the most popular business park of the “New Moscow” area, continues the underground street of the already existing part of the complex, responding to its architectural identity.
A Comfortable City in Itself
The project that we are about to cover is seemingly impossible amidst human anthills, chaotically interspersed with old semi-neglected dachas. Meanwhile, the housing complex built on the Comcity business part does offer a comfortable environment of decent city: not excessively high-rise and moderately private as a version of the perfect modern urbanist solution.
Moving on the Edge
The housing complex “Litsa” (“Faces”) on Moscow’s Khodynka Field is one of the new grand-scale buildings that complement the construction around it. This particular building skillfully tackles the scale, subjugating it to the silhouette and the pattern; it also makes the most of the combination of a challenging land site and formidable square footage requirements, packing a whole number of features within one volume, so the house becomes an analogue of a city. And, to cap it all, it looks like a family that securely protects the children playing in the yard from... well, from everything, really.
Visual Stability Agent
A comparatively small house standing on the border of the Bolshevik Factory combines two diametrically opposite features: expensive materials and decorative character of Art Deco, and a wide-spaced, even somewhat brutal, facade grid that highlights a laminated attic.
The Faraday Cage
The project of the boutique apartment complex in the 1st Truzhenikov Lane is the architects’ attempt to squeeze a considerable volume into a tiny spot of land, at the same time making it look graceful and respectable. What came to their rescue was metal, stone, and curvilinear glass.
The Union of Art and Technology
His interest for architecture of the 1930’s is pretty much the guiding star for Stepan Liphart. In his project of the “Amo” house on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island, the architect based himself on Moscow Art Deco - aesthetically intricate and decorated in scratch-work technique. As a bonus, he developed the city block typology as an organic structure.
The project that Evgeniy Gerasimov and Partners developed for Moscow’s Leningrad Avenue: the tallest building in the company’s portfolio, continuing the tradition of Moscow’s Stalin architecture.
In the project that they developed for a southern region of Russia, OSA Architects use multilayered facades that create an image of seaside resort architecture, and, in the vein of the latest trends of today, mix up different social groups that the residents belong to.
Just a Mirror for the Sun
The house that Sergey Skuratov designed in Nikolovorobinsky Alley is thought out down to the last detail. It adapts three historical facades, interprets a feeling of a complex city, is composed of many layers, and catches plenty of sunlight, from sunrises to sunsets. The architect himself believes that the main role of this house is creating a background for another nearby project of his, Art House in the Tessinsky Alley.
Part of the Whole
On June 5, the winners of Moscow Architectural Award were announced. The winners list includes the project of a school in Troitsk for 2,100 students, with its own astronomy dome, IT testing ground, museum, and a greenhouse on the roof.
Yet another project of a private school, in which Archimatika realizes the concept of aesthetic education and introduces a new tradition: combining Scandinavian and Soviet experience, turning to works of art, and implementing sustainable technologies.
In the “Parallel House” residence that he designed in the Moscow metropolitan area, the architect Roman Leonidov created a dramatic sculptural composition from totally basic shapes – parallelepipeds, whose collision turned into an exciting show.
In the Istra district of Moscow metropolitan area, the tandem of 4izmerenie and ARS-ST designed a sports complex – a monovolume that has the shape of a chamfered parallelepiped with a pointed “nose” like a ship’s bow.
Stairway to Heaven
The project of a hotel in the settlement of Yantarny is an example of a new recreational complex typology, and a new format that unites the hotel, the business, and the cultural functions. All of this is complemented by 100% integration with nature.
Cape of Good Hope
In this issue, we are showing all the seven projects that participated in a closed-door competition to create a concept for the headquarters of Gazprom Neft, as well as provide expert opinions on those projects.
The Outer Space
Honoring the 300th anniversary of the Kuznetsk coal fields in 2021, a new passenger terminal of the Aleksey Leonov Airport in the city of Kemerovo will be built, designed by GK Spectrum and ASADOV Architectural Bureau.
The Pivot of Narkomfin Building
Ginzburg Architects finished the restoration of the Narkomfin Building’s laundry unit – one of the most important elements of the famous monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture.
The housing complex “Respublika” is so large that it can be arguably called a micro-town, yet, at the same time, it easily overcomes most of the problems that usually arise with mass housing construction. How could Archimatika achieve that? We are examining that on the example of the first stage of the complex.
The Flowing Lines
The five houses of the “Svoboda” block belonging to the “Simvol” residential complex present a vivid example of all-rounded work performed by the architects on an integral fragment of the city, which became the embodiment of the approach to architecture that hitherto was not to be seen anywhere in Moscow: everything is subjected to the flow of lines – something like a stream, enhanced by the powerful pattern of the facades akin to “super-graphics”.
A City by the Water
The concept of a large-scale housing development at the edge of Voronezh, near the city reservoir, or “the sea”, as it is locally called, uses the waterside height difference to create a sophisticated public space, paying a lot of attention to the distribution of masses that determine the look of the future complex if viewed from the opposite bank of the river.
