Designed by City Arch, the city block on Moscow’s Malaya Pochtovaya Street, with its red-brick high-rises, terraces and penthouses, looks a little bit like Tribeca and other places in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The architecture of the complex explores a high potential of this university area and brings extra benefits to its residents.
Written by: Lara Kopylova Translated by: Anton Mizonov
The housing complex on the Malaya Pochtovaya Street is being built next to Moscow State Technical University named after N.E.Bauman, a prestigious educational institution that defines the atmosphere of this part of the Basmanny district of Moscow. There are lots of buildings around here that belong to the university, as well as to the startup companies that some of the university alumni launch after graduation. That is to say that this place is dominated by young, smart, and active people, chiefly male. You could even say that this is the nest of Richard Florida’s creative class because in his world-famous book “The Rise of the Creative Class” the sociologist wrote first of all about IT specialists who are in great demand in the modern world. In the age of augmented intelligence, the brainpower is flourishing and feeling confident about tomorrow. And, although the technical progress is moving forward by leaps and bounds in this field, the town-planning progress in this area of the nation’s capital is decades behind.
The development of this territory is expected to gain extra momentum thanks to the opening of a new additional entrance of the Baumanskaya metro station. The stream of commuters will be rerouted through the industrial park of the former plant of electrical equipment MZATE-2. Currently, the territory of the plant is outside of the life circle of the neighborhood, and the architectural environment does not meet people’s needs either. The endless walls and fences form labyrinths and dead-end alleys of a loosely organized, chaotic, and faceless industrial area. The residents of the nearby homes are forced to detour this area as an estrangement zone, while the university students have to contemplate the tar sheet roofs from the auditoriums.
The architects of “City-Arch” are proposing their own solution for the town planning problems of this area as a multifunctional housing development. The prevalence of the housing function will not only add to the housing stock in the city center, but also ensure comfort and safety of the city block: the area will be “watched over” from the windows of the new homes 24/7. As for the residents of the new complex, they will get a 5-minute walking distance to the metro station, a 7-minute walking distance to the Lefortovsky Park, and functionally eventful bottom floors. Running down the Gospitalnaya Street, the path to the new entrance to Baumanskaya metro station (to be opened in 2020) will not run past the dull factory fence anymore but past shop windows and a landscaped pavement with art objects and recreation spots. Making use of the fact that the ground level goes down from the metro station towards the university the height of a whole floor, the architects were even able to make two levels for pedestrian walks. Thus, the first “New York” association comes to mind – it looks a little bit like the High Line Park that carries the public functions of the bottom multi-height floors. The metro station, the university, and the housing complex itself are significant gravity centers, so there is no double that street retail will be in demand here.
Thanks to its height difference, the construction site of an irregular shape gave the architects an opportunity to inscribe the underground parking garage into the podium part of the project, which ultimately vacated extra area for landscaping. The client – MZATE-2, the owner of the land – expectedly briefed great density – about 39 000 people per hectare. Proceeding from the required figure and the maximum allowed height, the architects positioned the “building blocks” (of a known yield of useful floor space) along the perimeter of the land site, then turned them around based on the insolation and aeration of the apartments, as well as the organization of the yard space. Playing around with the number of floors in each of the sections (it ranges from 7 to 18), the architects were able to come up with diverse silhouettes and provide most of the apartments with panoramic views.
The complex consists of ten towers. Five towers are lined up alongside the street, three are turned at an angle; one, seven stories high, was fitted into the yard, and one duplicates the street lineup, at the same time forming an arch leading into the yard. The street-side lineup is continued by the already-existing office building that belongs to the client. It is planned that this building will host a museum or modern art.
