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​Exquisite and Simple

A curious mix of oriental architecture and Leningrad town planning principles: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners again raised the bar for the mass housing construction.

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:
Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

28 November 2019
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The housing complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo” completes one of the newly-built blocks between the Neva and the Prospect Bolshevikov metro station. Over the recent decade, this area has been rapidly developing: the former industrial parks are being renovated and turned into housing projects, and the infrastructure keeps on growing – in addition to various shopping malls, this place boasts the Ice Palace and the base of SKA ice hockey club, the towers of the business complex “Morskaya Stolitsa” (“The Sea Capital”) are in construction, and there are plans for building the Soyuzny Prospect here, as well as a new section of the East High-Speed Diameter here.

The circle that is the closest to the metro station consists of standard prefab houses of the 1990’s, followed by the colossal housing complexes of the 2000’s, and the more human-friendly buildings, if not in height, then at least in the diversity of the facades. The city block, where LEGENDA was built upon the project of Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners is essentially a mix of the two recent phenomena: the housing complex RIO with its multicolored balconies echoes the housing complex “Skladskaya 28”, with unassuming slabs of houses between them. On the other hand, the city block has a clear-cut perimeter structure, and LEGENDA in this respect is the last missing link that completes it and marks the corner of the Dalnevostochny and the future Soyuzny avenues.

Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
Copyright © Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners


Evgeny Gerasimov shares that the architectural solution is based on the Leningrad town planning tradition with its “clarity, order, and logic, all existing in some certain economic and aesthetic conditions”, as well as has a certain oriental twist to it, as a tribute to the local toponymy, which also matches the overall minimalist concept.

The architects considered several composition options; at the same time, in all of them the volumes supported the street front: with a closed city block and towers, slabs of different height, various twists and turns of the sections. Eventually, however, they settled on a solution that was deliberately laconic: seven towers with a rectangular plan are placed alongside the borders of the land site, joined together with a two-story gallery. Three corner buildings are oriented on the street lines; four “intermediate” ones go deeper inside the yard. What the architects ultimately ended up getting is an open city block with plenty of space and light: the spaces between the buildings are large, which helps the complex to maintain its silhouette, because the sections are clearly viewable in the “gaps”, and various interesting views are seen from various vantage points.

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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Tatiana Kovalenko
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright © Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Tatiana Kovalenko
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Tatiana Kovalenko
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin


As an offset to the pristine and laconic surface of the complex, its facades are deliberately asymmetric: the windows and the balconies follow a set rhythm, yet its color accents – strokes, dots, and intertwining ornaments – arrest one’s gaze and make one look for repeating patterns. The side ends of the towers are flat; they are coated with light-colored ceramic granite. The broad wall is more tactile and has more plastique about it thanks to the wood-imitating panels, color contrasts, and balconies. Getting back to the oriental allusions – the light-colored side of the buildings looks like neat bento boxes, while the dark side like makisu bamboo mats with an array of stanza “rolls”. 

The air pillow of the gallery – an element quite unusual for complexes of such class, with columns, pilasters, and transparent glass – vividly reminds us about other samples of local architecture: the House on Pillars on the Novosmolenskaya Waterfront or the Ivan Fomin and Evgeny Levinson House on the Karpovka Embankment.

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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin


The yard is also unusual – Evgeny Gerasimov claims that in this case he took the landscaping work to a whole new level. First of all, there are many different spaces with different scenarios here. In the middle, there is a universal sports field; in the cozy corners, fenced off by the buildings, there are three recreation areas for different age brackets: the architects thought not only about the little ones but also about the teenagers (which quite a rare case), and about the grownups. All the areas are connected with trails and small spots for quiet recreation. A special mention should be given to the galleries of the entrance groups: these create a smooth transition from the street outside to the house, a place protected from the wind and the rain, where one van wait to meet somebody, and the kids can play longer. Another thing that invites people to spend more time outside is the outdoor armchairs: one can enjoy here a cup of tea while reading a book or just sit here working with a laptop. This seemingly unassuming element at once takes the yard to a higher level of modern standards for public areas.

Second, the zones of the yard are organized so beautifully that the yard, without any exaggeration, can be called the fifth facade; it makes one feel good just to look out the windows here. Each of the venues has a paving pattern of its own, while the landscaping spots merge together into a single, seemingly chaotic, yet well-thought-out, like in a stone garden, composition, which offsets the geometric rigidity of the architecture. Due to the fact that the underground parking garage runs underneath the perimeter of the building, the yard will get more “oases” of trees and shrubs – promises the developer.

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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright: Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners © Photograph: Andrey Bekimov-Gushchin


The apartment layouts in this complex are of the “smart” category: they were developed with consideration for various lifestyles of the future residents – from a single young man to a family with two kids and grandparents, so that in small apartments every square inch was useful, and the larger ones would get the “luxury of spaciousness”. From the housing of a higher class, the architects also “borrowed” the bedrooms with walk-in closets, children’s rooms with bathrooms, and bathrooms with windows. The total catalogue contains 250 basic planning solutions, all of which are patented.

