По-русски

​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.

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:
Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

14 July 2021
Overview
mainImg
The Re-Use show took place in Berlin’s AEDES Gallery in late June / early July. The relatively small exposition featured works by Tchoban Voss Architekten, united by the theme of reconstructing postwar Modernist buildings.

Re-Use exhibition in AEDAS gallery, Berlin, 2021
Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner


The exhibition included 8 implemented reconstruction projects: 3 in Hamburg, 3 in Berlin, and 2 in St. Petersburg. One thing that all these buildings have in common is that, although they could have been legitimately torn down, the decision to preserve the constructive basis, and sometimes even the imagery, was made by the architects who asked their clients to treat “what’s already been built” carefully, ecologically, and cost-effectively.

Re-Use exhibition in AEDAS gallery, Berlin, 2021
Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner


In their entirety, the showcased projects demonstrate a whole range of individual approaches to renewing Modernist buildings, varying in accordance with multiple factors, from the architectural character of the buildings to their geographical location.

With the authors permission after the completion of the exhibition we are publishing the “contrastive pairs of the buildings before and after the reconstruction.

Conservation

A vivid example of conserving a Modernist architectural solution is presented by the reconstruction of the office building at Ernst Reuter Platz in West Berlin. After the renovation, the massive volume with laconic ribbon windows and large cantilevered structures looks exactly as before – as if all the architects did was give the building a good washing. Meanwhile, the reconstruction brought out the characteristic properties of modernist aesthetics – it became transparent, mathematically clear and even “cool-looking” due to the combination of white stripes and bluish glass.

The work was finished in June 3030, and the authors described it as “…full clearance, repair, partially new construction”. One must note that in this particular case the original building was good enough as it was, and pay tribute to the authors’ instinct that prompted the path of careful preservation.

  • zooming
    The Ernst-Reuter-Platz 6 building before the reconstruction. Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Lev Chestakov
  • zooming
    Reconstruction of the building at Ernst-Reuter-Platz 6. Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Lev Chestakov


Multiplying

The office building in the southwest of Berlin, in the area of Blissestraße, built in the 1970s, before the renovation looked significantly heavier than the preceding example from Ernst Reuter Platz. The fractured rows of small windows and the heavyweight side ends of a “standard” appearance would look better on some industrial building than on a crossing of two important streets of a big city (the Brandenburg Avenue comes here). In addition, the neighboring buildings of the same 1979s look much more elegant, their windows being larger, their bottom floors formed by galleries on slender pillars.

  • zooming
    The Blissestrasse 5 in Berlin before the reconstruction
    Copyright: Photograph © Philipp Bauer
  • zooming
    Reconstruction of the building at Blissestrasse 5, Berlin. Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner


After the renovation of 2017-2020 that was done at the commission of Becker & Kries, the western wing, the one facing the city, got a new version of facades – now they rhyme with the design solution of the Commerzbank across the street, developing its aesthetic in the direction of even more white and playing with the asymmetric shape of the black metallic frames, particularly flashy when viewed from aside.

  • zooming
    1 / 5
    Reconstruction of the office building at Blissestrasse 5 in Berlin. Tchoban Voss Architekten, completed in 2020
    Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner
  • zooming
    2 / 5
    Reconstruction of the office building at Blissestrasse 5 in Berlin. Tchoban Voss Architekten, completed in 2020
    Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner
  • zooming
    3 / 5
    Reconstruction of the office building at Blissestrasse 5 in Berlin. Tchoban Voss Architekten, completed in 2020
    Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner
  • zooming
    4 / 5
    Reconstruction of the office building at Blissestrasse 5 in Berlin. Tchoban Voss Architekten, completed in 2020
    Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner
  • zooming
    5 / 5
    Reconstruction of the office building at Blissestrasse 5 in Berlin. Tchoban Voss Architekten, completed in 2020
    Copyright: Photograph © Klemens Renner


In addition to the facades, the architects also renewed all the engineering systems, reconstructed the building’s underground parking garage, added a fire-escape elevator and the forced ventilation of the fire staircase. The roof became operational. The architects also designed and realized the interiors for the new major renter, the company ITDZ-Berlin, which now occupies the whole building.

