​Dance of Verticals

The concept of the housing complex named LVIII is all about graceful inclusion of towers into the historical part of the city, as well as organizing an orderly and at the same time intriguing rhythm of volumes. Essentially, this is an image of a city growing upwards step by step.

15 April 2019

The land site for LVIII is located in the central part of Ekaterinburg, on one of the city’s main avenues. At first site, the name of the complex can be interpreted as the Latin for 58, but in actuality this is an acronym for its prestigious address: L standing for “Lenina Avenue”, VIII signifying Building 8. In reality, several buildings are lined up along the Sheinkmana and Popova streets, as well as along the in-block Sakko-I-Vantsetti Street that runs parallel to the main ones, the buildings being separated from the noisy avenue by a curious architectural symbiosis. These are two former buildings of the precious metal refinery linked by an atrium: the more modern office building was reconstructed into a premium residential complex; the other one, a monument of architecture, was turned into a picture gallery.

Also, the city block had kept a few standard houses from the 1960’s, and a wing of the Eliseevs Estate of the late XIX century. Such a diverse low-rise environment belonging to different epochs is characteristic of this whole area, the city’s main high-rise landmarks being located pretty far away from here.

LVIII housing complex
Copyright: © Archimatika
LVIII housing complex. Silhouette
Copyright: © Archimatika

The territory allotted for the construction of the housing complex is rather large and almost perfectly rectangular: only one of its sides “shoots out” protuberances of an intricate configuration. The architects line up the buildings as two corner sections, which provides solutions to several tasks at once: the city is getting a new scale of the city block, the future residents are getting a yard of an impressive size, the corner of the Sheinkmana and Popova streets is organized, and, finally, the jagged part of the site is merging with the neighboring territories and turns into a full-fledged public space in front of the picture gallery: with a square, a promenade, and a playground.

LVIII housing complex. Master plan
Copyright: © Archimatika

Due to the fact that there are no height restrictions in this part of the city, the architects were able to offer to the client three compositional options to choose from: one with buildings of equal height, one with two towers that accentuate the new square, and one with three towers. The developer opted for the latter: one with the most picturesque silhouette and with the greatest height difference. In addition, among other things, this version makes it possible to diversify the number of floors and hence the residents’ lifestyles, thus making the complex attractive to different buyers: some prefer to live no higher than the fifth floor, and some like to see the city from the birds-eye view.

LVIII housing complex. Shape formation scheme
Copyright: © Archimatika

Further on, responding to the context, the architects divided the entire complex into two parts: a five-story “podium” and a few buildups with a maximum height of 33 floors, which must be included into the system of the city’s high-rise landmarks. The chosen tectonics led the architects to a decision to interpret the powerful podium as some sort of a monumental pedestal: hence the stone coating, wide piers, and large-span fracturing. The towers, on the hand, must become light and ethereal – which became the “cherry on top” of the whole complex.

LVIII housing complex
Copyright: © Archimatika

Trying to make the towers look as elegant as possible, the architects visually divided each of their volumes into two vertical parts, creating an impression of two volumes “glued” together – the feeling is created at the expense of the materials, the rhythm and even the height. In each of such pairs, one tower grows up from the ground and looks akin to the volumes of the podium, while the second expressly rests on a podium with a break marked by a sunken-in “lintel” glass floor.

Similarly, with a “buffer zone”, the five-story podium has laconic glass volumes standing on top of it – ten floors total. What it essentially comes down to is a compound image of a city that consists of different types of buildings that, very much like a jigsaw puzzle, come together to become a single whole. The overall impression is of a slightly “Singapore” kind: the city is growing upwards, highlighting its tiers, playing with its heights and directions, vertical in the towers and horizontal in the glass volumes of the buildups. The effect is strengthened by the verdure of the “hanging gardens” on the terraces in front of the sunken-in intermediate tiers. The rhythm is clearly readable, even though it is by no means a “one-two” but a “one-two-three” at least. But no more than that: the last thing you will see here is garishness; rather, it is some strictly systematic waltzing of shapes. There is in fact such a dance – square waltz – it is rather simple but it serves as the basis for all classic dancing education. And it looks as though it was played out for the three landmark towers here.

LVIII housing complex
Copyright: © Archimatika

It is worth mentioning that in the initial stage the architects proposed to give the entire complex a coating of red bricks, thus throwing a conceptual “bridge” to the neighboring building of the nearby refinery, and the whole industrial history of this city. However, the way the client saw it, brick was not the kind of material that created an impression of high-class and brought up associations with “business class” housing. Ultimately, the architects had to replace the brick with light-colored stone, granite, and glass. Such a combination delivered quite an optimistic result – as Alexander Popov confesses, the replacement of the material was not a forced measure but quite a natural thing to do.

