Neatly inscribed into the respectable housing environment of the Petrogradskaya Side, the residential complex “Futurist” teeters on the brink of postconstructivism and Art Deco. Its main task, however, was to breathe new life into the building of the Levashovsky bread factory and make it flourish once again.
Written by: Alyona Kuznetsova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
27 December 2018
The project of the elite housing complex Futurist consists in redeveloping the Levashovsky bread factory situated in a triangle formed by the Barochnaya and Bolshaya Zelenina streets and the Levashovsky Avenue, not far away from the spot where the Karpovka River flows into the Neva. The factory was built in 1933 based on the project of engineer George Marsakov. He developed a “vertical ring” bread-baking technology, which ultimately determined the shape of the building: the production facility consisting of cylinders fitting into one another, and the boiler house covered with a dome. The factory is famous for the fact that during the Nazi seize of Leningrad it never for a second stopped baking bread.
In 2012, the building got a status of an architectural monument of regional importance, and the production facilities moved over to a new place. The factory stood empty until 2016, when it (together with the neighboring 2.5-hectare land site) was bought out by the RBI, a developer company that decided to invest both in the construction of a new housing complex and in reconstruction of this heritage site.
The project, developed by the architectural firm “Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners”, solves three tasks: building a commercially successful housing complex, bringing the city block’s housing stock to order, and introducing into the city’s day-to-day life a monument of architecture that for a long time has been hiding behind fences and later additions.
Probably, it will make sense to start off with the latter. The volumetric and planning solutions, the historical façades, the staircases, and the factory chimney will be kept fully intact, while about 15 of the surrounding buildings of the soviet period, which are not included in the boundaries of the heritage site and simply make visual “noise” – will be torn down altogether (CLICKABLE). The company “Development Systems” has already presented (CLICKABLE) a 3D BIM model of the Levashovsky bread factory created on the basis of laser scanning of the complex.
The concept of operating the complex was prepared by the Agency of urban transformations Genius Loci. The building will be turned into a cultural center containing expo and congress venues, a bakery, various art objects, a book store, offices, and an exposition devoted to the Nazi siege of Leningrad.
In front of the main entrance from the Levashovsky Avenue, there will appear a “grand entrance” square, while from the side of the Bolshaya Zelenina Street, there will be an art park. As for the building itself, it will be clearly viewable from the adjacent streets.
The new residential buildings that frame the bread factory are arranged in a manner that is anything but trivial. Two of them, which stand along the Barochnaya Street and the Levashovsky Avenue, stop the lacunae in the existing construction of the early XX century. In accordance with the plane geometry of the Barochnaya Street, the architects positioned the in-block nine-story building – the tallest and the longest one. Its staircase-like part is echoed by three buildings that are lined up diagonally in an order of decreasing their height down to three floors in the direction of the Bolshaya Zelenina Street, where getting close to the red line is impossible because of the trees growing there. The seventh and the last building stands on the corner. Evgeny Gerasimov explains that such planning structure was to some extent borrowed from the Traktornaya Street, where the houses are joined by semi-arches, and to some extent from the Leitenanta Shmidta Embankment, whose curve is accentuated by the corners; also, to some extent, the configuration was conditioned by the insolation regulations. One way or another, the lines of the master plan turned out to be pretty avant-garde.
The Bolshaya Zelenina Street looks here as if it were turned inside out. The city block consisting of odd buildings of different height resembles the classic “water well” yards of Saint-Petersburg with their inevitable annexes and labyrinths of arches and underpasses. As for the “grand” or “representative” part of the complex, it is situated precisely behind them. Only this is not a classical façade but a constructivist factory building – the closer we get to it, the more reverently the new buildings lower their height in token of respect for the architectural monument.
Thus, the view of the Levashovsky bread factory opens up from the adjacent streets; the accent is strengthened by the grand square and the art park. Together, they create a large public territory that is augmented by an array of residents-only private yards. The architects and the client paid a lot of attention to the landscaping part, setting for themselves a task of making a “model” landscaping project.