The ITDZ building on Blissestraße is an example of significant intervention, and, essentially, complete reconstruction that included changing the facades and remodeling the interiors. As one can easily notice, however, all of the changes were made within the framework of the stylistic paradigm of the 1970s – because they imbue the imagery of the neighboring buildings, aiming at creating an urban ensemble with integrity of its own. As a result, the aesthetics of the seventies, prevailing in this part of the city, are accentuated and even multiplied in the new version of the facades – with some adjustment for the subtleties of modern taste, of course.

Decoration 

The textile factory, built in 1966 in the northwest outskirts of Berlin not far from the airport, had already been reconstructed once into an office building: at that time, it received glass insulation units and “fur coat” stucco. The next reconstruction, designed by architects Tchoban Voss, was implemented in 2013–2014 for FOD Properties.

  • zooming
    The building of the textile factory in Berlin before the reconstruction
    Copyright: Provided by Tchoban Voss Architekten
  • zooming
    Reconstruction of the textile factory in Berlin. Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Greg Bannan


In this case, due to the absence of any however little influential architectural environment, the Tchoban Voss architects took the path of manifesting an internal thematic context – they played on the memory of the original function, turning the facade, by using patterned aluminum panels, into a kind of interlacing of multi-colored threads. Interestingly, the prints are designed in such a way that the threads of different colors look as if they “hover” in space, twitching a little, like they would on a loom. The large (and designed in the same way) sign Tuchfabrik (“Textile Factory”) above the entrance enhances the importance of remembering the history of this place and puts this project in the line of reconstructing factory buildings keeping the memory of their industrial past.

  • zooming
    1 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Werner Huthmacher
  • zooming
    2 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Werner Huthmacher
  • zooming
    3 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Werner Huthmacher
  • zooming
    4 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Lev Chestakov
  • zooming
    5 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Werner Huthmacher
  • zooming
    6 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Werner Huthmacher
  • zooming
    7 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Greg Bannan
  • zooming
    8 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Greg Bannan
  • zooming
    9 / 9
    Reconstruction of the Textile Factory (Tuchfabrik) in Berlin, 2013-2016
    Copyright: Photograph © Greg Bannan


We will not that the proposed solution does not in any way interpret the architecture of the original building, which, on the other hand, is just an plain and ordinary one – rather, it becomes a new facade decoration that obviously raises the class and the value of the building.

***

The three projects of reconstructing buildings in Hamburg, showcased at the exhibition, are works by Sergey Tchoban’s Hamburg partner, Elkehard Voss.

Grace and elegance 

The building of Nikolaikontor (Nicholas’ Offices), constructed in 1959 in Hamburg, also completely changed its profile after the reconstruction. A simple striped parallelepiped, “honest”, yet slightly incongruous for its surroundings, widened its plan almost to the point of square, the first floor became higher, slender white supports appeared, and the facade became dominated by a thin light-colored network. Strictly speaking, the building looks nothing like the original, even though it does stay in the paradigm of modern architecture.

  • zooming
    The KWK building in Hamburg before the reconstruction
    Copyright: Provided by Tchoban Voss Architekten
  • zooming
    Reconstruction of the NKK building in Hamburg. Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Meike Hansen archimages


The project of reconstructing the building of the “Kaiser Wilhelm Office”, built in the 1950s, was jokingly nicknamed by the architects as “The Kaiser’s New Clothes”. The building, constructed in the 1950s, was built up with two new floors; two glass panoramic elevators were added commanding the views of the surroundings. The façades with a thin two-tiered natural limestone grating contrast with the adjacent glass building.

  • zooming
    The KWK building in Hamburg before the reconstruction
    Copyright: Provided by Tchoban Voss Architekten
  • zooming
    Reconstruction of the KWK building in Hamburg. Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Daniel Sumesgutner


Turning a Modernist residential building into a tuly modern one 

The renovation of three apartment buildings on the western outskirts of Hamburg stands out from the general range primarily with a residential function.

In addition to changing the imagery of the facades, the project focused on energy efficient thermal insulation. It received the first prize of the 2012 German façade award in the category “Energy-efficient façade renovation”. Two houses out of three became barrier-free, and were adapted for people of limited mobility. In addition, the housing was supplemented with small offices (no more than 4 people in each), and the architects created conditions for the development of a shopping center, dividing the space between houses into open and private zones.

