Gold Embroidery

A five-story housing complex designed by Stepan Liphart in Kazan, responds to the stylistically diverse context with its form, both integral and agile, and as for the vicinity of the “Ekiyat” movie theater, the complex responds to it with a semblance of theater curtain folds, and active plastique of its balconies, that bear some resemblance to theater boxes. Even if excessively pompous a little bit, the complex does look fresh and modern. One will have a hard time finding Art Deco elements in it, even though the spirit of the 1930s, run through the filter of neo-modernism, is still clearly felt, just as a twist of the Occident.

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:
Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

17 October 2023
The house was designed for a plot situated in the historic Sukonnaya Sloboda district, which is located on the periphery of the central part of the city: one side of it approaches the Nizhny Kaban Lake, the other side – Universiade Avenue leading to the airport. These parts have quite a rich history: the cloth factory was founded by Peter the Great himself for the needs of the army, then later Emelyan Pugachev hid from the authorities here, Alexander Pushkin came here to collect factual material for his writing, Fyodor Chaliapin went to primary school here, and Alexey Peshkov (more known as Maxim Gorky) lived here for some time.

However, there is little left that reminds of the cozy spirit of wooden dacha houses here with their narrow streets and lush vegetation: thorough preparations for the 1000th anniversary of Kazan and the program of liquidation of dilapidated housing erased all the features of Sukonnaya Sloboda’s individuality. The vacated territories were occupied by a motley assemblage: a modern IT-cluster, a crude-imitation St. Petersburg Street, a palace-like puppet theater “Ekiyat”, a residential complex Barcelona designed by Jose Acebillo and other outlandish combinations.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Panoramic view from the west
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

The site where Stepan Liphart worked overlooks Tikhomirov Street. Now it is a four-lane highway, as it continues the Universiade Avenue, but ten years ago it was a dirt road. The neighborhood is filled with a variety of buildings: the Suleiman Palace hotel, a hangar-type shopping mall, the 18th century Osokin house, and a house built in Khrushchev times. However, the architects took the building from the neighboring Volkova Street – a red-brick lyceum of the early XX century, which was originally the city’s elementary school for girls – as a “point of reference”, a kind of tuning fork for adjusting the proportions.

Opposite, across Tikhomirov Street, the upland part begins, built up with high-end housing. Actually on the site the relief difference is small – towards Peterburgskaya Street there is a decrease of about one meter. The height limit is 20 meters.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Panoramic view from the east
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Development drawing
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

Yard, Tree, Street Light

Taking advantage of the size and orientation of the plot, the architects positioned the houses in such a way as to follow the red lines of Tikhomirov Street and complete the contour of the block: two “brackets” hold the corners, leaving space in the center for a third, approaching the street transversely from the end. In this way, a similar scale with the surroundings is achieved and two courtyards are formed. The first, on the side of Volkova Street, remains at the natural level of the urban surface; in it the author preserves a few existing trees. The second courtyard, the southern one, is elevated on a stylobate; from the street side, it is accessed by a wide staircase with cascading landscaping and a ramp, both under a lattice glass canopy resembling the wing of a dragonfly. A glass dome of a skylight is designed to illuminate the space inside the stylobate.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Panoramic view from the southwest
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. View towards the east courtyard from the stairs and ramp
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Master plan
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

Inside under the dome, according to the original version of the project, there was to be a food court and retail – a covered public square surrounded by stores. In the end, the food court was replaced by a parking lot, which, of course, is a pity. Meanwhile, the rental spaces for cafes and stores in the project occupy, along with the entrance lobbies, all the first floors. Three wide perspective sockets of the entrances, attracting attention and inviting to enter inside, increase the sidewalk by micro-areas – and fold into an elegant line, reminiscent simultaneously of the Ghibelline teeth of the Kazan Kremlin and arabesque-floral ornament of cranes with smooth rounded entrances and slightly pointed petals. The cylindrical volume of one of the three entrances is also woven into the pattern. All of this is a curious feature, as it is not often that one sees beautiful plan graphics in modern residential architecture, which will certainly be reflected in the plastique of the facades at the pedestrian level.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Plan of the 1 floor
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

