По-русски

​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.

Written by:
Darya Gorelova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

28 December 2020
Object
mainImg

The building of the Alcon II business center, the construction of which was completed this fall by the Alcon Group, is stretched along Leningrad Avenue, a hundred meters from the Sokol metro station. If you drive from the center and out of the city, its façade will be on the right, shortly before the fork between Leningrad Avenue and Volokolamsk Highway: it is stretched lengthwise, and its façade consists of three large volumetric waves of a terra cotta hue.

  • zooming
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects


Alcon II is inscribed in the front of the red line of Leningrad Avenue, and thus represents the entire business center to the rest of the city. The other part of the business center, built earlier – Alcon I – is situated behind the new building in the depth of the land site and consists of four buildings of a square plan; the final stage of the project was also done by ADM architects. This is why, when the Alcon II was considered in 2013 at one of the first architectural councils, presided by Sergey Kuznetsov, Hans Stimmann, former chief architect of Berlin, who then was a member of the council, shared that he personally visited the already-completed Alcon I in order to study the situation, and that the resulting city space, designed by ADM, including the facades and the landscape park, was quite to his liking.

The location plan. Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue
Copyright: © ADM


It must be noted that ADM architects started working on Alcon II even earlier than on Alcon I, specifically, in 2007 – back then the client, Alcon Group, invited the architects to think about the fate of the building that existed on the site, which was a rather heavy eight-story “beam” building of the late Soviet era. In 2007-2008, the architects proposed a few options (see one of them here) but the work did not advance any further. The architects were only able to get back to Alcon II in 2012. In 2013, the project successfully passed the architectural council, and by 2014 was finally developed. The construction work resumed in 2018, and has been completed now, in 2020.

author photo

Andrey Romanov, ADM

The project was implemented exactly the way it was conceived and exactly the way it was approved by the Architectural Council in 2013. Me and my coauthor, Ekaterina Kuznetsova, we believe that the building made a very good match for the architectural context of Leningrad Avenue.

I have information that the demand for the premises in Alcon II is really high; one large company is moving its offices from older buildings of the business center to this new building.


The new office center stretches along the avenue, occupying the spot of the former Soviet building and now hiding the stepped silhouettes of Alcon I buildings from the side of the avenue. Under the new building, there are 3 underground parking floors for 374 cars, and its first floor combines areas for cafes and shops with a lobby catering for two office blocks. The planning is flexible; the communication cores, just the way it should be in an imposing office building, are situated in the center of each of the blocks. The owner is planning to rent the premises out both by the floor, and in small lots. The architects proposed an unconventional solution for the central air conditioning system: the ventilation outlets face the rear façade and are concealed by glass; only dry cooling towers are installed on the roof (a similar solution was used in Alcon I).

  • zooming
    1 / 4
    Plan of the 1st floor. Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue
    Copyright: © ADM
  • zooming
    2 / 4
    Plan of the 3rd floor. Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue
    Copyright: © ADM
  • zooming
    3 / 4
    Plan of the 5th floor. Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue
    Copyright: © ADM
  • zooming
    4 / 4
    Plan of the 7th floor. Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue
    Copyright: © ADM


The top floor is fully made of glass with a very thin and sparse glazing pattern and a large margin from the edge. This margin makes spacious terraces – one can step out from the office for a breath of fresh air (the top floors of Alcon I also feature terraces because the client, Alcon Group, believes that terraces on the upper floors are one of important advantages for modern office buildings). The top floor, as Andrey Romanov aptly put it, is the “office penthouse”; the “clear” height from floor to ceiling here is 5m. But then again, the height of the other six floors is also large enough – 4.5m – which in combination with the windows reaching to the floor will let in a lot of natural light.

Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects


The height of the first floor is even greater – 7m. This is more than the average height in Moscow residential buildings being designed now (where the norm for the height of the first public floor is 5-6 m).

Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects


The tier of the public space – the lobby and the space of rentable infrastructure – is something that the architects designed in a particularly dramatic way. What rises above the sidewalk is just a small “straightening” band of the basement floor, no more than 10cm high, but further up, the whole 7 meters from floor to ceiling, there is tinted glass with an occasional barely visible seam. The volume of the building visually “hovers” above the ground, while the curves of the glass produce a “glamorous” high-gloss impression.

