По-русски

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?

19 October 2023
Contest Results
mainImg
The project’s author, architect Stas Gorshunov, explains: the pedestrian bridge is an extension of the route from the city center to the water – to the Vezloma River, which flows into the Volga here.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


Bor is situated on the left bank of the Volga but is separated from it by flood meadows: passenger ships travel to Bor through the Vezloma channels, and a ferry was in operation for cars. The new pedestrian bridge leads to the pier, and the observation platform at its end faces Vezloma, overlooking the Bor floodplain. The route from the city to the pier is seasonal, and after the construction of a cable car and an alternative to the Bor bridge (of federal importance), reaching Nizhny Novgorod across the Volga is not a problem at all. However, the flood meadows are a traditionally beloved recreation spot for the residents of Bor. Seven years ago, this area was suddenly cut off from the city by a bypass road, which was justified by the needs of motorists, although not everyone found these justifications convincing.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley. Fragment of the presentation
Copyright: © GORA


The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


On the bypass road, a traffic light was installed at the zebra crossing, but then the idea of an overhead pedestrian bridge emerged. Initially, there was a proposal to create something similar to Nizhny Novgorod – a clumsy plastic pedestrian “pipeline”. However, during one of the discussions, the governor had doubts, which eventually led to the concept of a tailored project. If one considers only these facts and observes a bit more how pedestrians currently, without using the bridge, walk towards the traffic light, it is easy to assume that Gorshunov’s project is just a piece of pleasant art, and a pure simulacrum.

  • zooming
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA
  • zooming
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


Such assumptions quickly dissipate when one recalls how vehemently local communists criticized the very idea of a pedestrian bridge. In response to the criticism, a whole chain of arguments was built: the “Volga Valley” will be improved, increasing the city’s tourist attractiveness and eventually merging into a certain tourist cluster. Whether the cluster will materialize is unknown; in the coastal zone, re-enactors are already active, depicting scenes from Ancient Rome, and a wake-surf park operates on Yurasovskoye Lake in the summer. There were statements about building an oceanarium in Bor, which were met with mixed reactions and subsequently refined with the addition of “an oceanarium with a hotel and a rehabilitation center for children with cerebral palsy”. Another initiative is to open a yacht club with winter storage and a pier for boats on the banks of the Vezloma. So, currently, the pedestrian bridge is a symbol of change in the Bor Volga Valley.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


This symbol is indeed beautiful. The bridge itself is a new landmark for the city, modern and aesthetically flawless, following in the footsteps of the “Mossy Mountains”, the previous project that GORA Architects did in Bor.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


The bridge is referred to as an aluminum one; its structures are made of metal, while the finish consists of larch and glass. The glass fragments are crucial for the city, primarily known for its glass factory.

  • zooming
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley. The construction process
    Copyright: Photo © Stanislav Gorshunov / provided by GORA
  • zooming
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: Photo © Stanislav Gorshunov / provided by GORA


The use of wood in the design is not accidental. The initial version of the project envisioned the construction of a wooden bridge.

Local history inspired the architects as well: in the mid-1930s, the first industrial monorail road in the country was launched in Bor. The wooden viaduct traversed a terrain with significant elevation changes, transporting timber and peat to Bor. The road operated for six years until the forest area was completely exhausted.

zooming
Monorail of 1935 in Borsky Volga Valley
Copyright: Archival photo: submitted by AB GORA


The project’s explanatory note says that the locomotives on the monorail road were double-decker: the top part housed the cabin and motor from a tractor, while the lower part contained the running gear. Similarly, the wooden bridge could reproduce the monorail’s image, with a cafe as an addition on the lower platform under the observation deck.

The original project of the wooden bridge. The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: © GORA


However, it was not by chance that, in defense of his project during the final stage of the architectural competition “Golden Capital”, Gorshunov enriched his presentation with a slide with red figures reminiscent of Matisse’s “Dance” around the bridge.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: © GORA


I thought it was a hint at high art, and that Stas decided to make a bold statement. However, it turned out to be a visualization of the bustling atmosphere around the bridge project, as various interested parties emerged.