LVIII housing complex
Copyright: © Archimatika

Since the future residential complex belongs with the “business” class, Archimatika took care to form an appropriate environment. In all of the versions that they developed, the architects also included a square situated on the Sheinkmana Street. Together with the gallery, it could have become the point of attraction for the residents and guests of the city, which would ensure an inflow of visitors to the local businesses that occupy the bottom floors. The playground on the vacant space is also a strategic move because mothers who are looking after their children are definitely the right kind of people, “eyes on the street”, by Jane Jacobs. The inside yard is car-free; for the cars, the architects designed an underground parking garage.

LVIII housing complex
Copyright: © Archimatika

Possibly, looking at the Ekaterinburg experience with its unique skyline, the other Russian cities will also learn to appreciate the idea of skyscrapers. This concept by Archimatika shows that a high-rise landmark can arguably be the best solution to the problem of monotonous mass construction. In the case of the LVIII complex, the towers not only deliver the required square footage, insolation and panoramic views but also solve a few town planning tasks: one accentuates the crossing of two streets, another marks the square, and a third sets off the entire composition, the three of them creating a dramatic and beautiful silhouette. Which, incidentally, would not have worked anyway, had not the architects been smart enough to offer the residents a fair share of urban comfort. And here there is plenty of it: in the highly developed infrastructure of the central part of the city and in the system of public and private spaces designed by the architects.

Oh, and by the way: recently, the judging panel of “House on the Brestskaya Invites...” recently awarded this project with the first prize in the nomination “Architecture of Public Buildings” (see the news item on the company’s Telegram channel).
LVIII housing complex
Copyright: © Archimatika
LVIII housing complex. The facade along the Popova Street
Copyright: © Archimatika
LVIII housing complex. The section view
Copyright: © Archimatika
LVIII housing complex. The apartments
Copyright: © Archimatika
LVIII housing complex. Section 1
Copyright: © Archimatika
LVIII housing complex. Section 2
Copyright: © Archimatika

