По-русски

​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.

Lara Kopylova

Written by:
Lara Kopylova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

18 February 2020
News
mainImg
The name Cool House is not connected with the cold color of copper in any way; it’s just that the first word is part of the client’s surname. Belonging to the family of a top manager of a large company, the house is situated in the Near-Moscow area, meaning, one can easily travel to work or to school from it, and therefore, use it as the place of permanent residence. The house was in construction for 4 years. It is surrounded by a domesticated settlement, neatly landscaped, and without tall fences; therefore, it was possible to turn the grand facades towards the road. The house is a single story one. A while ago, staircases were quite popular, but now they fell out of fashion; besides, climbing up and down the stairs all the time is not really convenient, and, if the size of the land site and the budget permit, it is much more convenient to move around horizontally. Thus, the volumes of the house sprawl out horizontally, very much in the spirit of a “house in the prairies”, rising in height wherever necessary and getting a double height.

The house is placed on the land plot in very ingenious way. On the plan, it looks like a cross of an irregular shape, dividing the garden into four unequal areas. In the largest area (bottom left corner of the plan), there a grand lawn on the uneven terrain, with a picturesque pond surrounded by trees, a gazebo, a swing, and other pleasant things of such kind. There is something scenic about this lawn. The glass doors of the main rooms of the house exit here: the living room, the master’s bedroom, and the children’s rooms, from which the residents can appear very much like actors on stage.

  • zooming
    1 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    2 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    3 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov


The second area (upper left corner) is essentially a quieter secret garden for family recreation, with a secluded terrace, to where one can exit from the spa or two baths (one inside the house, the other outside. The house becomes a natural border between different parts of the garden – and one must admit that it’s a very effective way to make sure that one’s gaze does not gets stopped by a fence all the time, which otherwise would have been inevitable on a 23 hundred square meter land plot. This way, however, pieces of a garden appear, many of which have panoramic glazing. Meaning – instead of a fence, one can watch life in the house behind the glass, as if one were inside an atrium.

  • zooming
    1 / 4
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    2 / 4
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    3 / 4
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    4 / 4
    The landscaping plan. Cool House
    Copyright: © Studio of Roman Leonidov


The cross-shaped form of the house also allowed the architects to make a designated car entrance on the right side of the plot. The entrance driveway comes up against a garage, joined by a boiler house and other maintenance rooms with individual entrances. This is also the place where the main entrance to the house is situated.

  • zooming
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    Plan. Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov


The grand part of the house consists of three blocks: the public, the children’s, and the parents’ ones. The recreation area with a guest room next to it is situated in the depth of the house. People who come or drive in are met by a tall public block with a single-slope “canopy” roof, which houses a large space that is both a living room, a dining room, a fireplace room, and a kitchen. On the facade, one can see the main motif that gave the image to the whole house: the warm honey-colored wood, set against turquoise patinated copper. The accentuated horizontals of the roof and the reinforcement beam are offset by white verticals of the corner and the slate-black chimney of the fireplace. The extra beam was introduced in order to reinforce the horizontals, which would make the composition tripartite. This “tripartite” principle is something that Roman Leonidov deems imperative for a private residence.

  • zooming
    1 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    2 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    3 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov


A similar “honey and copper”, image yet on a smaller scale, marks the facade of the parents’ block: the same patinated copper and warm pinewood, the same horizontals, and the same upward sweep of the canopy roof. Also, in that remotest corner, in the most protected part of the house, one will find the master’s bedroom with a bath and the master’s study. 

At this point, I will allow myself a sociological digression. In his book “Pattern Language”, iconic for architects, Christopher Alexander writes that, in order to avoid quarrels, each of the spouses must have a private place of their own, plus a room for the two of them, plus the space for the entire family. In Russian homes, however, there is usually only one study – the man’s. Boudoirs are few and far between. But where does the mistress of the house has to work and recreate? Of course, this is question is not addressed to the architect, but, rather, to our gender reality.

As for the appearance of copper in the design project, Roman Leonidov explained it like this: “When we were discussing this project with the client, he indicated that the house was to be bright, joyful, and warm. And this meant that you needed a contrast, a cold accent. The honey hue of the pinewood looks all the warmer against the backdrop of cold patinated copper. In addition, copper is a great material to flank the building.”

  • zooming
    1 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    2 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    3 / 3
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov


The public and the parents’ parts of the house are connected by a lower unit with the children’s rooms. Thematically, it is less dramatic than the copper facades, and it looks like a transition between the two larger units. Here, at the client’s request, the architect introduced brick – the fifth material (and the fifth color), which the architect himself deems excessive, at the same time admitting that it does add to the tactile feel of the house.

In the architectural form of Cool House, one can see a musical principle: the exposition of the main theme – “honey and copper” – is given in the main public building, then the middle part, the children’s room, is given in different materials, then the reprise is given in the parents’ block. Yet another place where the “honey and copper” theme sounds is the guest room, whose doors open to the minor garden at the back of the house.

Cool House
Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov


There are many terraces in the house. The building is surrounded by a boardwalk that gradually turns into a terrace under an awning near the living room, and a spacious terrace behind the house. And on the flat roof of the children’s part, the recreation area, and on the roof of the garage, there is yet another terrace, half wooden, half grass – in fact, yet another lawn commanding beautiful views of the surroundings.

