По-русски

​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.

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:
Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

21 May 2021
Object
mainImg
The “Second Quarter” of Ligovsky City is part of a large-scale project aimed at renovating the Volkovskaya industrial estate, which is part of the still wider “gray belt” of St Petersburg. The central part of the belt is renovated by Glorax Development, a company, popularly known for its Golden City housing complex that it built on the alluvial land of the Vasilyevsky Island. Ligovsky City is a still more ambitious project of the scale worthy of Peter the Great, and, hence, utopian to a certain point.

The Third City

The project dates back to the competition 2016 that was organized by the Committee for Architecture and Town Planning of St Petersburg: the contestants were offered to develop concepts for renovating the industrial territories lying beyond the Bypass Channel, and come up with detailed guidelines for developing three pilot sites. According to the judging panel, for the Volkovskaya industrial estate the best work was submitted by MLA+, a Dutch architectural company that already has its own branch in St Petersburg. Glorax asked MLA+ to further develop the concept to the level of a master plan – and this is how Ligovsky City came about.

According to the idea proposed by MLA+, between St Petersburg (to which the historical refers), and Leningrad (which spreads beyond the Ligovsky Avenue), a “third city” may appear – modern and comfortable, connected with nature and the history of this place, eventful and diverse. The architects propose to divide the entire territory, about 100 hectares in size, into 14 blocks, 4 squares, and 4 park spaces. Each city block is special and is designed for groups of residents with a different lifestyle – conditionally speaking, family, business, and creative peopleб which, come to think of it, is a little bit reminiscent of Sloboda settlements, only in the new reality. The promotional video explains the concept in a very comprehensible and optimistic way.



Place of the Second Quarter in the “Third City”

To design and build some parts of the construction on the basis of the MLA+ concept, Glorax Development invited different architects. In 2017, A-Len architects started working on the project for the second quarter – its construction was completed in2020.

The developers are moving from west to east: the first (and the earliest) quarter of Ligovsky City was designed and built by A Architects on the opposite side of the avenue, while for the next stage of development of the Third City, comparatively recently still another project was approved, which, in turn, is located on the east side, on the extensive territory of the former Tovarno-Vitebskaya railway station; work on this site is also done with input from A-Len in cooperation with the Dutch KCAP and Orange. However, recently it was announced that part of this territory can be sold to another developer, which may alter all the current plans. 

Let’s get back to the second quarter of Ligovsky City, however. It has been fully designed by A-Len architects and put into operation at the end of 2020. Currently, the work on land organization is being completed.

"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


St Petersburg Town Planning

If we are to go back to the categories of the master plan proposed by MLA+, the “Second Quarter” belongs in the “blue segment”, which generally corresponds to business class – it is expected that it will become home to people who value moderate luxury, comfort, and safety. This status is further supported by the geographic location: the complex is situated far enough from the railroad line, its main facade overlooks the Ligovsky Avenue, and the view from the windows is ensured against being blocked by other buildings – in the near future, the “Borovaya” metro station will open here, around which an active city square must form. What also influenced the search for the architectural image of the “Second Quarter” was both Ligovsky Avenue itself with its rich history and the neighboring buildings on the land site – a tenement of the early XX century, and a Stalinist house, which, ironically, is now a police station.

"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


The land site that was allotted to the “Second Quarter” is a narrow one, of a complex jagged shape, which is generally characteristic for former industrial estates due to a large number of owners, property encumbrances, and sanitary zones. A-Len decided to “tame” it by using traditional St Petersburg town planning techniques – and quite successfully. One must note that reference to historical planning techniques is something that we can see in the work of St Petersburg architects more and more often, becoming their “trademark technique”: let’s remember the courtyards of the “Russian House”, “Czar’s Capital” or the “Botanica” housing complex. 

A-Len is going in the same direction, studying the spatial solutions, characteristic for the Ligovsky Avenue, as well as the famous tenements of St Petersburg, combining them with pedestrian axes and modern norms for greenery and fire parking zones.

  • zooming
    1 / 3
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. The shape making diagram
    Copyright: © A-Len
  • zooming
    2 / 3
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. Comparison of the parameters of various types of layouts
    Copyright: © A-Len
  • zooming
    3 / 3
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. Tradition of yard construction of St Petersburg
    Copyright: © A-Len


Thus, the “Second Quarter” consists of four buildings that are grouped in respect to orthogonal pedestrian axes, forming a transparent rectangular city block with a sequence of courtyards. The elongated character of the yard is masked to a certain extent by protruding “tower” sections that are different in height, as well as the color and decoration pattern of the facade. Thus, from the side of Ligovsky Avenue, we see the compact “main” facade, behind which a developed residential structure is hidden in the depths of the block. Along the Ligovsky Avenue and from the side of the future “Borovaya” metro station, the bottom floors of the buildings are occupied by commercial premises. All the remaining “pieces” of the site are occupied by greenery and open-air parking lots. This way, a clear enough composition is formed, its only “odd” element being the house that stands closer to Rastannaya Street – but this house also plays its part, accentuating the second axis and completing the block with the police station.