15 April 2019

Headlines now
Part of the Ideal
In 2025, another World Expo will take place in Osaka, Japan, in which Russia will not participate. However, a competition for the Russian pavilion was indeed held, with six projects participating. The results were never announced as Russia’s participation was canceled; the competition has no winners. Nevertheless, Expo pavilion projects are typically designed for a bold and interesting architectural statement, so we’ve gathered all the six projects and will be publishing articles about them in random order. The first one is the project by Vladimir Plotkin and Reserve Union, which is distinguished by the clarity of its stereometric shape, the boldness of its structure, and the multiplicity of possible interpretations.
The Fortress by the River
ASADOV Architects have developed a concept for a new residential district in the center of Kemerovo. To combat the harsh climate and monotonous everyday life, the architects proposed a block type of development with dominant towers, good insolation, facades detailed at eye level, and event programming.
In the Rhombus Grid
Construction has begun on the building of the OMK (United Metallurgical Company) Corporate University in Nizhny Novgorod’s town of Vyksa, designed by Ostozhenka Architects. The most interesting aspect of the project is how the architects immersed it in the context: “extracting” a diagonal motif from the planning grid of Vyksa, they aligned the building, the square, and the park to match it. A truly masterful work with urban planning context on several different levels of perception has long since become the signature technique of Ostozhenka.
​Generational Connection
Another modern estate, designed by Roman Leonidov, is located in the Moscow region and brings together three generations of one family under one roof. To fit on a narrow plot without depriving anyone of personal space, the architects opted for a zigzag plan. The main volume in the house structure is accentuated by mezzanines with a reverse-sloped roof and ceilings featuring exposed beams.
Three Dimensions of the City
We began to delve into the project by Sergey Skuratov, the residential complex “Depo” in Minsk, located at Victory Square, and it fascinated us completely. The project has at least several dimensions to it: historical – at some point, the developer decided to discontinue further collaboration with Sergey Skuratov Architects, but the concept was approved, and its implementation continues, mostly in accordance with the proposed ideas. The spatial and urban planning dimension – the architects both argue with the city and play along with it, deciphering nuances, and finding axes. And, finally, the tactile dimension – the constructed buildings also have their own intriguing features. Thus, this article also has two parts: it dwells on what has been built and what was conceived
New “Flight”
Architects from “Mezonproject” have developed a project for the reconstruction of the regional youth center “Polyot”(“Flight”) in the city of Oryol. The summer youth center, built back in the late 1970s, will now become year-round and acquire many additional functions.
The Yauza Towers
In Moscow, there aren’t that many buildings or projects designed by Nikita Yavein and Studio 44. In this article, we present to you the concept of a large multifunctional complex on the Yauza River, located between two parks, featuring a promenade, a crossroads of two pedestrian streets, a highly developed public space, and an original architectural solution. This solution combines a sophisticated, asymmetric façade grid, reminiscent of a game of fifteen puzzle, and bold protrusions of the upper parts of the buildings, completely masking the technical floors and sculpting the complex’s silhouette.
Architecture and Leisure Park
For the suburban hotel complex, which envisages various formats of leisure, the architectural company T+T Architects proposed several types of accommodation, ranging from the classic “standard” in a common building to a “cave in the hill” and a “house in a tree”. An additional challenge consisted in integrating a few classic-style residences already existing on this territory into the “architectural forest park”.
The U-House
The Jois complex combines height with terraces, bringing the most expensive apartments from penthouses down to the bottom floors. The powerful iconic image of the U-shaped building is the result of the creative search for a new standard of living in high-rise buildings by the architects of “Genpro”.
Black and White
In this article, we specifically discuss the interiors of the ATOM Pavilion at VDNKh. Interior design is a crucial component of the overall concept in this case, and precision and meticulous execution were highly important for the architects. Julia Tryaskina, head of UNK interiors, shares some of the developments.
The “Snake” Mountain
The competition project for the seaside resort complex “Serpentine” combines several typologies: apartments of different classes, villas, and hotel rooms. For each of these typologies, the KPLN architects employ one of the images that are drawn from the natural environment – a serpentine road, a mountain stream, and rolling waves.
Opal from Anna Mons’ Ring
The project of a small business center located near Tupolev Plaza and Radio Street proclaims the necessity of modern architecture in a specific area of Moscow commonly known as “Nemetskaya Sloboda” or “German settlement”. It substantiates its thesis with the thoroughness of details, a multitude of proposed and rejected form variants, and even a detailed description of the surrounding area. The project is interesting indeed, and it is even more interesting to see what will come of it.
Feed ’Em All
A “House of Russian Cuisine” was designed and built by KROST Group at VDNKh for the “Rossiya” exhibition in record-breaking time. The pavilion is masterfully constructed in terms of the standards of modern public catering industry multiplied by the bustling cultural program of the exhibition, and it interprets the stylistically diverse character of VDNKh just as successfully. At the same time, much of its interior design can be traced back to the prototypes of the 1960s – so much so that even scenes from iconic Soviet movies of those years persistently come to mind.
The Ensemble at the Mosque
OSA prepared a master plan for a district in the southern part of Derbent. The main task of the master plan is to initiate the formation of a modern comfortable environment in this city. The organization of residential areas is subordinated to the city’s spiritual center: depending on the location relative to the cathedral mosque, the houses are distinguished by façade and plastique solutions. The program also includes a “hospitality center”, administrative buildings, an educational cluster, and even an air bridge.
Pargolovo Protestantism
A Protestant church is being built in St. Petersburg by the project of SLOI architects. One of the main features of the building is a wooden roof with 25-meter spans, which, among other things, forms the interior of the prayer hall. Also, there are other interesting details – we are telling you more about them.