  • zooming
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov
  • zooming
    Cool House
    Copyright: Photograph © Roman Leonidov


In the volumetric composition, horizontals are highlighted. One of them runs in a yellow stripe over all of the facades, binding together the the public, children’s, and the parents’ units. Roman Leonidov regards horizontals as a necessary and natural condition of a private residence. The spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, although without direct quoting, is felt quite strongly, and Roman Leonidov often says that “we all have been wounded by Wright.” Both in his early and late periods, the great American architect would avoid designing archetypal housing with prominent gable roofs, eyes of the windows and mouths of the doors; what he did was arrange the parallels of the roofs, windows, and podiums in respect to the ground, replacing the anthropomorphic with the landscape-related. Similarly, Roman Leonidov, in spite of all the variety of his projects, stays true to the horizontal approach when it comes to designing private residences.


18 February 2020

Lara Kopylova

Written by:

Lara Kopylova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
comments powered by HyperComments
Headlines now
​The Strategy of Transformation
In this article, we are publishing eight projects of reconstructing postwar Art Nouveau buildings that have been implemented by Tchoban Voss Architekten and showcased in the AEDES gallery at the recent Re-Use exhibition. Parallel to that, we are meditating on the demonstrated approaches and the preservation of things that architectural legislation does not require to preserve.
​Five Nonlinear Ones
Recently, at the Moscow Urban Forum, they announced a large-scale project that Zaha Hadid Architects would do for Moscow – the multifunctional housing complex Union Towers designed for Quarter 82 of Khoroshevo-Mnevniki at the commission of KROST development.
​Etudes in Glass
The housing complex, located not far away from the Paveletskaya Railway Station, as a symbol of a sweeping transformation of this area: a composition of towers of different height, ingenious detailing of stained glass windows, and a green lawn in the yard.
A Flyover in Watercolor
For the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Vasilkovsky, the architectural office of Evgeny Gerasimov is reflecting on the Ushakov Flyover, which was designed with input from this artist and architect. In this article, we are showing its watercolors and sketches, including the preliminary ones that were not included in the final project, as well as speaking about the importance of architectural drawing.
​Walking on Clouds
A restaurant in the Khibiny skiing complex: 820 meters above the sea level, sweeping views, a levitation effect, and ingenious engineering solutions.
​Transformation with Multiplication
The Palace of Water Sports in Luzhniki is one of the high-profile and nontrivial reconstructions of recent years, and a project that won one of the first competitions, initiated by Sergey Kuznetsov as the main architect of Moscow. The complex opened 2 years ago; this article about it comes out at the start of the bathing season.
​Sergey Tchoban: “I believe it’s very important to preserve this city as a record...
Although originally we planned to speak in this interview with Sergey Tchoban about high-rise construction, the conversation turned out to be 70% about meditation on the ways of regenerating the historical city and about the role of the city fabric as the most objective and unbiased historical record. And, as for the towers, which manifest social contrasts and leave a lot of junk when torn down, the conversation was about the expected construction norms and regulations. We took this interview one day before the Lakhta-2 project was announced, and this is why this newsbreak is not commented upon in any way in this article.
​Courtyards and Constructivism
In this issue, we are examining the second major block of the “city within a city” Ligovsky City complex, designed and built by A-Len, and combining several trends characteristic of modern urban architecture.
​Inside of a Drawn Grid
Designing the apartment complex PLAY in Danilovskaya Sloboda, ADM architects placed their bet on the imagery of construction. The area where it manifested itself the most vividly was the sophisticated grid of the facades.
​Headquarters of the Future
The project by “Arena Group”, which won in an open competition of ideas for the headquarters of the Italian company FITT, combines futuristic forms, an interesting set of functions, energy efficiency, and subtle references to the archetypes of Italian architecture. Particularly beautiful is the “continuous” fountain. In this issue, we are sharing about the three winners of the competition.
​A Tiered Composition
A little bit of New York in Odessa: an apartment complex designed and built by “Archimatika” with towers, townhouses, a square, and swimming pools.
​The Yard Aesthetics
Organizing the yard of a premium-class housing complex, GAFA architects took care not just about the image that matches the project’s high status, but also about simple human joys, masterfully overcoming the construction regulations.
​MasterMind: a Neural Network for Developers and Architects
Created by Genpro, this software allows you to generate within half an hour dozens of development and construction options in accordance with the set parameters. At the same time, however, being more focused on the technical aspects, the program does not exclude creative work, and can be used by architects for preparing projects with a subsequent data export to AutoCAD, Revit, and ArchiCAD.
This Beetle Has Flown
The story of designing a business center in the Zhukov (“Beetle”) Drive: a number of attempts to preserve a hundred-year-old cold storage facility, at the same time introducing modern buildings interpreting the industrial theme. The project remained on paper, but the story behind it seems to be worth our attention.
​The Childhood Territory
The project of the educational complex within the second stage of “Spanish Quarters” was developed by ASADOV Architects. The project is all about creating a friendly and transparent environment that in itself educates and forms the personality of a child.
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.
​Binary Opposition
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.
​Semantic Shift
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.