По-русски

​Waves of Sound

The conceptual design of a music school: proximity to an Alvar Aalto building, expressive organics, and an attempt to draw public attention to a “low-profile” competition.

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:
Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

23 April 2020
Object
mainImg
Architect:
Sergey Oreshkin
Firm:
A-Len
In January of this year, the city administration of Vyborg conducted a competition for the conceptual design of a music school with a concert hall for 500 people, located at Keppa Street 4, directly across from the famous library built by an Alvar Aalto project. The competition was an open one, yet it got very little press coverage, ultimately racking up only five competitors. By sheer coincidence – a friend sent them a link to the competition – their list included A-Len. According to Sergey Oreshkin, “the competition passed in such a closed-door atmosphere that one had a hard time figuring out why it was organized in the first place.” The victory was won by the project, whose authors “were able to express their idea in the most cost-efficient way”.

To evoke more interest to the location that deserves public hearings and an international competition, A-Len decided to show its proposal.

In addition to the obvious reasons why A-Len decided to take part in the competition – the center of the city boasting a status of a historical heritage site, proximity to the work of the legendary architect, and a rare typology – there was still another one: the leader of the company, Sergey Oreshkin, was born here in Vyborg, and here he graduated from the local art school, where he was “supercharged as a young pre-architect”. He describes Vyborg as a place with unique town planning, “just like from textbook”, which manifests itself particularly vividly next to the location in question.

Location plan. The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


The Lenina Avenue, one of the main arteries of the city, links the Rynochnaya and the Paradnaya Squares; one side of the avenue is presented by dense “Saint Petersburg” construction, while the other side consists of several parks, including the “esplanade” park where the library is located. Across from the library, at the corner of the Suvorovsky Avenue and the Kepp Street, in the residential block with a few Stalin buildings, the school will be built. It will be added to the “recreational” strip along the Lenina Avenue, and it will further strengthen the front of the Suvorova Avenue, filling the lacuna.

  • zooming
    1 / 3
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    2 / 3
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    3 / 3
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


The members of the competition were to decide how to construct, on a comparatively small land site, a building that is filled with functions, and do that without compromising the processes that will go on inside of it. In the A-Len concept, the school consists of a few blocks of different height. The academic block accounts for almost half of the total volume, has an individual entrance, and is placed in the part that is the farthest from the Suvorovsky Avenue: this way, the classroom windows will overlook quiet green little yards. In the center, there is a concert hall, and the closest to the Aalto library is a lobby with a sophisticated system of tiers and staircases.

The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


The arrangement of spaces is governed by the functional logic: the streams of children and the adults coming to the concerts are separated; the loading of the stage props takes place behind the scenes. The lobby space is adjusted to host micro events – in some of its corners, it will be possible to organize exhibitions, readings, or film runs. There are also two amphitheaters for open air sessions: one on the roof, and one on the little place that like an echo continues the building in the depth of the city block.

The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


The architects deliberately opposed the expressive “shell” of the new building to the ascetic Aalto library. Sergey Oreshkin shares that the image was suggested by the building’s function: the lamellae of different width are meant to symbolize the piano keyboard. The stylistic device turned out to be as simple as capacious.

  • zooming
    1 / 5
    Concept. Project of the art school in Vyborg.
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    2 / 5
    The concept. The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    3 / 5
    The concept. The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    4 / 5
    The concept. The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    5 / 5
    The concept. The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


The 3D renders, in which the library and the school, separated by the road, are “looking” at each other, make one thinking that, should the new building be executed in the appropriate manner, the dialogue between the Aalto masterpiece and the music school would indeed be possible. In the A-Len project concept, the school makes a “female” pair to the minimalist building of the library, accentuating the beauty of the work by the Finnish architect by showing it in a new and different light.

  • zooming
    1 / 5
    Alvaro Aalto library in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    2 / 5
    Alvaro Aalto library in Vyborg
    Copyright: © Denis Esakov
  • zooming
    3 / 5
    Alvaro Aalto library in Vyborg
    Copyright: © Denis Esakov
  • zooming
    4 / 5
    Alvaro Aalto library in Vyborg
    Copyright: © Denis Esakov
  • zooming
    5 / 5
    Alvaro Aalto library in Vyborg
    Copyright: © Denis Esakov


The “femininity” of the school building is also felt at the material level: the lamellas look like the folds of a dress, or ruffle, or a veil – and on the subtler subliminal level: the curves and the backlighting make one feel the warmth and the vibrations of life. “Femininity” is probably one of the most vivid signs of organic architecture, and on this specific project the “organic architecture” that this architectural company loves to make but cannot fully explore, for example, in the housing projects that it designs, finally sounds in full effect.

The two buildings are not only opposed to each other but also have a connection between them. In his works, Alvar Aalto oftentimes course combined organic architecture and functionalism; in addition, the architect’s surname translates as nothing less than “wave”, the most famous part of the Vyborg library is the wave-shaped ceiling. From this standpoint, the school can be viewed as the “insides” of the library presented to the observer. And if we are to continue the discourse about the paired relationship between the two buildings, then the wave-shaped facade of the school and the “corrugated pattern” superimposed upon it look like a seashell, while the library is the pearl, perfect in its purity.

  • zooming
    1 / 4
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    2 / 4
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    3 / 4
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    4 / 4
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


Another important strong point of this project is that it is easily implementable. According to Sergey Oreshkin, the lamellae are essentially an inexpensive and aesthetically appealing material. The architects are proposing to make them from milky glass and install backlighting that will create an “aurora borealis” effect like the iridescent pearls that will change depending on the weather, ambient light, or concert program. Light is also a wave.

  • zooming
    1 / 3
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    2 / 3
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    3 / 3
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


The 500-seat concert hall obliged to think about its technical contexts as well. According to Sergey Oreshkin, if you want such hall to host a variety of events, you need a full-fledged stage box: with housing machinery and turntables, orchestra stalls, dressing rooms, etc. The company has a formidable experience in designing concert halls, to name but the project of the Alla Pugacheva Song Theater, for which A-Len collaborated with the acoustic experts of the Mariinsky Theater.

  • zooming
    1 / 7
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    2 / 7
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    3 / 7
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    4 / 7
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    5 / 7
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    6 / 7
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau
  • zooming
    7 / 7
    The music school with a concert hall in Vyborg
    Copyright: © A-Len Architectural Bureau


Also, the architect believes that the building also needs an underground parking garage – if there is a full house, there can be too many cars for such a quiet city area – as well as a cafe to cater for the visitors of the library.

Sergey Oreshkin calls on to organize an open international competition, the first stage of which would be public hearings.

Architect:
Sergey Oreshkin
Firm:
A-Len

23 April 2020

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:

Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
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.
​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.
​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.