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 Gallery Approach
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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.
Evgeny Podgornov: “You need to make your projects visible”
The leader of Saint-Petersburg’s architectural company Intercolumnium explains why his company’s portfolio includes projects ranging from hi-tech to historicism, discourses upon high-rise landmarks, about the clients, and about the sources of the drive that the city needs.
Next to the Theater
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