The pavilion of Chacha Ceremonies at the festival of arts in Tbilisi is almost the quintessence of a few “archetypal” techniques of Alexander Brodsky; and at the same time the Georgian sunshine and wine must have given to it quite a different quality – it looked no longer fragile and brittle but rather as if it was almost made of stone.
Written by: Julia Tarabarina Translated by: Anton Mizonov
The pavilion was built for the Tbilisi festival of arts that took place on the territory of the art and gastronomic cluster Ghvinis Ubani lying around the city’s first (but now ex) cognac brewery No 1 Saradzhishvili, whose pseudo-Roman building was designed and built in 1894-1896 by the architect Alexander Ozerov. The place for the pavilion was found at the foot of the walk leading from the main entrance to the territory belonging to the hotel.
As the authors explain, they came up with the idea of this project when they came across a stack of glass blocks in one of Tbilisi’s warehouses, which contained glass of blue, white, and green colors. The six rows of glass blocks form a wall that is about 22 centimeters thick, and is not exactly transparent but still translucent both ways. The wall is arranged in a perfect circle, resting on metallic structures supplied by Metall.works of Aleksey Khrapov, of whom the architects insisted that he be mentioned in this article as a coauthor of this installation. There is yet another metallic hoop in the top part of the wall; up from it begin the wooden structures of the conical roof, crowned at the top with yet another metallic hoop around the hearth chimney. The cone is covered by two layers of tar paper both inside and outside. The height of the glass block wall is 1.5 meters; the height of the cone of the roof is 6.2 meters. The hearth is situated exactly in the middle; also made up of glass blocks, it glows from the inside. Above it, there is an air extraction system and the chimney; everything is made from unevenly rusted metal but still not corten steel. The little hip, which covers on top the end of the chimney from the rain, is totally orange with rust, and, when viewed from a distance, looks like a decorative finial, the head of a decorative little nail that crowns the tip of the roof – yet, at the same time, serves quite a practical purpose. The hearth is surrounded by plastic beer can boxes that serve as stools. At the base of the walls, there is a low-rise band of the concrete foundation that serves as the leveling base for the glass blocks; the concrete band is pierced by numerous round holes that provide end-to-end ventilation of the pavilion by way of the natural upward draught, since its tall cone endures a rather intensive air flow.
The pavilion perfectly matches the context of Alexander Brodsky’s creative work, even making one suspect that the author deliberately gathered and accentuated in it the most noticeable and characteristic features and archetypes – as is he was aiming at creating a “Brodsky Archetype”. The walls are made from accidentally found recycled materials belonging to the time of the Soviet postwar modernism, once obsolete and monotonous and now rediscovered again in all the glory of all of its shades and nuances, which the authors lovingly enumerate in the project description (pray the authors will forgive me but back in the day I simply abhorred glass block walls, even the ones in the First Humanitarian Building of the History Department of the Moscow State University; maybe, I was wrong). The same kind of walls made from recycled materials, which is one of the cornerstones of modern art, based on the concept of sustainability, but, more importantly, bringing up a lot of nostalgic memories, is to be seen in other projects, namely: in the pavilion of Vodka Ceremonies from Pirogovo, to which the name of the current installation can be traced – where the windows are essentially painted-over window frames; in the Rotunda from the Archstoyanie Conference – old doors; in the new villa PO-2 (same instance) – a concrete fence. As for the tar paper, it is simply one of Brodsky’s favorite materials today: we can remember the lopsided little house at the Venice Biennale, or the pavilion of the project “101st km Further Elsewhere” designed for the Pushkin House in London. The fireplace is yet another archetype, it is often to be seen in the expo projects of the 2000’s, and in earlier etchings; Brodsky cannot fancy a home without a fireplace, which is fair enough, it must be admitted. The center of the rotunda made from concrete slabs is the hearth. It is situated specifically in the middle, and not in the corner, like you would expect in modern private residence construction.
Meanwhile, of course, in spite of the obvious recognizability of its constituent parts (which is probably the effect that the authors were deliberately aiming at), which look as if they are saying “repeat actions make perfection”, the pavilion does look different. First of all, Brodsky is very context-sensitive. In the “dacha” settlement of Pirogovo, the prototype of the name of this installation, the pavilion looked like a greenhouse or a veranda, the latter being the traditional place of Moscow suburb imbibing of the pre-1990’s. A much larger, squeaky-wooden Rotunda is closer to the ideas of Palladian manor house architecture. The little houses at the foreign exhibitions looked more like a bum’s makeshift shelter, and neither Pirogovo houses nor these “bum” installations have fireplaces in them.
In Georgia, the pavilion is solid and even monumental. There is some wood in the dome structure but it is not visible, and, being wrapped in the tar paper, it looks pretty much like concrete. One must note that what this project is missing is one of Brodsky’s favorite themes, namely, that of fragility of these makeshift structures, which seemingly can be traced back to the “quay” restaurant “95% ABV”. Probably it is because here in the south, even a shepherd’s hearth will be most likely made of rocks. Unlike the Moscow and foreign “shacks”, the Georgian pavilion looks like a stone chapel, a temple of Chacha (the famous local grapevine brandy), or, more broadly, like a temple of hospitality. And there is also a lot of sturdiness about that and even the contrast with the pavilion of vodka ceremonies with its proverbial wash-basin. Everything is somehow different here.
It rather plain to see that the volume looks like the dome of a Georgian temple – in terms of its outline, laconic volumetric geometry, and even the glow of its drum-shaped body. But then again, the same silhouette here can be displayed by the turret on the wall, although yet another prototype comes up, not Georgian at all, yet still functionally close: the so-called Roman Kitchen in Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, which looks so much like our tent-shape type churches. At this point, surprising though it is, another law comes into force, not all-Georgian but more specific context of the cognac brewery, which looks partially like a Georgian but more like a Roman temple. Together with the pavilion comes the perfect Fontevraud. But then again, one can hardly deny the similarities between various Georgian cuisines, and so on. The important thing is that the hearth is burning, giving warmth, and waiting for the guests.
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.
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.
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.