Volume-wise, the first tier of the building is divided not into two, but into three parts, which yields two passageways to the yard of Alcon I. In addition to commercial premises, the side blocks also feature lobbies, while the central block is slightly smaller in size – its contours are smooth and flowing, the space inside is free and transparent, and it only has the supports of the main framework. The pitch of the supports, white and with a round section, is 8 meters, usual for office buildings. In the first floor, these white columns are visible through the glass, further working towards creating the image of a “house on legs”, but at some places the architects are leaving the column exposed, like in the western arch of the passage, again emphasizing the ethereal character of the glass boundary.

The side blocks echo the central one in terms of being just as flexible and streamlined, but in some places, for example, in the entrances to the building and in the arches, the glass is replaced by punctured metal with tree shadow patterns.

  • zooming
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects


The first floor with its “boutique” façade, looking like a collection of precious stones, forms the first bright impression that the building, or the whole complex for that matter, produces on the pedestrian. This space is pretty, domesticated, and bright. As the owners of the complex report, a total of 80% of the premises have already been booked up.

Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects


However, the architects paid most attention to the plastique of the main six floors, the most noticeable from the point of view of the city on the whole, and the most visible to the motorists driving down Leningrad Avenue. The ledges at the side ends make the silhouette look more slender. And the main façade overlooking the avenue is gathered into three bands each two stories high. The bands of the front third of the volume undulate in large smooth waves, creating a sculptural effect. In this form, one can see the techniques of the Late Renaissance, not to say Baroque: a façade being a volumetric entity that has “thickness”, which can be “bent”. The very new building itself becomes such a “baroque façade” – a sculptural signature statement, a continuation, completion, and the representative of the business center situated behind it.

Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects


“Our idea was to make the building reflect the dynamics of moving along the avenue – Aleksey Romanov says – there are cars speeding by, they raise currents of air, and our façade helps you to feel this “aerodynamics” through the architecture of the building”.

  • zooming
    1 / 4
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    2 / 4
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    3 / 4
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue / ADM architects
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    4 / 4
    Alcon II business center on leningrad Avenue
    Copyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architectsCopyright: Photograph © Yaroslav Lukyanchenko / provided by ADM architects


The architect also explains that realizing the intersecting bands was quite a difficult task. The thing is that the cantilevered ledges of the bands had to be heat-insulated at top and bottom, at the same time maintaining the integrity of the horizontal lines – that is, not turning the bands into a kind of “pleated pattern”, but keeping up the feel of matter, slit horizontally and undulating in the currents of air. The architects solved the problem by insulating the top and bottom from the inside, drawing diagonal chamfers of insulation. The unit turned out to be quite sophisticated.



Just like in the preceding buildings of Alcon I, the ventilation facades of the new building are coated with ceramic tiles of rich terra cotta color, which ensures the integrity of the complex, and is to some extent resonant with the colors of the Leningrad Avenue, yet even more resonant with the colors of the towers, built nearby in the early 2000’s by Ostozhenka. One way or another, terra cotta is the trademark color of Alcon. However, in this new building, the proportions are initially more slender, and, in addition, they are accentuated by the dual vertical rhythm of the piers. The verticals alternate with thin stripes and smoothly change their width on the bands’ ledges, accentuating the form – as if the matter stretches, thinning out and becoming “more glass” on the ledges.

Besides, the relief of the terra cotta façade panels is different from Alcon I – it is slightly wavy and looks like some variation of the classical Dorian and Ionian architectural orders, “multiplied” in height. Yet, at the same time, the relief of the panels echoes the “wave idea” on the façade, and with the “agility” of the building’s plastique on the whole.

Thus, Alcon II business center turned out to be quite noticeable both from the architectural and town planning standpoint. One must admit that it is a great, highly contemporary, or even, as Andrey Romanov aptly put it, futuristic replacement of the old Soviet building, which did not belong on one of the main thoroughfares of the nation’s capital. Moreover, one must recognize in this day and age, when Moscow’s architectural design market is dominated by high-rise housing projects, a new office building in a high-profile location, low-rise in the overall context of the avenue, yet at the same time different in its plastique and eye-catching architecture, is definitely a phenomenon, which livens up the city, and which is worthy of attention.

28 December 2020

Written by:

Darya Gorelova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​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.
​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.