Discussions about durability, fire safety, and other security concerns had a radical impact on the project. They wanted something more than allusions to the history of logging, something about a bright future, especially since talks were already underway about “Nizhny Novgorod high-tech” – the first aluminum automobile bridge in Russia over the Linda River, not far from Bor. As a result, the wooden pedestrian bridge was redrawn into an aluminum one.

  • zooming
    The aluminum structures are particularly visible when viewed from below the observation deck cantilever. The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA
  • zooming
    The aluminum structure was moved by crane to be installed over the road. The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley. The construction process
    Copyright: Photo © Stanislav Gorshunov / provided by GORA


The use of wood in the bridge’s design extends vertically to the “Volgorechye” café – it is not suspended under the bridge but is situated at the beginning of the ascent to the bridge, next to the skate park. The entire area is landscaped according to a unified project, reaching to George the Victorious Square: pathways, small structures, and platforms. The promenade area will also extend in the other direction beyond the bridge, reaching to the cable car.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


The bridge received high praise not only from the “Golden Capital” judging panel in Novosibirsk but also from the residents of Nizhny Novgorod, who openly envy their satellite city. Of course, one should not expect that the lift for people with limited mobility is operational or that there is no litter or waste around. However, the quality of execution on the bridge and in its vicinity is exemplary.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


“In its vicinity” is a very important specification here. Locals refer to Bor as a large village, and to some extent they have a point – public life here is fragmented into private interests, and common goals are rarely united. Although occasionally they do unite – such as in building the Stalin Museum (currently in construction). As for the Mukhinskoe Lake – the main myth and foundation of the city – it has been improved almost to the point of complete loss of all living things. The metal structure – a fragment of the 1896 pavilion, part of which is preserved on the Nizhny Novgorod Spit – was also attached to the case, despite knowing the history of this iron thing. Yurasovskoye Lake (where they opened a beach and the wake-surf park) is now surrounded by roads, and this summer Rospotrebnadzor declared it unsuitable for swimming. The historical wooden building of the “Mossy Mountains” station was restored beyond recognition, and turned into a beer shop. In Volgorechye, opposite the new café – across the road – where the ruins of some small production still stand, a giant windowless and seemingly doorless structure has emerged. No one has a clue who even issued permission for building such a thing here. However, there are also questions about the improvement of Volgorechye: who will take responsibility for the withered saplings passed off as greenery?

As the significance of the bridge for the city of Bor is challenging to measure at the moment, and not everyone believes in signs, I suggest evaluating it as an art object. It has everything: precision of proportions and a divergence of lines. Warmth and aloofness. Traditional material and innovation. It is appropriate, comfortable, and, moreover, self-sufficient. Original-looking, yet at the same time devoid of unnecessary ornamentation. In addition to the ability to move up and down, along, and even across, it accentuates the feeling of suspension and hovering. And if this bridge symbolizes anything, then it is an attempt to discern the perspective: whether Nizhny Novgorod is across the river or other horizons. This thing has been installed in Volgorechye for mental reboot.

The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
Copyright: Photo © Alexander Ivasenko / provided by GORA


  • zooming
    1 / 4
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: © GORA
  • zooming
    2 / 4
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: © GORA
  • zooming
    3 / 4
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: © GORA
  • zooming
    4 / 4
    The pedestrian bridge in the Bor Volga Valley
    Copyright: © GORA


19 October 2023

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
The competition project for the seaside resort complex “Serpentine” combines several typologies: apartments of different classes, villas, and hotel rooms. For each of these typologies, the KPLN architects employ one of the images that are drawn from the natural environment – a serpentine road, a mountain stream, and rolling waves.
Opal from Anna Mons’ Ring
The project of a small business center located near Tupolev Plaza and Radio Street proclaims the necessity of modern architecture in a specific area of Moscow commonly known as “Nemetskaya Sloboda” or “German settlement”. It substantiates its thesis with the thoroughness of details, a multitude of proposed and rejected form variants, and even a detailed description of the surrounding area. The project is interesting indeed, and it is even more interesting to see what will come of it.
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.