In the apartment complex CO_LOFT, designed by DNK ag, the industrial heritage of the 1930’s is reinterpreted through the ideas of the 1920’s, when the search for new types of housing was one of the main branches of architecture.
The name of the apartment complex CO_LOFT, situated near the Tulskaya metro station, reflects two paradigms – its former industrial function and the idea of a commune house, which is essentially close to the modern idea of “co-living” that is becoming ever more popular nowadays.
A rather compact land site, which includes 3 and 4-story buildings, is situated near the Serpukhovskoy Val. Until recently, this place hosted the electrical measuring instrument factory, whose history can be traced back to 1935 when the first typewriter and adding machine repair shops were opened here. The first buildings of the complex are known to refer to the break of the 1920-1930’s. There was also a boiler house, the remnant of which is a tall chimney – a peculiar centerpiece of the entire block. Most likely, the boiler house was a part of the housing project designed for the workers of the factory “Novaya Zarya” built in 1928–1930 by the project of the architects Ivan Zvezdin and Mikhail Motylev.
Over the long time of their existence, the workshops expanded, the buildings were reconstructed, and the complex got numerous annexes. This chaotic construction cannot be called an ensemble by any stretch of imagination: the different sizes and colors of the annexes, combination of panels and all kinds of other construction materials make it impossible to speak about any prominent architectural character.
However, it is the history of the place, as well as the constructivist tradition of this area of Moscow, that became for DNK ag one of the sources of inspiration for coming up with the concept of the apartments. The neighboring residential area designed by Zvezdin and Motylev was devised as an ensemble that presupposed the creation of a few housing communities – neighbors connected by common day-to-day interests, working routine, and spending their spare time together. The idea of joint pastime of the residents constituted the basis for the project of redeveloping the industrial factory complex, and to a large extent defined the functional zoning of CO_LOFT, while the rescript of buildings of different characters and ages was turned by the architects into an exciting play of volumes and textures.
“Working in the conditions of a living urban environment, we wanted to find some theme, some source to draw inspiration from, because these buildings do not really look like they have any visual value or attractiveness – shares the architect Natalia Sidorova – The context, and, specifically, the numerous constructivist projects in this area of the city – the area of the Khavsko-Shabolovsky complex and “Novaya Zarya”, together with the Shukhov Tower – gave us one of the starting points for designing the inner structure of the complex, in which an important part is played by the public function. At the same time, it was important for us reflect today’s identity and the diversity of life. And all of this turned out to be quite resonant with the client’s desire to create something unusual and modern, and at the same time having historical ties”.
A Song About the New Way of Life
The approach towards reinterpreting the industrial territory under the new realities, proposed by DNK ag, allowed the company to win the invitation-only competition, and coincided with the client’s desire to develop the concept of a residential complex with elements of co-living in it, a new housing format, which in many respects resembles the soviet “commune houses” of the 1920’s, the difference being that it offers more comfort and satisfaction of individual needs.
Back in the day, the new “way of life” of the young socialist state required new solutions for the housing construction. The commune houses or “house-communes” with their communal education of children, food preparation, household chores and recreation, whose purpose was “to get rid of the yoke of the household economy’, were essentially a response to the fast-paced industrialization and urbanization: the lack of useful floor space of the housing “cells” was more than outweighed by the “socialized” public spaces – the habitual kitchen gave way to a canteen, and the questions of spending one’s free time were solved by a public library and playrooms for children. Paradoxically, today, almost a hundred years later, the ideas of socialized way of life became relevant again. The technological development, the information revolution, and the global spreading of homesourcing brought some major changes to the public/private ratio. Similar actions performed on one common platform are the sign of modern times.
DNK ag are interpreting the theme of a commune house in an extremely graceful way, delicately entwining the platform for joint activities into the fabric of the complex. Caused by a multitude of random factors, the complex configuration of the project resolves into singling out the central nucleus with public spaces and placing the apartments or “housing cells”, as they would have been called a century ago, along the perimeter.
