Built by ADM on Moscow’s Sparrow Hills, the new residential complex, although totally up-to-date, shows nobility in its every detail, being a rightful heir to the legacy of this legendary part of Moscow.
Written by: Translated by: Anton Mizonov
19 December 2018
Running between two rivers and two streets – Kosygina Street and Berezhkovskaya Embankment – the Vorobyevskoe Highway continues the tradition of these parts: back in the day, this land hosted manors of the nobility, and still later on, during the soviet period, the houses of academicians and prominent scientists. Today, this place is extremely popular among those who seek a cozy shelter offering a respectable kind of countryside life essentially in the very heart of one of the world’s busiest megalopolises. On the one side, you are surrounded by greenery and water, and, on the other side, you can admire the main “postcard” views of Moscow, which were once admired by Napoleon and Bulgakov’s Voland.
The peculiarity of the land site where the residential complex “Vorobyev Dom” was built, apart from its being situated on the very borderline of the nature reserve and the go-down to the Setun River, is the fact that legally there were two land sites, and uniting them would have hindered the project significantly. To a certain extent, this defined the composition of the complex: the land site of a smaller size of 0.06-hectare got the most compact unit out of three, five stories high, while the 0.8-hectare land site got two more residential buildings, one with flats, the other with apartments, 13 and 16 stories high respectively. Joining these three buildings with a transparent podium gave the contours of the green plateau of the yard and opened it up to the woodland and the river, turning the whole complex to them.
In addition, the idea to cover the human-proportionate level of the complex with the marquee of the podium allowed the architects to make a far more impressive turnaround of the project – taking it from the level of another rank-and-file housing project to the level of a residential complex marked by nobility and aristocratic exquisiteness. The latter are to be seen in the proportions of the structure and in the arrangement of the propylaea; in the wood sheathing on the inner side – where its texture catches the eye and literally wraps one into warmth; in the perfectly circular windows that “cut through” this sheathing and turn out to be sometimes spotlights and sometimes frames for trees; and in the very configuration of the marquee and the design of the driving access to the buildings: the cantilevered structure follows the contours of the roundabout that the hallways of all the three buildings go out to, and together they form a grand entrance, the kind you see in expensive hotels. The driver comes around, the passenger alights, and off the car goes – it drives either totally away or to the two-level underground parking garage. There is an overland parking lot as well but it is a very compact and payable one, devised for a short stay only – like near the mentioned hotels or airport terminals.
Therefore, the yard is designed as being completely vehicle-free – although small in size, it is surprisingly versatile. The architects even deliberately recreated relief drops characteristic for the local terrain and planted trees on the hills, while in the recessions that, when viewed from above, look like giant boulders (the authors jokingly called them “the balls”) and are paved with granite mosaic of painstakingly selected colors (yet another minute detail that, nonetheless, surely indicates class and nobility), they made zones for active and meditative recreation, including circular wooden benches, tubs for the trees and the lawn, and a playground of the same streamlined shape as the other recessions with a practical rubber coverage.
The yard is also the place, to which comes out the platform, raised on a podium, with a balustrade and yet another marquee, which gives four apartments on the ground floor of the 16-story high building a whole new quality: they have patios of their own, upon which they can make dacha-style tea parties. The rest of the premises on the ground floor are non-residential: lobbies, management offices, and a children’s center in one of the buildings. And, if we are to look at the complex from the woodland and the Setun River, we will see an array of stores that look as if they had grown into the hill – and one will hardly guess that the architects designed the façade of the underground parking garage in this way.
Generally speaking, depending on one’s angle of vision, new and new layers come up. Again, if we are to look from up above (which is quite natural, come right down to it, for most of the residents of the complex, isn’t it?) that the roof of the podium – although the architects weren’t ultimately able to make it completely green the way they originally intended – became an organic part of the landscaping solutions and is marked by the characteristic mosaic “belts”.
Now we are making a 90-degree turn and put our gaze on the façades: if the architects took such a great pain selecting the tones of the granite paving we can only imagine how much effort was invested in the façades. The materials, just as they should be, are exclusively noble and, to some extent, of the signature “Moscow” kind: white stone, red brick, wood (rather, thin ceramic panels that imitate it). But then again, the list of painstakingly chosen materials could be fairly augmented by glass. For example, at the corners of the 16-story building, from where the best views open up, the glass parts are curvilinear and moulded, which yields full-fledged panoramic windows. And, again, these are framed at the top and bottom by stone belts: in order to achieve that, the stone was sawn circle-wise. In combination with the cornice that crowns the residential floors, the image of this house gets something about it that makes it imperceptibly related to the monumental architecture of the buildings standing along the Kosygina Street.
In the building of a smaller height, where the stone is liberally diluted with brick, the corner glass is also of a sophisticated kind - not bent, but without any lintels, so that nothing would stop the view.
The most interesting thing, however, is how these elements made of different materials combine with one another. It would not be an overstatement to call ADM geniuses of façade design: somehow they always manage to make the façade surface just as interesting and diverse as, seemingly, only a landscape of some super-up-to-date park can be (although, speaking on that particular subject, we can see that ADM were still able to make a mini model of it within the space of a regular yard). The staggered rhythm of brick and glazed surfaces, surprise inserts of alternative materials, recessions and screens for the air conditioning units, corrugated surface of the stone – all of this sophisticated (yet still looking quite natural) multilayered structure again puts you in the mind of, on the other hand, a “nest” made with love and care, and, on the other hand, about something that has been formed for years, imbibing the signs and traits of the previous generations.