  • zooming
    The Schenefelder Holt building in Hamburg before the reconstruction
    Copyright: Provided by Tchoban Voss Architekten
  • zooming
    Reconstruction of the Schenefelder Holt building in Hamburg. Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Daniel Sumesgutner


From a purely visual standpoint, however, the late-modernist slab – still laconic, but already coated with brick, the way it was done in the USSR in the 1980s – turned, again, into a characteristic example of a modern housing project with a bright facade, not devoid of asymmetric agility. Similar examples are quite abundant in Moscow, although they are more likely to be seen in new construction than in reconstruction with the preservation of the structural basis of the house.

***

Making it romantic

Still another group within this narrative is represented by two St Petersburg constructions by Sergey Tchoban, which, for obvious reasons, must be more familiar to our readers – the business centers “Langenzipen” (2006) and “Benoit” (2006). Interestingly, these are the earliest examples of all. 

Both reconstructions were initiated by Sergey Tchoban who suggested that the client keep the building’s framework, replacing the facade. Both are designed in silk printing – a method that makes it possible to apply virtually any images on the facades – from photograph of the historical facades decor, like in Lagenzipen, which ultimately fitted in perfectly with the Kamennoostrovsky Avenue 

  • zooming
    The building of Langenzipen business center in St. Petersburg before the reconstruction
    Copyright: Provided by Tchoban Voss Architekten
  • zooming
    The Langenzipen business center. Reconstruction by Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Bernhard Kroll


to enlarged gouache paintings, like in the “Benoit” business center, whose main facade after the reconstruction became a “permanent exposition” of the works by this artist of Silver Age.

  • zooming
    “Russia” factory in St. Petersburg, the building of “Benoit” business center before the reconstruction
    Copyright: Provided by Tchoban Voss Architekten
  • zooming
    “Benoit” business center in St. Petersburg. Reconstruction by Tchoban Voss Architekten
    Copyright: Photograph © Aleksey Naroditsky


One can easily notice that for St Petersburg Sergey Tchoban uses a slightly different approach, more on the theatrical and romantic side – probably like his native city, famous, in addition, for the integrity of the historical buildings (it is somehow even embarrassing to mention the status of the cultural capital). The buildings reconstructed by Sergei Tchoban in St. Petersburg acquire completely new properties that do not go back either to themselves or to the history of the industrial zones, of which they were a part before the reconstruction. If the facade of the Berlin textile factory was invented based on its own history, then the meanings here go back to the general context of the city’s culture as a whole.

Relatively recently (2018–2020), Sergei Tchoban applied a similar approach, based on an enlarged reproduction of photographs of classical architecture details that form a facade that is both historicized and modern, to renovate the building of Hospital No. 23 in Moscow. This project was not showcased at the exhibition but, in my opinion, can also serve as the development and continuation of the theme. Still another reconstruction project authored by Sergey Tchoban’s SPEECH, headquartered in Moscow, was recently considered by the architectural council of Moscow.

***

The exhibition, based on Sergey Tchoban’s German portfolio, presented a very wide range of possible approaches to reconstructing Modernist buildings. We will yet again emphasize here that we are not speaking here about reconstructing some high-profile architectural heritage sites, but about breathing new life into buildings that would otherwise have been destroyed. Most of them – let’s face it – were not characterized by either individual or however attractive artistic solutions – rather, they were examples of what the construction industry could do for purely utilitarian purposes.

The options for the completed reconstruction projects combine both the preservation of a solid frame and the addition of ”green”, that is, environmentally responsible, as well as socially responsible options, which is necessary when designing in modern Europe, and the individuality of the image that each building received as a result. We admit that they have evolved from relatively standard projects, which in each case delicately demonstrate their being special. Part of the individual author’s approach was the attention to the specifics of the reconstructed buildings and their surroundings, which made it possible to make decisions in each case, based on the initial data: to preserve its imagery or to replace it with something else.

It is interesting that the “fan of solutions” stretches from the delicate preservation of Modernism or the interested development of a modernist ensemble in Berlin of our time – to beautiful “literary” images in St. Petersburg that sprang 15 years ago. All of these are examples of the European approach, which can be viewed as examples of the attitude of the postindustrial society to the constructions of the previous, industrial society – as individual samples, of let’s say, “sanitation of the urban fabric”.

14 July 2021

Julia Tarabarina

Written by:

Julia Tarabarina
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
comments powered by HyperComments
Headlines now
​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”.
​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.
​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.
​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.
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.