Two historical buildings – one made of prefab panels, the other from brick – come together at a right angle, the third standing away from them. Together, they once formed a semi-open yard, which was filled, already in the 1960’s, with a volume of metallic structures coated with profiled sheeting – they formed a transition block between the buildings. According to the project, now this place hosts a co-working space, a reception, a gym, and a laundromat – everything that one needs for fruitful joint actions. One can get here through the main entrance passing through a little square.
The basement floor of the four-story-high building also includes spaces for commercial premises adjacent to the public nucleus. The combination of business and housing functions that you would naturally expect from a loft is viewed in this specific instance as an opportunity to do some kind of business that would unite all of the residents of the complex.
The central nucleus also includes a parking garage with a convenient driving entrance on the first and basement floors. The underground levels of the residential units are also equipped with storage lockers. It is also planned to make the residents’ life more diverse at the expense of various services, the operations of some of which is supervised by the community manager who also acts as a community moderator.
All of the former factory buildings consist of apartments. The architects are preserving the dimensions and the numbers of floors, at the same time modifying the façades in full accordance with their new function.
The range of the apartments in the complex is quite diverse; almost each of the apartments is endowed with some unique qualities, which brings us back to experiments of the 1920’s aimed at crash testing various life scenarios in such houses and various arrangements of their premises. The first floor of one of the buildings will include double-side two-level apartments with a cute little garden of their own – a curious analogue of a townhouse. In another building, single level apartments will have patios of their own; these little gardens form something like a street writhing the block.
The apartments of the studio type – with a small floor space of 20 square meters – are essentially modular cells that can be joined together within the framework of the bearing structure.
The apartments with an unusually elongated floor plan, whose configuration was conditioned by the width of one of the units, are comparatively small in terms of their floor space but they still have an advantage of numerous windows, which makes it possible to zone the space in different ways, forming a few “rooms”. Most of the apartments have balconies, sometimes of the “French” type, sometimes regular ones.
Another feature of the complex is the usable roof of the residential buildings and the underground parking garage. The residents of the upper floors and the apartments adjoining the inner patio are able to walk out on it, thus getting a “hanging garden” of their own.
The project is also not without two-level apartments – as we remember, the housing cells of the experimental houses of the 1920’s also oftentimes had two levels, as, for example, the K-type cell in the famous Narkomfin Building. In the modern Moscow design, two-level apartments are a disappearing rarity, and these certainly add the complex’s “typological” charm.
The New Look of Factory Clothes
The subsequent layers of time also got reflected in the coating textures, as well as the materials of the outside walls. The most “recent” block of metallic structures – the heritage of the recent soviet past – got glass façades, which serve as a link between the two “more material” brick buildings.
The four-story building, the oldest in the complex, whose first floor hosts various businesses, is the brightest reminder of the industrial past of this place. Its red-brick walls will be cleared up, while the new residential function is signified by the balconies and bay windows. The tall chimney of the boiler-house is turned into an artifact, also reminding us of the original function of this place.
The small brick building with little gardens is decorated in dark-gray colors. The architects added low window sills and glass bay windows with sideshift slide frames of various proportions that came together to form a rhythmic composition defining the individual character of each of the cells. The main peculiar feature of this unit is a mosaic panel picture that survived from the times when this building hosted the electrical devices factory. This is the heritage of another period in the life of the complex – the epoch of modernism.
Amazingly, the subject matter of the picture – innovative technologies, a community of people of different professions – is resonant with today’s way of life and the concept of the project.
The third building, alongside of which also stretches an array of little gardens, has original façades that highlight its original structure. According to the project, it panels are to be dismantled altogether to be replaced by brick.
The two-level apartments stand out thanks to the different color of their bricks; the flat-surface solution is diluted by windows or different width and bay windows.
The third level with single-story apartments and a corridor that unites them inside (and on the façade) is designed as a single-cut one, which gives it a mansard character, strengthened thanks to the use of the terrain – the vertical rhythm of the brick ribs visually stretches this level up.