The Shape of the Inconceivable
The ATOM Pavilion at VDNKh brings to mind a famous maxim of all architects and critics: “You’ve come up with it? Now build it!” You rarely see such a selfless immersion in implementation of the project, and the formidable structural and engineering tasks set by UNK architects to themselves are presented here as an integral and important part of the architectural idea. The challenge matches the obliging status of the place – after all, it is an “exhibition of achievements”, and the pavilion is dedicated to the nuclear energy industry. Let’s take a closer look: from the outside, from the inside, and from the underside too.
​Rays of the Desert
A school for 1750 students is going to be built in Dubai, designed by IND Architects. The architects took into account the local specifics, and proposed a radial layout and spaces, in which the children will be comfortable throughout the day.
The Dairy Theme
The concept of an office of a cheese-making company, designed for the enclosed area of a dairy factory, at least partially refers to industrial architecture. Perhaps that is why this concept is very simple, which seems the appropriate thing to do here. The building is enlivened by literally a couple of “master strokes”: the turning of the corner accentuates the entrance, and the shade of glass responds to the theme of “milk rivers” from Russian fairy tales.
The Road to the Temple
Under a grant from the Small Towns Competition, the main street and temple area of the village of Nikolo-Berezovka near Neftekamsk has been improved. A consortium of APRELarchitects and Novaya Zemlya is turning the village into an open-air museum and integrating ruined buildings into public life.
​Towers Leaning Towards the Sun
The three towers of the residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8” are new and the tallest neighbors of the Danilovsky Manufactory, “Fort”, and “Plaza”, complementing a whole cluster of modern buildings designed by renowned masters. At the same time, the towers are unique for this setting – they are residential, they are the tallest ones here, and they are located on a challenging site. In this article, we explore how architects Andrey Romanov and Ekaterina Kuznetsova tackled this far-from-trivial task.
In the spirit of ROSTA posters
The new Rostselmash tractor factory, conceptualized by ASADOV Architects, is currently being completed in Rostov-on-Don. References to the Soviet architecture of the 1920’s and 1960’s resonate with the mission and strategic importance of the enterprise, and are also in line with the client’s wish: to pay homage to Rostov’s constructivism.
The Northern Thebaid
The central part of Ferapontovo village, adjacent to the famous monastery with frescoes by Dionisy, has been improved according to the project by APRELarchitects. Now the place offers basic services for tourists, as well as a place for the villagers’ leisure.
Brilliant Production
The architects from London-based MOST Architecture have designed the space for the high-tech production of Charge Cars, a high-performance production facility for high-speed electric cars that are assembled in the shell of legendary Ford Mustangs. The founders of both the company and the car assembly startup are Russians who were educated in their home country.
Three-Part Task: St. Petersburg’s Mytny Dvor
The so-called “Mytny Dvor” area lying just behind Moscow Railway Station – the market rows with a complex history – will be transformed into a premium residential complex by Studio 44. The project consists of three parts: the restoration of historical buildings, the reconstruction of the lost part of the historical contour, and new houses. All of them are harmonized with each other and with the city; axes and “beams of light” were found, cozy corners and scenic viewpoints were carefully thought out. We had a chat with the authors of the historical buildings’ restoration project, and we are telling you about all the different tasks that have been solved here.
The Color of the City, or Reflections on the Slope of an Urban Settlement
In 2022, Ostozhenka Architects won a competition, and in 2023, they developed and received all the necessary approvals for a master plan for the development of Chernigovskaya Street for the developer GloraX. The project takes into account a 10-year history of previous developments; it was done in collaboration with architects from Nizhny Novgorod, and it continues to evolve now. We carefully examined it, talked to everyone, and learned a lot of interesting things.
A Single-Industry Town
Kola MMC and Nornickel are building a residential neighborhood in Monchegorsk for their future employees. It is based on a project by an international team that won the 2021 competition. The project offers a number of solutions meant to combat the main “demons” of any northern city: wind, grayness and boredom.
A New Age Portico
At the beginning of the year, Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport opened Terminal C. The large-scale and transparent entrance hall with luminous columns inside successfully combines laconism with a bright and photogenic WOW-effect. The terminal is both the new façade of the whole complex and the starting point of the planned reconstruction, upon completion of which Tolmachevo will become the largest regional airport in Russia. In this article, we are examining the building in the context of modernist prototypes of both Novosibirsk and Leningrad: like puzzle pieces, they come together to form their individual history, not devoid of curious nuances and details.
A New Starting Point
We’ve been wanting to examine the RuArts Foundation space, designed by ATRIUM for quite a long time, and we finally got round to it. This building looks appropriate and impressive; it amazingly combines tradition – represented in our case by galleries – and innovation. In this article, we delve into details and study the building’s historical background as well.
Molding Perspectives
Stepan Liphart introduces “schematic Art Deco” on the outskirts of Kazan – his houses are executed in green color, with a glassy “iced” finish on the facades. The main merits of the project lie in his meticulous arrangement of viewing angles – the architect is striving to create in a challenging environment the embryo of a city not only in terms of pedestrian accessibility but also in a sculptural sense. He works with silhouettes, proposing intriguing triangular terraces. The entire project is structured like a crystal, following two grids, orthogonal and diagonal. In this article, we are examining what worked, and what eventually didn’t.
An Educational Experiment for the North
City-Arch continues to work on the projects that can be termed as “experimental public preschools”: private kindergartens and schools can envy such facilities in many respects. This time around, the project is done for the city of Gubkinsky, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. A diverse educational and play environment, including a winter garden, awaits future students, while the teachers will have abundant opportunities to implement new practices.