In the spirit of ROSTA posters

The new Rostselmash tractor factory, conceptualized by ASADOV Architects, is currently being completed in Rostov-on-Don. References to the Soviet architecture of the 1920’s and 1960’s resonate with the mission and strategic importance of the enterprise, and are also in line with the client’s wish: to pay homage to Rostov’s constructivism.

09 January 2024
Rostselmash produces agricultural machinery: tractors, combines, mowers, sprayers, and such like – as the company’s website says: “94 years on guard of Russia’s food security”. Watching videos with shiny-red machines filmed against the background of golden fields, you quickly get into the familiar spin: “400 tons per shift? Easy!”, “It’s a pride to be a mechanic”, “No matter how you look at it, Rostselmash is still ahead”.

The production facility is located in Rostov-on-Don and occupies a large area in the industrial zone between the helicopter plant and the civil aviation plant. One part of this territory has been lying idle for more than 30 years – it is the “Kopnitel” plant, which was started in the perestroika years, but was never completed. In 2021, Rostselmash decided to build a new tractor assembly hall in its place: the transfer and expansion of production will double the output of units from 1,500 to 3,000 per year.

What is unusual is that they decided to make architectural sense of the industrial building, for which they invited the ASADOV Architects.

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Location in the city
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

This is, of course, unusual only for modern Russian industrial buildings: there are quite a few Soviet factories, garages or even hydroelectric power plants that have already been included or are asking to be included in the list of cultural heritage sites. Selmash itself, as well as its workers’ settlement, were built in 1927-1931, and at the same time notable constructivist buildings appeared in the city: the Gorky Theater, which Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer called a pearl of Soviet architecture, the Lendvorets, and the residential complexes designed by Mikhail Kondratyev and Leonid Eberg.

It is noteworthy that the customer expressed the wish to pay tribute to Rostov constructivism in the new project.

However, the unfinished “Kopnitel” plant had to be demolished – still, technical requirements for an industrial building are more important than memories. The new assembly hall generally repeats the dimensions of its predecessor, but it has a completely different “shell” answering the needs of the modern production line. The hall, where tractors will be assembled from scratch, is equipped with equipment for welding, machining, painting, and assembly. The existing administrative building, boiler house and entrance group have been preserved, and the facades have been renewed according to the general concept.

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – general view
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – general view
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

The production hall is huge – a rectangular building with impressive sides of 400 by 125 meters and a total area of about 62,000 m2. The long, snow-white facades are interrupted by ribbon glazing, interspersed with inclusions of red. It looks like this: on the main façade, there are juicy sandwich panels that mark the loading and unloading areas; there is an exterior staircase that resembles an enlarged fragment of a bunch of trusses when viewed from a close range, and an arrow when viewed from a distance; finally, there is a brutalist inscription anchoring the corner. The facades on the administration building and warehouse side are also marked by a red ribbon of eaves running the full length of the building. The roof works as “the fifth façade” thanks to the slender rows of skylights. They are protected from direct sunlight by “little houses” made of solar panels of the domestic brand Hevel.

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – general view
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – view of the corner of Building B, staircase version 1
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Facade layouts
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Fragments of facade sweeps
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

The simple shape of the building reflects its internal structure: the modern production line is concise, precise and efficient. However, only the paint shop and part of the component warehouse will be stationary, while the rest of the space will be flexible and adjustable.

The building’s entrance is responsible for the first impression that the building produces; the entrance is located in a small ledge relative to the whole building, but still accommodates seven units for display. Judging from the sketches, the entrance area set the tone for the entire concept: among the variants, we can see a modernist sloping portal – or colonnade – supported by ribbed lamellae on the main volume.

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    Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – view of the showroom
    Copyright: © ASADOV Architects
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    Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Option 2 – view of the showroom
    Copyright: © ASADOV Architects
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    Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Option 3a – view of the showroom
    Copyright: © ASADOV Architects
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    Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Option 3b – view of the showroom
    Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

The final version is the most balanced one in terms of both mass and message. The glass cube is covered with a red canopy with the name of the company; on the left, the façade curves with a wide flexible arc – on the one hand, it is an effective and laconic architectural gesture, on the other hand, it looks like a banner, as the back side of the arc is red. The movement of the arc is balanced out by a light parallelepiped, housing the conference hall and meeting rooms; it is cut into the stained glass window of the entrance group on the right and “floats” in the glass, opening a view of the thin teeth of concrete stairs leading upstairs – everything is done according to the rules of the chosen style.

