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.
Man and the City
Designing this large-scale housing complex, GAFA architects accentuated two types of public spaces: bustling streets with shops and cafes – and a totally natural yard, visually separated as much as possible from the city. Making the most out of the contrast, both work together to make the life of the residents of EVER housing complex eventful and diverse.
Andy Snow: “I aim for an architecture which is rational and poetic”
The British architect Andy Snow has recently become the chief architect at GENPRO Architects & Engineers. Projects, which Andy Snow did in the UK in collaboration with world-famous architectural firms, scored numerous international awards. In Russia, the architect took part in designing Moscow’s Stanislavsky Factory business center, iLove housing complex, and AFI2B business center on the 2nd Brestskaya Street. In our interview, Andy Snow compared the construction realities in Russia and the UK, and also shared his vision of architectural prospects in Russia.
The Living Growth
The grand-scale housing complex AFI PARK Vorontsovsky in Moscow’s southwest consists of four towers, a “slab” house, and a kindergarten building. Interestingly, the plastique of the residential buildings is quite active – they seem to be growing before your eyes, responding to the natural context, and first of all opening the views of the nearby park. As for the kindergarten building, it is cute and lyrical, like a little sugar house.
Sergey Skuratov: “A skyscraper is a balance of technology, economic performance, and aesthetic...
In March, two buildings of the Capital Towers complex were built up to a 300-meter elevation mark. In this issue, we are speaking to the creator of Moscow’s cutting-edge skyscrapers: about heights and proportions, technologies and economics, laconicism and beauty of superslim houses, and about the boldest architectural proposal of recent years – the Le Corbusier Tower above the Tsentrosoyuz building.
The Red Building
The area of Novoslobodskaya has received Maison Rouge – an apartment complex designed by ADM, which continues the wave of renovation, started by the Atmosphere business center, from the side of the Palikha Street.
The Uplifting Effect
The project of Ostankino Business Park was developed for the land site lying between two metro stations (one operating and the other in construction), and because of that its public space is designed to equally cater for the city people and the office workers. The complex stands every chance of becoming the catalyst for development of the Butyrsky area.
In this article, we are examining a rather rare and interesting case – two projects by Evgeny Gerasimov situated on one street and completed with a five years’ difference, presenting the perfect example of example for analyzing the overall trends and approaches practiced by the architectural company.
Raising the Yard
The housing complex Renome consists of two buildings: a modern stone house and a red-brick factory building of the end of the XIX century, reconstructed by measurements and original drafts. The two buildings are connected by an “inclined” yard – a rare, by Moscow standards, version of geoplastics that smoothly ascends to the roof of the stores lined up along a pedestrian street.
Hearing the Tune of the Past
The Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist in the park near the Novodevichy Convent was conceived in 2012 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. However, instead of declamatory grandeur and “fanfare”, the architect Ilia Utkin presented a concentrated and prayerful mood, combined with a respectful attitude of this tent-shaped church, which also includes some elements of architecture of orders. The basement floor hosts a museum of excavations found on the site of the church.
The high-end residential complex STORY, situated near the Avtozavodskaya metro station and the former ZIL factory, is delicately inscribed in the contrastive context, while its shape, which combines a regular grid and a stunning “shift” of the main facade, seems to respond to the dramatic history of the place, at the same time, however, allowing for multiple interpretations.
Yards and Towers: the Samara Experiment
The project of “Samara Arena Park”, proposed by Sergey Skuratov, scored second place in the competition. The project is essentially based on experimenting with typology of residential buildings and gallery/corridor-type city blocks combined with towers – as well as on sensitive response to the context and the urge to turn the complex into a full-fledged urban space providing a wide range of functions and experiences.
The Fili Duo
The second phase of the Filicity housing complex, designed by ADM architects, is based on the contrast between a 57-story skyscraper 200 meters high and an 11-story brick house. The high-rise building sets a futuristic vector in Moscow housing architecture.
The Wall and the Tower
The OSA architects have been searching for solutions that could be opposed to the low-rise construction in the center of Khabarovsk, as well as an opportunity to say a new word in the discourse about mass housing.
An Office for Concentrating Ideas
T+T Architects have designed an office for a French IT company, where the employees in any point of the premises can discuss with their colleagues new ideas or even write them on the wall.
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 Strict 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.