“What we wanted to do was preserve in this complex its history that has been naturally formed – says Natalia Sidorova – It was very important for us not only to gracefully introduce the new functions but also highlight the legacy and historical individuality not just through preserving the artifacts – the chimneys and the mosaic panels that we, of course, regard as important elements of implementing our idea – but also by demonstrating the architectural layers of many year”.
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 Chaste 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.
Three towers on a podium over the Ramenka River are the new dominant elements on the edge of a Soviet “microdistrict”. Their scale is quite modern: the height is 176 m – almost a skyscraper; the facades are made of glass and steel. Their graceful proportions are emphasized by a strict white grid, and the volumetric composition picks up the diagonal “grid of coordinates” that was once outlined in the southwest of Moscow by the architects of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clouds over the Railroad
In the stead of former warehouses near “Lyubertsy-1” station, a new housing complex has been built, which peacefully coexists with the railroad, with the flyover bridge, and with the diverse surrounding scenery, not only dominating over the latter, but improving it.
Towers in a Forest
The authors of the housing complex “In the Heart of Pushkino” were faced with a difficult task: to preserve the already existing urban forest, at the same time building on it a compound of rather high density. This is how three towers at the edge of the forest appeared with highly developed public spaces in their podiums and graceful “tucks” in the crowning part of the 18-story volumes.
The Towers of “Sputnik”
Six towers, which make up a large housing complex standing on the bank of the Moskva River at the very start of the Novorizhskoe Highway, provide the answers to a whole number of marketing requirements and meets a whole number of restrictions, offering a simple rhythm and a laconic formula for the houses that the developer preferred to see as “flashy”.
The Starting Point
In this article, we are reviewing two retro projects: one is 20 years old, the other is 25. One of them is Saint Petersburg’s first-ever townhouse complex; the other became the first example of a high-end residential complex on Krestovsky Island. Both were designed and built by Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners.
The Path to New Ornamentation
The high-end residential complex “Aristocrat” situated next to a pine park at the start of the Rublev Highway presents a new stage of development of Moscow’s decorative historicist architecture: expensively decorated, yet largely based on light-colored tones, and masterfully using the romantic veneer of majolica inserts.
Renovation: the Far East Style
The competition project of renovating two central city blocks of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by UNK project, won the nomination “Architectural and planning solutions of city construction”.
The Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome presents Sergei Tchoban’s exhibition “Imprint of the future. Destiny of Piranesi’s City”. The exhibition includes four etchings, based on Roman architectural views of the XVIII century complemented by futuristic insertions, as well as a lot of drawings that investigate the same topic, at times quite expressively. The exhibition poses questions, but does not seem to give any answers. Since going to Rome is pretty problematic now, let’s at least examine the pictures.
In Search of Visual Clarity
In this article, we are reviewing a discussion devoted to the question of designing city space elements, which is quite complicated for the Russian expanses of land. The discussion was organized by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the ArchMoscow convention in Gostiny Dvor.
The City of the Sun
Jointly designed by Sergey Tchoban and Vladimir Plotkin, the VTB Arena Park complex can arguably be considered the perfect experiment on solving the centuries-old controversy between traditional architecture and modernism. The framework of the design code, combined with the creative character of the plastique-based dialogue between the buildings, formed an all-but-perfect fragment of the city fabric.
...The Other Was Just Railroad Gin*
In their project of the third stage of “Ligovsky City” housing complex, located in the industrial “gray” belt of Saint Petersburg, the KCAP & Orange Architects & A-Len consortium set before themselves a task of keeping up the genius loci by preserving the contours of the railroad and likening the volumes of residential buildings to railroad containers, stacked up at the goods unloading station.
Lions on Glass
While reconstructing the facades of Building 4 of Moscow Hospital #23, SPEECH architects applied a technique, already known from Saint Petersburg projects by Sergey Tchoban – cassettes with elements of classical architecture printed on glass. The project was developed gratis, as a help to the hospital.