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    Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – view of the showroom
    Copyright: © ASADOV Architects
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    Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – view of the showroom
    Copyright: © ASADOV Architects
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    Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Variant 1 – view of the showroom
    Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

On the façade of the conference hall, again in line with modernist preferences, a bas-relief was planned to be placed. Rostselmash even held a contest: its participants had to come up with a composition that would not only welcome guests, “but also inspire employees, being a hymn to creative labor and a man of labor”. The finalists received a serious reward, the models were promised to be left in the Rostselmash museum, but for some reason it didn’t work out – the bas-relief was eventually replaced by media screens.

Reconstruction of the Rostselmash plant. Bas-relief
Copyright: © ASADOV Architects

At the entrance, the visitor is welcomed by a spacious double-height showroom displaying samples of machinery. It is separated from the hall by a transparent story the full height of the building, through which you can observe the working process. The dark monochrome finish helps to focus all of your attention on the technology, while different textures and matte materials make the space look deep and voluminous. The welcome area, conference room and meeting rooms are all united by red details: lamps, gradient lighting, perforated panels. The agrarian theme is further supported by compositions of dried flowers. The overall mood is even somewhat glamorous.

The preserved buildings were renovated and “brought to a single style denominator”: flashes of red on white link the buildings into a single complex. The six-story administrative building will be connected to the assembly halls by two air overpasses running at the third floor level. The main entrance will be framed by a square which will also become an outdoor display for the equipment. It will be complemented by a square for recreation, as well as parking lots protected by shadows cast by the trees.

If we look at the complex as a whole – firstly, the very fact that the client invited the architects and asked them to make homage to modernism/constructivism of the Rostov land is interesting and worthy of praise. Secondly, the modernist note here is stronger and more interesting than the constructivist one, and it is more suitable for the scale of the factory building. In the end, though, they act together and take good root in the Rostov region, where agriculture is an industry with traditions, where everything grows and sprouts and asks to be depicted on “ROSTA posters” thanks to its labor prowess.