The staircase-like configuration of the new city block allowed the architects to create a system of little yards and squares where people would have various scenarios of spending their time outdoors. The most active life goes on around the elongated building, whose first floor is going to host a conference hall, a spa zone, and a small gym. There is also a recreational area joining it on one side, with playgrounds and sports fields, and a promenade on the other side, where one could go for a walk with a stroller or ride a bike. The firewall of the historical building, which goes out to this particular yard, is decorated with vertical greenery. Other yards display mosaic panel pictures, gazebos or benches underneath the trees; there are also ping pong tables and easels for drawing placed underneath one of the arches. The complex is fenced off from the city public areas by a hedgerow.
One can only get into the inside yard through two lobbies that serve the entire complex, which are located in the buildings standing on the Barochnaya and Bolshaya Zelenina streets. The other residential buildings can be entered from the yard.
The landscaping concept picks up the suprematist composition of the master plan, playing with the same rectangles and circles, only on a smaller scale. The rhythm is set by the geometric paving patterns, on the background of which other figures are placed in accordance with a certain logic: wooden boardwalks, neatly trimmed shrubs, and groups of trees. There will be a lot of new trees added to the ones that are already there: pine and fir trees, oaks, maples, willows, and mountain ash.
As for the façades of the buildings, they are deliberately designed in a simple manner, oriented not so much on the avant-garde architecture (although some of its notes are heard in the jagged balconies of the stairway-like part of the elongated building), as in the early post-constructivism, pretty similar to the Lensovet House on the Karpovka – because they are essentially trying to perform the function of the frame of the 1930’s heritage site. On the other hand, the façades of the new houses are decorated with stone, which was almost never the case in the Soviet Russia of the 1930’s, but which in this specific instance is meant to combine the historical prototype of the “proletarian Art Deco” with the modern requirements for bourgeois respectability. Therefore, the basement floor is decorated with dark rock-face granite of various textures, with broad horizontal stripes containing broad grooves. The higher part is decorated with natural Jurassic stone, fine faceting, slabs of the windowsills, the “shutters” of the flutes on the sides of the window apertures, and volumetric stones insets, placed in a staggered order. The latter resemble, on the one hand, the building designed by Evgeny Gerasimov in the Kovensky Lane (CLICKABLE), and, on the other hand, numerous examples of the 1930’s, for example, the Rudnev façades of the Frunze Academy.
The small quadrants of the relief pictures can be traced back both to the Soviet prototypes in the spirit of All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, and to more pristine forms of foreign Art Deco. The golden spicules of the ventilation grills seem to be closer to the image of the Soviet Union, thematically, in any case – but generally, for the sole exception of their expensive materials, the façades almost answer the standards of the early-Stalin architectural style.
Dramatic outlines are only sported by two buildings with public lobbies: the entrance on the Bolshaya Zelenina Street is marked by an asymmetrically placed portico with fluteless semi-columns in the spirit of Ivan Fomin’s “red dorika”; the building on the Barochnaya Street sports a row of triangular bay windows.
The interior design of the entrance zones shows even more clearly the influence of the western Art Deco, austere and at the same time pompous in its own way. Here the architects used artificial marble, black glass, wooden sashes, and carpet reliefs with geometric ornaments.
All the seven buildings rest upon a single underground parking garage. The first floors will host cafés, shops, and other rentable premises. The complex is designed for 199 apartments with a useful floor space ranging from 50 to 190 square meters; most of the windows command views of the Krestovsky Island and the Malaya Neva, the Petrograd Side, and the building of the Levashovsky bread factory.
The project of Futurist was awarded a silver achievement badge at the international architectural festival “Zodchestvo – 2018”. The complex is due to be built and put into operation by 2022.