But then again, both of the things that I mentioned, even if they were intended in the plan, were integrated in a very unobtrusive manner, not to say encoded. There are no direct analogies here. What is more important is the fact that this fold-like feature of the first floor becomes one of the main techniques for designing the facades on the whole, due to which they turn into a semblance of a theater curtain, stretched in the middle and folded on the sides. Isn’t it because there is a theater nearby? And the golden edges of the bottom are so reminiscent of a fringe.... Even the balconies on the side facades and on the sides of the stairs to the courtyard, with their alternating plastique, sometimes triangular, and sometimes rounded, look like theater boxes.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. General view from Tikhomirova Street, northeast side
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

But then again, like I already said, these analogies are very tacitly manifested, but the resulting shape of the building is characterized by obvious diversity and reserved flexibility, as well as sturdy inner logic.

Кара һәм ак (Black and White)

We will remind you that there are three buildings in total, and from the street side they are separated by a contrasting color. Initially, it was planned that the southern two would be black and the northern one white, then black was replaced by a contextual shade of dark chocolate, preserving the texture of the continuous, corduroy-like (curtain again!) thin relief ribs, echoed by the “ciliated” cornice above the glass ribbon of the upper floor.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. View of the western building from the northeastern side, from Tikhomirova Street
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

Dark brown, indeed, “falls” into the color of the neighboring buildings, although in the whole volume looks somewhat nobler.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. View of the project site from the south-eastern side from the intersection of Tikhomirova and Tufan Minullin Streets
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

The courtyard facades are both similar and dissimilar to the street facades. They are entirely of light golden wood color, although the striped texture is preserved, as well as the format of lattice balconies of different shapes. But there are much more balconies, hollows and protrusions, and some of the facades are folded into an “bellows” pattern of triangular bay windows. One can imagine that if this is the “underside” of the curtain, it has gathered in folds much tighter. Or is it not the underside at all, but an auditorium with a view of the city?

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. View of the east courtyard on the stylobate
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

The very shade of moderately light wood seems to be justified both by the internal character of the courtyard as such, and by the memory of the wooden Kazan that once existed here. The theme is further supported by the preserved trees and the wooden lattice of the dome. It is fresh and unexpected. However, wood is becoming more and more popular in the city and is beginning to be associated with elite housing: for example, the facades of the most expensive house at the moment are finished with larch. Nevertheless, it is worth emphasizing that the architects see the courtyard facade in metal: it is supposed to use painted aluminum or aluminum composite with the texture of artificial craquelure.

Waves and Ledges

The houses are low-rise, 4 residential floors, one, the first, public – this is one of the advantages of the height restriction; their scale is very comfortable and moderate. On a relatively small scale, the active plastique is well read: the houses are “molded”, their sculpture is varied, and the corners are sometimes rounded and sometimes sharp.

Since the author of the project, Stepan Liphart, is known for his adherence to the interpretation of Art Deco of varying degrees of classicism, the very authorship provokes a search for analogies from the thirties of the last century, and something indeed can be found: for example, the gravitation of wide windows towards the horizontal, or the three-part structure of the volume with a recessed plinth and attic, but a bold cornice.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Architectural and artistic illumination
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

Other typically “Stepan Liphart-esque” features that you can see here are the architect’s commitment to bay windows, “folded” facades, and the aforementioned meaningfulness of the plan’s graphics – if in the first floor you can see the fluidity of arabesques, in the residential floors on the courtyard side, round and triangular balconies alternate very rhythmically.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Plan of the 2 floor
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

Still another thing that comes from the 1930s are the relief Art Deco stone patterns of the first floor, whose texture at first glance resembles acoustic panels, but upon closer examination turns out to be a deconstruction of cannelure, where sharp grooves and triangular contours neighbor with arcs. The golden color of the natural stone seems to date back to the pastel-golden backgrounds of Gustav Klimt.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. View of the fragment of the eastern facade and the entrance to the underground parking lot
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

However, this “corrugation” of the bay window “piano keys” can remind one, for example, of the brutalist Taganka Theater in Moscow.