09 January 2024

Headlines now
The Mirror of Your Soul
We continue to publish projects from the competition for the design of the Russian Pavilion at EXPO in Osaka 2025. We are reminding you that the results of the competition have not been announced, and hardly will ever be. The pavilion designed by ASADOV Architects combines a forest log cabin, the image of a hyper transition, and sculptures made of glowing threads – it focuses primarily on the scenography of the exhibition, which the pavilion builds sequentially like a string of impressions, dedicating it to the paradoxes of the Russian soul.
Part of the Ideal
In 2025, another World Expo will take place in Osaka, Japan, in which Russia will not participate. However, a competition for the Russian pavilion was indeed held, with six projects participating. The results were never announced as Russia’s participation was canceled; the competition has no winners. Nevertheless, Expo pavilion projects are typically designed for a bold and interesting architectural statement, so we’ve gathered all the six projects and will be publishing articles about them in random order. The first one is the project by Vladimir Plotkin and Reserve Union, which is distinguished by the clarity of its stereometric shape, the boldness of its structure, and the multiplicity of possible interpretations.
The Fortress by the River
ASADOV Architects have developed a concept for a new residential district in the center of Kemerovo. To combat the harsh climate and monotonous everyday life, the architects proposed a block type of development with dominant towers, good insolation, facades detailed at eye level, and event programming.
In the Rhombus Grid
Construction has begun on the building of the OMK (United Metallurgical Company) Corporate University in Nizhny Novgorod’s town of Vyksa, designed by Ostozhenka Architects. The most interesting aspect of the project is how the architects immersed it in the context: “extracting” a diagonal motif from the planning grid of Vyksa, they aligned the building, the square, and the park to match it. A truly masterful work with urban planning context on several different levels of perception has long since become the signature technique of Ostozhenka.
​Generational Connection
Another modern estate, designed by Roman Leonidov, is located in the Moscow region and brings together three generations of one family under one roof. To fit on a narrow plot without depriving anyone of personal space, the architects opted for a zigzag plan. The main volume in the house structure is accentuated by mezzanines with a reverse-sloped roof and ceilings featuring exposed beams.
Three Dimensions of the City
We began to delve into the project by Sergey Skuratov, the residential complex “Depo” in Minsk, located at Victory Square, and it fascinated us completely. The project has at least several dimensions to it: historical – at some point, the developer decided to discontinue further collaboration with Sergey Skuratov Architects, but the concept was approved, and its implementation continues, mostly in accordance with the proposed ideas. The spatial and urban planning dimension – the architects both argue with the city and play along with it, deciphering nuances, and finding axes. And, finally, the tactile dimension – the constructed buildings also have their own intriguing features. Thus, this article also has two parts: it dwells on what has been built and what was conceived
New “Flight”
Architects from “Mezonproject” have developed a project for the reconstruction of the regional youth center “Polyot”(“Flight”) in the city of Oryol. The summer youth center, built back in the late 1970s, will now become year-round and acquire many additional functions.
The Yauza Towers
In Moscow, there aren’t that many buildings or projects designed by Nikita Yavein and Studio 44. In this article, we present to you the concept of a large multifunctional complex on the Yauza River, located between two parks, featuring a promenade, a crossroads of two pedestrian streets, a highly developed public space, and an original architectural solution. This solution combines a sophisticated, asymmetric façade grid, reminiscent of a game of fifteen puzzle, and bold protrusions of the upper parts of the buildings, completely masking the technical floors and sculpting the complex’s silhouette.
Architecture and Leisure Park
For the suburban hotel complex, which envisages various formats of leisure, the architectural company T+T Architects proposed several types of accommodation, ranging from the classic “standard” in a common building to a “cave in the hill” and a “house in a tree”. An additional challenge consisted in integrating a few classic-style residences already existing on this territory into the “architectural forest park”.
The U-House
The Jois complex combines height with terraces, bringing the most expensive apartments from penthouses down to the bottom floors. The powerful iconic image of the U-shaped building is the result of the creative search for a new standard of living in high-rise buildings by the architects of “Genpro”.
Black and White
In this article, we specifically discuss the interiors of the ATOM Pavilion at VDNKh. Interior design is a crucial component of the overall concept in this case, and precision and meticulous execution were highly important for the architects. Julia Tryaskina, head of UNK interiors, shares some of the developments.
The “Snake” Mountain
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Opal from Anna Mons’ Ring
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Feed ’Em All
A “House of Russian Cuisine” was designed and built by KROST Group at VDNKh for the “Rossiya” exhibition in record-breaking time. The pavilion is masterfully constructed in terms of the standards of modern public catering industry multiplied by the bustling cultural program of the exhibition, and it interprets the stylistically diverse character of VDNKh just as successfully. At the same time, much of its interior design can be traced back to the prototypes of the 1960s – so much so that even scenes from iconic Soviet movies of those years persistently come to mind.
The Ensemble at the Mosque