Responding to the “factory” theme, the façades of three towers standing along the street will be made of red Flemish brick – sturdy and warm tactile material. The light-colored towers will be decorated with ceramic tiles, hollow inside. The pattern of narrow windows grouped in two or three floors is a technique that visually diminishes the number of floors. The slender windows make the façade easily readable, and bring everything to human-friendly proportions. In the early versions of the project, the towers standing along the street were orthogonal but then the architects decided to make their top parts lighter and more narrow, and accentuate them with black color. This is how terraces with penthouses came around, which went a long way to increase the attractiveness and the price of the top-floor apartments, thus making up for some loss in useful floor space. The terraces on the roofs make the top floor make like classic textbook penthouses of the Tribeca so much loved by movie makers. In my opinion, the architects could have made the ledges on all the four sides, and not just on two – the more terraces the better.
The public volumes, which unite the residential section on the bottom level, simulate the industrial architecture of the XIX century: squatting arches with triangular frontons look like the entrances to the factory or warehouse territory, even though the Ladovsky’s portal on the Krasnye Vorota also comes to mind. One of the arches has a skylight in it that is vaguely reminiscent of a factory chimney and conveys daylight to the tall inside space beneath the arch. This part of the podium is connected to the office building, and, if it is indeed to become a museum, it will make sense to exhibit large-scale installations here. The arches are made of concrete, while the framework of the stained glass windows is made of black steel. The horizontal steel girder under the fronton offers some space for advertising billboards. In the same style, and from the same double-L beams, the architects are planning to make the benches with wooden seats, streetlights, and other outdoor furniture, the main accent being a metallic arcade with swings.
The first level of the podium is essentially a tall space – 6 meters high – and it is designed is such a way that one can use either the whole of it, or it can be divided among different renters having a loft floor in it. Supposedly, it will host a supermarket, a children’s store, a bookstore, a stationary store, as well as one of the floors of a 3-level co-working space, with a flexible interior that can be transformed for various events. The top level of the podium (the High Line) unites the bottom multi-height floors with various functions, meant both for the local residents and the transient flow “metro station – university”: a bank, a café, a restaurant, a drugstore, a fitness center, an exhibition gallery, and rentable premises for local businesses and startups, for example, the university alumni.
The yard space is conditionally divided into two levels by the terraced terrain. The highlights of the yard are playgrounds and sports fields for people of various age brackets, designed for passive and active recreation. What is also important is the fact that the yard is not isolated from the nearby “Brezhnev” houses: a winding ramp is lengthening the walking route and gradually descends towards the earlier-built houses, making a few great ice slides for children in the wintertime. Therefore, the neighbors will be also getting extra bonuses from the appearance of this new housing project with a thought out and picturesque recreational space.
The apartment floor plans were designed with regard to the fluctuations of the housing market – specifically, they leave a possibility to increase the number of small apartments, should such need arise. In a standard three-room apartment, the living room and the kitchen have windows open on one side, the bedroom and the children room – on the other. The heating convectors are installed in the floor before the windows, which made it possible to make all the windows as floor-to-ceiling, thus further increasing the residents’ quality of life.
The new complex is meant to improve the quality of the local urban environment, and, possibly, set a new town planning trend – a “Manhattan” one, where a person, put amidst high-rises, still feels safe and interested. And, in order to achieve that, you only need to get an organized public territory, a well-developed structure of the lower floors, and an unusual-looking silhouette of the rooftops.
Park of Sentiments
The project of “Romantic Park Tuchkov Buyan”, which was developed by the consortium of Studio 44 and WEST 8, and has won an international competition, combines sculptural landscape design and wooden structures, variety of spatial features and an eventful agenda, designed for diverse audience, with a beautiful and complex passeist idea of a palace park, meant to evoke thoughts and feelings.
Architecture as an Educational Tool
The concept of a charity school “Tochka Budushchego” (“Point of the Future”) in Irkutsk is based on cutting-edge educational programs, and is designed, among other things, for adapting orphaned children for independent life. An important role is played by the architecture of the building: its structure and different types of interconnected spaces.
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.
Continuation and Development
The second “office” stage of Comcity, the most popular business park of the “New Moscow” area, continues the underground street of the already existing part of the complex, responding to its architectural identity.
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.