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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright © Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright © Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners


Evgeny Gerasimov emphasizes that the entire complex is bound together by repeating details. For example, the natural materials are first seen on the facades and are later on continued in the landscaping concept; the gallery is there both on the inside and outside, and the “Japanese” and “Leningrad” traditions also coexist on more than one level.

“LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo” is the developer’s fifth joint project with Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners, and the second realization. Yet another housing complex of the same “smart” category, “LEGENDA na Komendantskom”, is being built on the other end of the city, and demonstrated quite a different approach, conditioned by the context: an urge to stand out with bright multicolored squares. Also, in the Petergofskoe Highway, “LEGENDA Geroev” is in construction, which includes all of the techniques seen in the two previous projects, and vividly demonstrates that mass housing can be indeed diverse, comfortable, and beautiful.
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
    Copyright © Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
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    Residential complex “LEGENDA Dalnevostochnogo”
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28 November 2019

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:

Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​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 Chaste 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.
​Architectural Laboratory
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.
​LIFE on the Setun River
The area in the valley of the Setun River near the Vereiskaya Street got two new blocks of the “LIFE-Kutuzovsky” housing complex, designed by ADM architects. The two new blocks have a retail boulevard of their own, and a small riverside park.
​Celestial Tectonics
Three towers on a podium over the Ramenka River are the new dominant elements on the edge of a Soviet “microdistrict”. Their scale is quite modern: the height is 176 m – almost a skyscraper; the facades are made of glass and steel. Their graceful proportions are emphasized by a strict white grid, and the volumetric composition picks up the diagonal “grid of coordinates” that was once outlined in the southwest of Moscow by the architects of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clouds over the Railroad
In the stead of former warehouses near “Lyubertsy-1” station, a new housing complex has been built, which peacefully coexists with the railroad, with the flyover bridge, and with the diverse surrounding scenery, not only dominating over the latter, but improving it.
​Towers in a Forest
The authors of the housing complex “In the Heart of Pushkino” were faced with a difficult task: to preserve the already existing urban forest, at the same time building on it a compound of rather high density. This is how three towers at the edge of the forest appeared with highly developed public spaces in their podiums and graceful “tucks” in the crowning part of the 18-story volumes.
​The Towers of “Sputnik”
Six towers, which make up a large housing complex standing on the bank of the Moskva River at the very start of the Novorizhskoe Highway, provide the answers to a whole number of marketing requirements and meets a whole number of restrictions, offering a simple rhythm and a laconic formula for the houses that the developer preferred to see as “flashy”.
​The Starting Point
In this article, we are reviewing two retro projects: one is 20 years old, the other is 25. One of them is Saint Petersburg’s first-ever townhouse complex; the other became the first example of a high-end residential complex on Krestovsky Island. Both were designed and built by Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners.
The Path to New Ornamentation
The high-end residential complex “Aristocrat” situated next to a pine park at the start of the Rublev Highway presents a new stage of development of Moscow’s decorative historicist architecture: expensively decorated, yet largely based on light-colored tones, and masterfully using the romantic veneer of majolica inserts.
​Renovation: the Far East Style
The competition project of renovating two central city blocks of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by UNK project, won the nomination “Architectural and planning solutions of city construction”.
​The Contact
The Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome presents Sergei Tchoban’s exhibition “Imprint of the future. Destiny of Piranesi’s City”. The exhibition includes four etchings, based on Roman architectural views of the XVIII century complemented by futuristic insertions, as well as a lot of drawings that investigate the same topic, at times quite expressively. The exhibition poses questions, but does not seem to give any answers. Since going to Rome is pretty problematic now, let’s at least examine the pictures.
​In Search of Visual Clarity
In this article, we are reviewing a discussion devoted to the question of designing city space elements, which is quite complicated for the Russian expanses of land. The discussion was organized by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the ArchMoscow convention in Gostiny Dvor.
​The City of the Sun
Jointly designed by Sergey Tchoban and Vladimir Plotkin, the VTB Arena Park complex can arguably be considered the perfect experiment on solving the centuries-old controversy between traditional architecture and modernism. The framework of the design code, combined with the creative character of the plastique-based dialogue between the buildings, formed an all-but-perfect fragment of the city fabric.
​...The Other Was Just Railroad Gin*
In their project of the third stage of “Ligovsky City” housing complex, located in the industrial “gray” belt of Saint Petersburg, the KCAP & Orange Architects & A-Len consortium set before themselves a task of keeping up the genius loci by preserving the contours of the railroad and likening the volumes of residential buildings to railroad containers, stacked up at the goods unloading station.
​Lions on Glass
While reconstructing the facades of Building 4 of Moscow Hospital #23, SPEECH architects applied a technique, already known from Saint Petersburg projects by Sergey Tchoban – cassettes with elements of classical architecture printed on glass. The project was developed gratis, as a help to the hospital.