OSA prepared a master plan for a district in the southern part of Derbent. The main task of the master plan is to initiate the formation of a modern comfortable environment in this city. The organization of residential areas is subordinated to the city’s spiritual center: depending on the location relative to the cathedral mosque, the houses are distinguished by façade and plastique solutions. The program also includes a “hospitality center”, administrative buildings, an educational cluster, and even an air bridge.
Pargolovo Protestantism
A Protestant church is being built in St. Petersburg by the project of SLOI architects. One of the main features of the building is a wooden roof with 25-meter spans, which, among other things, forms the interior of the prayer hall. Also, there are other interesting details – we are telling you more about them.
The Shape of the Inconceivable
The ATOM Pavilion at VDNKh brings to mind a famous maxim of all architects and critics: “You’ve come up with it? Now build it!” You rarely see such a selfless immersion in implementation of the project, and the formidable structural and engineering tasks set by UNK architects to themselves are presented here as an integral and important part of the architectural idea. The challenge matches the obliging status of the place – after all, it is an “exhibition of achievements”, and the pavilion is dedicated to the nuclear energy industry. Let’s take a closer look: from the outside, from the inside, and from the underside too.
​Rays of the Desert
A school for 1750 students is going to be built in Dubai, designed by IND Architects. The architects took into account the local specifics, and proposed a radial layout and spaces, in which the children will be comfortable throughout the day.
The Dairy Theme
The concept of an office of a cheese-making company, designed for the enclosed area of a dairy factory, at least partially refers to industrial architecture. Perhaps that is why this concept is very simple, which seems the appropriate thing to do here. The building is enlivened by literally a couple of “master strokes”: the turning of the corner accentuates the entrance, and the shade of glass responds to the theme of “milk rivers” from Russian fairy tales.
The Road to the Temple
Under a grant from the Small Towns Competition, the main street and temple area of the village of Nikolo-Berezovka near Neftekamsk has been improved. A consortium of APRELarchitects and Novaya Zemlya is turning the village into an open-air museum and integrating ruined buildings into public life.
​Towers Leaning Towards the Sun
The three towers of the residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8” are new and the tallest neighbors of the Danilovsky Manufactory, “Fort”, and “Plaza”, complementing a whole cluster of modern buildings designed by renowned masters. At the same time, the towers are unique for this setting – they are residential, they are the tallest ones here, and they are located on a challenging site. In this article, we explore how architects Andrey Romanov and Ekaterina Kuznetsova tackled this far-from-trivial task.
In the spirit of ROSTA posters
The new Rostselmash tractor factory, conceptualized by ASADOV Architects, is currently being completed in Rostov-on-Don. References to the Soviet architecture of the 1920’s and 1960’s resonate with the mission and strategic importance of the enterprise, and are also in line with the client’s wish: to pay homage to Rostov’s constructivism.
The Northern Thebaid
The central part of Ferapontovo village, adjacent to the famous monastery with frescoes by Dionisy, has been improved according to the project by APRELarchitects. Now the place offers basic services for tourists, as well as a place for the villagers’ leisure.
Brilliant Production
The architects from London-based MOST Architecture have designed the space for the high-tech production of Charge Cars, a high-performance production facility for high-speed electric cars that are assembled in the shell of legendary Ford Mustangs. The founders of both the company and the car assembly startup are Russians who were educated in their home country.
Three-Part Task: St. Petersburg’s Mytny Dvor
The so-called “Mytny Dvor” area lying just behind Moscow Railway Station – the market rows with a complex history – will be transformed into a premium residential complex by Studio 44. The project consists of three parts: the restoration of historical buildings, the reconstruction of the lost part of the historical contour, and new houses. All of them are harmonized with each other and with the city; axes and “beams of light” were found, cozy corners and scenic viewpoints were carefully thought out. We had a chat with the authors of the historical buildings’ restoration project, and we are telling you about all the different tasks that have been solved here.
The Color of the City, or Reflections on the Slope of an Urban Settlement
In 2022, Ostozhenka Architects won a competition, and in 2023, they developed and received all the necessary approvals for a master plan for the development of Chernigovskaya Street for the developer GloraX. The project takes into account a 10-year history of previous developments; it was done in collaboration with architects from Nizhny Novgorod, and it continues to evolve now. We carefully examined it, talked to everyone, and learned a lot of interesting things.
A Single-Industry Town
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A New Age Portico
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A New Starting Point
We’ve been wanting to examine the RuArts Foundation space, designed by ATRIUM for quite a long time, and we finally got round to it. This building looks appropriate and impressive; it amazingly combines tradition – represented in our case by galleries – and innovation. In this article, we delve into details and study the building’s historical background as well.
Molding Perspectives
Stepan Liphart introduces “schematic Art Deco” on the outskirts of Kazan – his houses are executed in green color, with a glassy “iced” finish on the facades. The main merits of the project lie in his meticulous arrangement of viewing angles – the architect is striving to create in a challenging environment the embryo of a city not only in terms of pedestrian accessibility but also in a sculptural sense. He works with silhouettes, proposing intriguing triangular terraces. The entire project is structured like a crystal, following two grids, orthogonal and diagonal. In this article, we are examining what worked, and what eventually didn’t.