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
The project of the airport, which ASADOV Architects developed for the city of Tobolsk, and which won in the architectural competition, was not implemented. However, it is interesting as an example of designing an airport building of a very small scale, where the main challenge is the optimal organization of space and infrastructure without compromising the imagery component.
Built in the town of Pushkino in the Moscow area, the “Turgeneva 13” housing complex, while fitting in with the surrounding context, differs from it with the rhythmic austerity of its dual composition, a slight wave of the façade, and the color design, in which one can see two images, winter and summer, both “growing” from the specifics of the place.
A Shell by the Sea
Designing the Sports Palace that will determine the development of the entire northern part of Derbent, ASADOV Architects turned to the architectural legacy of Dagestan, local lore, and ancient layers of history.
Karen Saprichyan is wishing everyone a merry Christmas, presenting a series of letter-shaped skyscrapers. The architect has long since been working on this theme, and has calendars of various years in stock. His latest development is a group of towers designed for the city of NEOM, which will be built in Saudi Arabia.
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
The house named “Medny 3.14” (“Copper 3.14”) is composed of two textures, each of which resembles in its own way some kind of precious fabric, and of three units, each of which is oriented towards one cardinal point. The architecture of the house absorbs the nuances of the context, summing them up and turning them into a single rhythmic structure. In this article, we are examining the new, just-completed, house designed by Sergey Skuratov in Donskaya Street.
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
Blooming Sakura, a campfire party, kids splashing in a swimming pool – no, these are not pictures from a vacation, but everyday life going on in the yards of Kiev’s housing complex “Fayna Town”. In this issue, we are examining how the utopia designed by the architects is wired, and what they did to make it a reality.
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
Designing a residential complex for Tashkent, GENPRO is turning to traditional architecture and modern trends, aiming at emotionality and efficiency: the panjar window lattices and mishrabias are neighboring on vertical greenery and parametric ornaments, while the theme buildings do on a cotton alley and an oriental bazaar.
The Openwork XX-Construction Set
The yard of the Architecture Museum on Moscow’s Vozdvizhenka hosts an installation by DNK ag. It is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the company, and was originally presented at Arch Moscow. The art object is expected to stay in the yard of the museum for one year and set a new tradition – a regularly renewed exhibition project called “Modern Architecture in the yard of MUAR”.
The Spinning Vibe
The pavilion designed by Sergey Tchoban for the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai is a bright and integral architectural statement, whose imagery can be traced back to avant-garde graphic experiments by Jacob Chernikhov, but allows for multiple interpretations. The pavilion looks both like a dome temple, a spinning “Planet Russia”, and the head of a matryoshka doll. Still more interestingly, the core of the exposition is a “brain”. In this article, we take a closer look at the interpretations and the subtleties of the implementation.
Tolerant Aesthetics of Terraforming
The World Expo is a gigantic event; it is difficult to give it one definition or cover it at a glance. All the more so – such an ambitious and record-breaking fair as the one that is now open in Dubai despite all the pandemic restrictions. By no means claiming to present an all-rounded review, we are making an attempt to examine Expo 2020, where signs of aesthetic tolerance of a developer project begin to loom behind the imposing-looking “wings” of “star” architects and delights from space exploration.
The Town in the Snuff-box
The new academic building of Cooperation School in Moscow’s Taganka, designed and built by ASADOV Architects, is a compact volume, at the same time filled with functions and impressions. It easily combines classrooms, a theater, a cafeteria, a gym, and a double-height atrium with an open library and an exit to the terrace – virtually everything that you expect to see in a modern school.
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
The project of the housing complex “Krasin”, designed for the historical center of St. Petersburg, and situated in a very obliging place – next to the Mining University designed by Voronikhin, yet bordering on an industrial area – became the result of a thorough analysis of the specifics of historical construction on the Vasilyevsky Island, and a subsequent synthesis with avoidance of direct stylization, yet forming a recognizable silhouette, resonant with the “old town”.
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.