The housing complex on Kalinina Street. View from Tikhomirov Street of the fragment of the northern facade, stairs and ramp to the eastern courtyard
Copyright: © Liphart Architects

Another interesting thing is that it is almost impossible to find any direct quotations here or even immersion in a certain style that is popular in modern high-end residential developments, which Stepan Ligpart sometimes so willingly and skillfully immerses himself in. The house feels very modern thanks to a high degree of generalization, as well as energetic work with form and color. The complexity of the form is exactly at the level of modern searches on this “medium” scale.

The solid vertical-striped surface is smoothed out as if it had been smoothed out by human hands; it is assembled by verticals, then by ruffles, then by undulations – then suddenly a breakdown, an asymmetrical protrusion, appears in this predictable rhythm. This is a new interpretation of the theme of the “working town” with elements of non-linearity – or at least the architect’s unpredictability – which, however, has gone far in the direction of expensive textures and shades, as well as layouts: rooms with several windows, a view on two sides, and a dining area in the bay window. From the balconies and terraces of the upper floors will be visible Lake Kaban and the central part of the city. Entrances to the building are pass-through; all staircases are lit by natural light.

In short, if there is an echo of the search for the aesthetics of the thirties here, it is very indirect, actualized. One can also sense a response to the “Bulgar” context: in the golden “braid” of the slopes, in the “ingots” of the first floor, in the “swarthiness” of the cladding, and in the terraces that are ready to receive the generous sunlight.

  • zooming
    1 / 7
    The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Plan of the 3 floor
    Copyright: © Liphart Architects
  • zooming
    2 / 7
    The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Plan of the 4 floor
    Copyright: © Liphart Architects
  • zooming
    3 / 7
    The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Plan of the 5 floor
    Copyright: © Liphart Architects
  • zooming
    4 / 7
    The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Plan of the -1 floor
    Copyright: © Liphart Architects
  • zooming
    5 / 7
    The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Section view
    Copyright: © Liphart Architects
  • zooming
    6 / 7
    The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Facades
    Copyright: © Liphart Architects
  • zooming
    7 / 7
    The housing complex on Kalinina Street. Facades
    Copyright: © Liphart Architects

17 October 2023

Alyona Kuznetsova

Written by:

Alyona Kuznetsova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
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
Kola MMC and Nornickel are building a residential neighborhood in Monchegorsk for their future employees. It is based on a project by an international team that won the 2021 competition. The project offers a number of solutions meant to combat the main “demons” of any northern city: wind, grayness and boredom.
A New Age Portico
At the beginning of the year, Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport opened Terminal C. The large-scale and transparent entrance hall with luminous columns inside successfully combines laconism with a bright and photogenic WOW-effect. The terminal is both the new façade of the whole complex and the starting point of the planned reconstruction, upon completion of which Tolmachevo will become the largest regional airport in Russia. In this article, we are examining the building in the context of modernist prototypes of both Novosibirsk and Leningrad: like puzzle pieces, they come together to form their individual history, not devoid of curious nuances and details.
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.
An Educational Experiment for the North
City-Arch continues to work on the projects that can be termed as “experimental public preschools”: private kindergartens and schools can envy such facilities in many respects. This time around, the project is done for the city of Gubkinsky, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. A diverse educational and play environment, including a winter garden, awaits future students, while the teachers will have abundant opportunities to implement new practices.
Alexandra Kuzmina: “Working is easy when the rules are the same for everyone”
The subject matter of Moscow Region’s booth and presentations at Zodchestvo Festival was the concept of “Integrated Land Development”, and for a good reason: this task is very challenging, very relevant, and Moscow Region has already accumulated quite a formidable experience in this regard. In this article, we are speaking to the main architect of the region: about master plans and who makes them, about where you obtain resources for creating a comfortable environment, about her favorite projects, about why there are so few good architects, and what we should do with the bad ones.
The Cemetery: Inside and Outside
The workshop organized by the Genplan Institute of Moscow scored one of the two first places at the “Open City” festival. Its subject is reorganization of municipal cemeteries. Two action plans were proposed, diametrically opposite: one for the downtown and one for the suburbs.
Our Everything
Who is Alexey Shchusev? In the last couple of weeks, since the architect’s 150th birthday, different individuals have answered this question differently. The most detailed, illustrated, and elegantly presented response is an exhibition held in two buildings of the Museum of Architecture on Vozdvizhenka. Four curators, a year and a half of work performed by the entire museum, and exhibition design by Sergey Tchoban and Alexandra Sheiner – in this article, we take you on a tour of the exhibition and show what’s what in it.
For Mental Reboot
At the architectural competition held in 2023 in Novosibirsk, the project by GORA Architects – a pedestrian bridge leading to the town of Bor – was awarded the “Golden Capital” prize. In this country, more than a hundred pedestrian bridges are constructed each year. What makes the Bor bridge different?
Gold Embroidery
A five-story housing complex designed by Stepan Liphart in Kazan, responds to the stylistically diverse context with its form, both integral and agile, and as for the vicinity of the “Ekiyat” movie theater, the complex responds to it with a semblance of theater curtain folds, and active plastique of its balconies, that bear some resemblance to theater boxes. Even if excessively pompous a little bit, the complex does look fresh and modern. One will have a hard time finding Art Deco elements in it, even though the spirit of the 1930s, run through the filter of neo-modernism, is still clearly felt, just as a twist of the Occident.
The restoration of the Salt Warehouse for the Zvenigorod Museum, on the one hand, was quite accurately implemented according to the design of the People’s Architect, and, on the other hand, it was not without some extra research and adjustments, which, in this case, was quite beneficial for the project. The architects discovered the original paint color, details of the facades, and studied the history of rebuilds of this building. As a result, the imposing character of the empire building, the oldest one in the city, and the differences of later additions were accurately revealed. Most importantly, however, the city got a new cultural and public space, which is already “working” in full swing.
From Moscow to Khabarovsk
This year, the works submitted by the students of the Genplan Institute of Moscow included a proposal for revitalizing Moscow’s “Pravda” complex with its structures designed by Ilia Golosov, landscaping an East Siberian town, located a 12-hour drive away from the nearest big city, and three versions of turning a derelict “pioneer camp” into an educational hub, similar to “Sirius”. Two sites out of three have an interested client, so chances are that the students’ works will be ultimately implemented.
Harmonization of Intentions
We met and talked with the chief architect of Genplan Institute of Moscow Grigory Mustafin and the chief architect of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Maxim Efanov – about how the master plan of the city is formed. The key to success: gathering data, digital simulation, working with the city people, thinking infrastructure, and presentation.
​Cité for Naro-Fominsk
The new neighborhood on an island in the center of Naro-Fominsk continues the ideas of developing the territory of the silk-weaving factory, around which the city actually formed. The authors skillfully mix different formats of mid-rise development and make the most of the island location, offering a variety of formats of interaction with water, available to all citizens. No wonder that the project is considered exemplary and worthy of duplication in the region. It is also an example of rare synergy between the client and the architects.
A Tower and a Manor House
The concept of a high-density residential district replacing a set of outdated privately owned houses in Yekaterinburg preserves the street grid and, in some cases, even the scale of construction. OSA Architects combine towers with townhouses and other types of housing, orienting the silhouette composition towards a pedestrian boulevard. Through non-linear routes and spatial diversity, the residents will see their neighborhood in a new way every day.
​The Warm Stone
The housing complex in Zelenogorsk is interpreted by Mayak architects as a scatter of stones. The unconventional outline of houses with a pentagon plan not only helped to form the image part of the project, but also facilitated the architects’ work with the density of construction and insolation of the apartments.
For All Times
The modular technology combined with the building material of glued wood allows the architectural company Rhizome to create quick-mount hotels (no less!) that are highly rated by the architectural community: last week, the new hotel “Vremena Goda. Igora” scored three awards. Below, we are examining the project in detail.