So, the advertising slogan of the complex “See the Best” is equally applicable to its architecture. Because this a veritable feast for one’s eyes – quite comparable, in terms of breathtaking views, with the iconic panoramas of Moscow that these windows command.
Buyan and the Court Quarter
The news about cancellation of the Tuchkov Buyan park has been stirring the minds of people of St. Petersburg for a week already. In the absence of any verified specific information, we discussed the situation with the architects of the park and the Court Quarter: Nikita Yavein and Evgeny Gerasimov.
The Possibility of Flight
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A Shell by the Sea
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The three brick blocks of the “River Park” housing complex gaze at the water with their terraces. Each block forms a backdrop and two wings, while the residents-only yards turn into “stages” perceived from the river. The landscaped embankment, accessible to all the city people, complements the hierarchy of private, semi-private and public city life that is formed here.
Pompidou Inside Out
Renzo Piano and his GES-2 have already been compared to Ridolfo Aristotele Fioravanti and his Cathedral of the Assumption. And for a good reason: GES-2 also stuns you with its grace and loftiness, but ultimately turns out to be the richest collection of recognizable motifs from an early masterpiece by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the George Pompidou Center in Paris. These motifs are fused into the grid of Shukhov-esque structures, painted white, and they create a dialogue between 1910, 1971, and 2021, built on references (not devoid of a poster-like quality) to the main masterpiece. The basilica-shaped space of the former power station is taken apart virtually just like the museum, in accordance with the concept by Teresa Mavica.
Next to Lidval and Nobel
The housing complex designed by Anatoly Stolyarchuk in Neishlotsky Alley: tactful change of scale, tribute to the memory of the place, Finnish additions to the functional typology – specifically, saunas in the apartments – and plans for receiving a BREEAM certificate.
And stabbed it with a knife
The leader of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Wolf D. Prix, presented three projects that he is currently doing in Russia: a complex in Sevastopol, Crimea, which, as it turned out, a western architect could build bypassing the sanctions, because this is a cultural project; a museum and theater center in Kemerovo, and the “SKA Arena”, which is built in the stead of the destroyed Sports and Concert Complex in St. Petersburg – during the presentation the latter was symbolized by a round cake that the architect eventually cut.
The Thin Matter
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The new business center built in Moscow’s district of Presnya in the 1st Zemelny Lane is all about technology and sustainability. Its streamlined shapes and white facade grid are combined with a new version of vertical greenery: the green of wild grapes, placed at a distance from the facade, instead of arguing with the “pergola” grid, sets it off by contrast.
Lightness of Being
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A Triangular Folded Structure
The project of the new terminal of the Muraviev-Amursky airport in Blagoveshchensk offers architecture based on a modular form – endowed with a special imagery, it becomes the basis both for the carrying structures of the building and the plastique of the facade, at the same time reverberating in the interior design.
The Breath of the East
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The Openwork XX-Construction Set
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The Spinning Vibe
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Tolerant Aesthetics of Terraforming
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The Town in the Snuff-box
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The Northern Versailles
On the bank of the magnificent Vychegda River, in a picturesque location six kilometers away from Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi republic, the renowned neoclassical architect Mikhail Filippov has designed the town of Yugyd-Choi in the traditional aesthetics inspired by the center of St. Petersburg. The customer Elena Soboleva, the head of the Syktyvkar Housing Construction Fund, sees her mission in making Yugyd-Choi the hallmark of the republic.
Analysis and Synthesis
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Tatiana Guk: “A document that determines the development of the city has to be flexible”
In this issue, we are talking to the director of the Genplan Institute of Moscow about trends that determine the future, about the 70-year history of the Institute, which is celebrating an anniversary this year, about electronic computing in the field of urban planning and about international experience accumulated in this area, as well as about how the Institute is involved with other cities, and about the perfect document for the city development, which has to be flexible and strategic.
The high-rise housing complex MOD, whose construction has begun in Moscow’s district of Maryina Roshcha next to the site, on which the new Russian Railways headquarters will be built, is responding to the “central” context of the future city surroundings, and at the same time is positioned by the architects as a “manifesto of Modernist minimalist principles in architecture”.
A project by DNK ag won in a competition for the science campus of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics in the city of Sarov, conducted by ROSATOM corporation in collaboration with the Moscow State University, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Kurchatov Institute.
The new terminal of the Leonov Airport in Kemerovo was built in record-breaking time, despite the pandemic. It became one of the important factors for the rapid development of the city, visually reflecting its dedication to the first spacewalk, both in the interiors and on the facades. Its main features are the “starry sky” effect and overall openness.
The Spiral Approach
The school building in the city of Nur-Sultan, designed by Vera Budko and Anton Nadtochiy from beginning to end – from concept to working documentation – became the embodiment of the architects’ method for creating a modern educational environment, which the ATRIUM architects have been developing for years. Its fundamentals include creating an inspiring environment that motivates you to create. This is why the new school received a shape of an ornamental golden spiral that symbolizes ascension to knowledge; on the inside, the building is a compound and multifunctional “city within a city” with multilevel atriums, amphitheaters, and varying routes.
Stream and Lines
Stepan Liphart’s projects of Art Deco villas demonstrate technical symbolism in combination with a subtle reference to the 1930s. One of the projects is a “paper” one; the others are designed for real customers: a top manager, an art collector, and a developer.
On the Bank of a Very Quiet River
The project of landscaping the territory of the residential complex NOW in Moscow’s Nagatinskaya Valley goes beyond the limits of its task and looks more like a modern park: with viewing platforms, an embankment, spaces different in their moods, and thought-out scenarios for visitors aged between 0 and 80.