"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. The master plan
Copyright: © A-Len


"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: © A-Len


The Architecture of Leningrad

As for the façades of the building, they unfold a different story, which is, by the way, very much in the spirit of MLA+: while the city plan is done more in the St Petersburg tradition, the imagery is more Leningrad – and this is exactly what yields the desired version of the “third city”.

The “main” façade, which opens up on the Ligovsky Avenue, again puts us in the mind of the Petrograd Side, but this time not to the tenements of the Kamennoostrovsky Avenue, but to the famous Lensovet house on Karpovka: what makes you think about similarity in this case is the flat elongated rectangular volume, slim “legs” of the gallery on the first floor, the central portal with three arches, as well as bas-relief inserts. As for the bas-reliefs, by the way, there are plans for replacing them with more detailed ones. The work was commissioned to the reputed sculptor Vladislav Manachinsky; it is supposed to take more non-trivial subjects – for example, depicting the notable buildings of Ligovsky Avenue that have not survived into the present.

"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


The building, of course, also has fundamental differences and signs of modernity, first of all, a greater share of glazing and facing materials. The windows are arranged in an off-beat order characteristic of our time, but at the same time they have a clear rhythm and are located strictly symmetrically relative to the axis passing through the central portal. The varying thickness of the piers and grouping the windows within the height of two floors helps create an unobtrusive pattern, and, as they say at city planning sessions, “combat the monotony of the slab of the house”. Considering the fact that the first floor is fully coated with natural stone, quite unusual is the choice of material for the rest of the facade – this is brick laid in three different patterns, each of which emphasizes the tectonics of the building.

Originally, it was expected that red brick would be used but the architects considered it to be too dark for Ligovsky Avenue, opting for two lighter shades. There was also a proposal to adorn the facade with sculptures but the client turned it down.

"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


"Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


The “tower” sections repeat the “grand” building in a slightly simplified form. From the side of the future metro station, the side walls had to be made blind in response to the fire safety regulations – but then again, the resulting firewalls give this part of the complex a rhythm, similar to that of the housing complex on Traktornaya Street – yet another outstanding work by Soviet architects. The courtyards are decorated with brick of a lighter shade.

  • zooming
    1 / 3
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
    Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len
  • zooming
    2 / 3
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
    Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len
  • zooming
    3 / 3
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex.
    Copyright: Photograph © Andrey Belimov-Gushchin / provided by A-Len


The apartment layouts are done in accordance with the original A-Len method: they are based on the resident’s portrait and his needs. The client commissioned the landscaping project to another company, because of which the logic of the concept was distorted a little by curvilinear shapes that appeared in the yard.

  • zooming
    1 / 4
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. Plan of the 1 floor, Building 1
    Copyright: © A-Len
  • zooming
    2 / 4
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. Plan of the 3-8 floors, Building 1
    Copyright: © A-Len
  • zooming
    3 / 4
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. Plan of the 11 floor, Building 1
    Copyright: © A-Len
  • zooming
    4 / 4
    "Ligovsky City. The Second Quarter" housing complex. The standard layout
    Copyright: © A-Len


Making a recap: we can definitely say that the complex is very much St Petersburg in its spirit; its austerity matches the residents’ status, it was sturdily designed and sturdy built. The relief brickwork makes an interesting textured highlight; in addition, after the existing reliefs are replaced, the facades will become even more attractive to the passers-by – not just with their regular grid, creating order, but also with their detailed character, ensuring diversity, which today is a significant competitive edge. The “human-friendly” height of the 11-story buildings, the reserved natural tone of the facades, and the symmetry of the tripartite portal on the main facade, make the image of the new houses of Ligovsky City nobly satin, at the same time highlighting and maintaining a feeling of some immanent dignity, inherent to these houses.