A Journey to the Country of Art Deco
The “Little France” residential complex on the 20th line of the Vasilyevsky Island presents an interesting make-believe dialogue between its architect, Stepan Liphart, the architect of the New Hermitage, masters of the Silver Age, and Soviet Art Deco, about interesting professional topics, such as a house with a courtyard in the historical center of Saint Petersburg, and the balance between the wall and the stained glass in the architectonics of the facade. Here are the results of this make-believe conversation.
A House in a Port
This housing complex on the Dvinskaya Street is the first case of modern architecture on the Gutuevsky Island. The architectural bureau “A-Len” thoroughly explores the context and creates a landmark for further transformations of this area of Saint Petersburg.
Balance of Infill Development
Anatoly Stolyarchuk Architectural Studio is designing a house that inadvertently prevails over the surrounding buildings, yet still tries to peacefully coexist with the surrounding environment, taking it to a next level.
The Precious Space
Evolution Design and T+T Architects reported about the completion of the interior design project of Sberbank headquarters on the Kutuzovsky Avenue. In the center of the atrium, hovers the “Diamant” meeting room; everything looks like a chest full of treasures, including the ones of a hi-tech kind.
Big Little Victory
In a small-sized school located in Domodedovo in Moscow metropolitan area, ASADOV_ architects did a skillful job of tackling the constraints presented by the modest budget and strict spatial limitations – they designed sunlit classrooms, comfortable lounges, and even a multi-height atrium with an amphitheater, which became the center of school life.
The Social Biology of Landscape
The list of new typologies of public spaces and public projects has been expanded yet again — thanks to Wowhaus. This time around, this company came up with a groundbreaking by Russian standards approach to creating a place where people and animals can communicate.
Watched by the Angels from up Above
Held in the General Staff building of the Hermitage Museum, the anniversary exhibition of “Studio 44” is ambitious and diverse. The exhibition was designed to give a comprehensive showcase of the company’s architecture in a whole number of ways: through video, models, drawings, installations, and finally, through a real-life project, the Enfilade, which the exhibition opens up, intensifies, and makes work the way it was originally intended.
A New Version of the Old City
The house at Malaya Ordynka, 19, fits in perfectly with the lineup of the street, looking even as if it straightened the street up a little, setting a new tone for it – a tone of texture, glitter, “sunny” warmth, and, at the same time, reserved balance of everything that makes the architecture of an expensive modern house.
Stepan Liphart: “Standing your ground is the right thing to do”
A descendant of German industrialists, “Jophan’s son”, and an architect, speaks about how studying architectural orders tempers one’s character, and how a team of just a few people can design grand-scale housing projects to be built in the center of Saint Petersburg. Also: Santa Claus appearing in a Stalin high-rise, an arch portal to the outer space, mannerism painting, and the palaces of Paris – all covered in an interview with Stepan Liphart.
Honey and Copper
In the Moscow area, the architect Roman Leonidov designed the “Cool House” residence, very much in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, spreading it parallel to the ground, and accentuating the horizontal lines in it. The color composition is based on juxtaposition of warm wood of a honey hue and cold copper blue.
The Ring on the Saisara Lake
The building of the Philharmonic Hall and the Theater of Yakut Epos, standing on the shore of the sacred lake, is inscribed into an epic circle and contains three volumes, reminiscent of the traditional national housing. The roof is akin to the Alaas – a Yakut village standing around a lake. In spite of its rich conceptual agenda, the project remains volumetrically abstract, and keeps up a light form, making the most of its transparency, multiple layers, and reflections.
Architecture of Evanescence
On the Vernadskogo Avenue, next to the metro station, appeared a high-rise landmark that transformed the entire area: designed by UNK Project, the “Academic” business center uncovered, in the form of its architecture, the meanings of the local place names.
The Theater and Music Circles
The contest-winning ambitious grand-scale project of the main theater and concert complex of the Moscow area includes three auditoriums, a yard – a public area – a higher school of music, and a few hotels. It promises to become a high-profile center for the classical music festivals on a national scale.
The Line of a Hardened Breakthrough
Designed by Stepan Liphart, the housing complex “Renaissance” continues the line of the historical center of Saint Petersburg, reinterpreting the Leningrad Art Deco and the neoclassical architecture of the 1930-50’s in reference to the civilization challenges posed by our century.
The Regeneration Experience
The housing project “Metsenat”, which occupies the area next to the Resurrection Church in Moscow’s Kadashi, has a long and complicated history, full of protests, victories, and hopes. Now the project is complete: the architects were able to keep the views, the scale, and a few historical buildings; we can examine the end result now. The project was developed by Ilia Utkin.
The Terraces of the Crystal Cape
Proposed by Nikita Yavein, the concept of a museum, educational, and memorial complex to be built in the city of Sevastopol avoids straightforward accents and over-the-top dramatics, interpreting the history of this place along with the specifics of its landscape, and joining the public space of the operated stairway and amphitheaters with an imposing monument.