21 May 2021

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:

Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​The Thin Matter
The house named “Medny 3.14” (“Copper 3.14”) is composed of two textures, each of which resembles in its own way some kind of precious fabric, and of three units, each of which is oriented towards one cardinal point. The architecture of the house absorbs the nuances of the context, summing them up and turning them into a single rhythmic structure. In this article, we are examining the new, just-completed, house designed by Sergey Skuratov in Donskaya Street.
​Super Pergola
The new business center built in Moscow’s district of Presnya in the 1st Zemelny Lane is all about technology and sustainability. Its streamlined shapes and white facade grid are combined with a new version of vertical greenery: the green of wild grapes, placed at a distance from the facade, instead of arguing with the “pergola” grid, sets it off by contrast.
​Lightness of Being
Blooming Sakura, a campfire party, kids splashing in a swimming pool – no, these are not pictures from a vacation, but everyday life going on in the yards of Kiev’s housing complex “Fayna Town”. In this issue, we are examining how the utopia designed by the architects is wired, and what they did to make it a reality.
​A Triangular Folded Structure
The project of the new terminal of the Muraviev-Amursky airport in Blagoveshchensk offers architecture based on a modular form – endowed with a special imagery, it becomes the basis both for the carrying structures of the building and the plastique of the facade, at the same time reverberating in the interior design.
​The Breath of the East
Designing a residential complex for Tashkent, GENPRO is turning to traditional architecture and modern trends, aiming at emotionality and efficiency: the panjar window lattices and mishrabias are neighboring on vertical greenery and parametric ornaments, while the theme buildings do on a cotton alley and an oriental bazaar.
​Analysis and Synthesis
The project of the housing complex “Krasin”, designed for the historical center of St. Petersburg, and situated in a very obliging place – next to the Mining University designed by Voronikhin, yet bordering on an industrial area – became the result of a thorough analysis of the specifics of historical construction on the Vasilyevsky Island, and a subsequent synthesis with avoidance of direct stylization, yet forming a recognizable silhouette, resonant with the “old town”.
​Tatiana Guk: “A document that determines the development of the city has to be flexible”
In this issue, we are talking to the director of the Genplan Institute of Moscow about trends that determine the future, about the 70-year history of the Institute, which is celebrating an anniversary this year, about electronic computing in the field of urban planning and about international experience accumulated in this area, as well as about how the Institute is involved with other cities, and about the perfect document for the city development, which has to be flexible and strategic.
​Dialectical Manifesto
The high-rise housing complex MOD, whose construction has begun in Moscow’s district of Maryina Roshcha next to the site, on which the new Russian Railways headquarters will be built, is responding to the “central” context of the future city surroundings, and at the same time is positioned by the architects as a “manifesto of Modernist minimalist principles in architecture”.
​Asimov’s Dream
A project by DNK ag won in a competition for the science campus of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics in the city of Sarov, conducted by ROSATOM corporation in collaboration with the Moscow State University, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Kurchatov Institute.
​Near-Earth Space
The new terminal of the Leonov Airport in Kemerovo was built in record-breaking time, despite the pandemic. It became one of the important factors for the rapid development of the city, visually reflecting its dedication to the first spacewalk, both in the interiors and on the facades. Its main features are the “starry sky” effect and overall openness.
​The Spiral Approach
The school building in the city of Nur-Sultan, designed by Vera Budko and Anton Nadtochiy from beginning to end – from concept to working documentation – became the embodiment of the architects’ method for creating a modern educational environment, which the ATRIUM architects have been developing for years. Its fundamentals include creating an inspiring environment that motivates you to create. This is why the new school received a shape of an ornamental golden spiral that symbolizes ascension to knowledge; on the inside, the building is a compound and multifunctional “city within a city” with multilevel atriums, amphitheaters, and varying routes.
​The Ecological Bend
A story about how plans for laying a road on the border of a park turned into plans for saving the ecosystem and improving the walking trails.
​Kasimir from Kemerovo
The project of the branch of the Russian Museum for the Siberian Art Cluster is based on the ideas of Suprematism: basic shapes, and dynamism of color and form.
​Stream and Lines
Stepan Liphart’s projects of Art Deco villas demonstrate technical symbolism in combination with a subtle reference to the 1930s. One of the projects is a “paper” one; the others are designed for real customers: a top manager, an art collector, and a developer.
On the Bank of a Very Quiet River
The project of landscaping the territory of the residential complex NOW in Moscow’s Nagatinskaya Valley goes beyond the limits of its task and looks more like a modern park: with viewing platforms, an embankment, spaces different in their moods, and thought-out scenarios for visitors aged between 0 and 80.
​The Strategy of Transformation
In this article, we are publishing eight projects of reconstructing postwar Modernist 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.
In the Rhythm of Block Construction
Last week, the housing complex “Ty i Ya” (“You and Me”) was presented, built in the northwest of Moscow. By a number of parameters, it exceeds the originally stated comfort-class format, and, on the other hand, fully meeting the city block construction paradigm, popular in Moscow, demonstrates a few interesting features, such as a new kind of public spaces for the residents, and high-ceilinged apartments on the first floors.
​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.