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​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.

10 January 2024
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The Moskva River is a broad and lengthy artery, and the initial buildings standing along its banks also tended to have an elongated shape, from factories to the Central House of Artists, the Kremlin, the skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya, and the Moscow City being the few exceptions that slightly challenged the trend of elongated riverside structures. However, after the big 2014 competition, a more systematic approach to developing the riverbanks emerged – the height restrictions were elevated, new towers appeared, and it is likely that in the future the towers will become even more numerous here.

The history of the former Danilovsky Manufactory territory and the areas around it is an example of the development of this trend; buildings are acquiring greater height and vertical proportions. Initially, there was “Danilovsky Fort” business center, followed by the reconstruction of the manufactory itself into a cluster of creative industry companies, with restaurants and design bureaus. Then, between them, yet another office building, “Danilov Plaza” emerged, 12 floors high. Still a bit later, on the other side of the “Fort”, another office building, the 18-story DM Tower, appeared (a detailed overview of the area can be found here). Thus, we see that the fragment of Novodanilovskaya Embankment, the one opposite ZIL automotive plant, now ZILArt, is rapidly developing, shifting from a horizontal direction to a vertical one. A veritable “host” of new buildings has grown here, filling the entire area quite densely.

Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects


The residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8” is the first large residential complex in this area, standing amidst office centers. At the same time, it is the tallest, consisting of three towers with a height of 100 meters placed on a podium. It is separated from the riverside boulevard by “Danilovsky Fort”, and to the west, it faces a slope approximately 17 meters high from the houses along the Varshavskoe Highway; essentially, the site is squeezed between the slope and the office complex. The towers peek out from behind the “fort”, marking, after 15 years, a new scale of development in this area; in a way, they resemble the antennae of a giant colorful snail from some retro seventies cartoon. The “Fort” and the residential complex are entirely different, but similarities still can be found. For example, in both cases, the facades facing the river have a bent shape, albeit in different ways – perhaps because many years ago, Andrey Romanov and Ekaterina Kuznetsova worked on “Danilovsky Fort” building when the two architects were still a part of Sergey Skuratov’s team?

Additionally, according to the concept of Moscow’s chief architect Sergey Kuznetsov, the residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8” and “Danilovsky Fort” are now connected by a pedestrian link. From the side of the Danilovsky Manufactory, one can enter via a staircase to the public square on the roof of the northern part of the podium, then bypass the towers on the left, descend the stepped ramp, and exit onto the embankment through the fort’s arch.

On the right side, there are shop windows located in the outer contour of the podium, the remaining part of which is designated for parking. When the rental spaces are occupied, the passage is expected to transform into a full-fledged pedestrian city street, an extension of the Manufactory’s public life.

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    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects


On the right corner before the entrance to the square, there is an art object – a barrel inherited from the industrial production that was once located here before the construction of both the fort and the residential complex. Its preservation as a “memory of the place” was the subject of a separate agreement when the territory was purchased by SAMOLET Group.

The outline of the plot, mirrored by the podium, is not just elongated but also jagged, zigzag-shaped. The three towers are positioned roughly at its geometric center and are almost symmetrical. It could even be said that the plan is laid out like a “manor”, as was customary in Moscow estates: a tower with a longitudinal plan in place of the “palace” and transverse wings in place of the outbuildings. The similarity at the plan level is complemented by the smooth recessions on the lower floors of the central tower, giving the plan the shape of an hourglass.

The masterplan. The apartment complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
Copyright: © ADM


There are three courtyards: the aforementioned public square, with spaces for shops and cafes on the ground floor of the tower facing it; the central courtyard between the buildings – a kind of courtyard for the relaxation of the residents.

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    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects


And, finally, the southern courtyard, situated in a narrow trapezoidal “appendix” is designed for children and houses various playgrounds. It is sheltered by the slope, the business center, and partly by the southern tower, but it extends meridian-wise and shifts to the west, so there is plenty of sunlight in it.

A thoroughfare between the courtyards is created through two mirror-symmetrical pylons at the ends of the side towers. One can enter from the north, from the public square on the roof of the podium, into the central courtyard through one pylon, then cross it diagonally to the right and, through another identical pylon, reach the distant “children’s” courtyard. The movement gains a distinctive feature, and the courtyard space becomes diverse and multi-compositional.

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    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects


In the architecture of the towers, ADM architects employ a favorite technique: the plasticity is achieved through the gradual but consistent shifting of floors. One of the early examples of its use by the authors was the Discovery Residential Complex in 2015. Now, Romanov and Kuznetsova continue to develop the theme, but this time in glass, as seen in High Life on Letnikovskaya or the Famous Tower in the second phase of the Fili Towers Residential Complex. On “Novodanilovskaya 8”, the floor grid is marked by a light-colored of piers and structural floors of equal width. This allows the smooth expansion, growth, and overhangs to be clearly seen, even accentuated, especially when viewed in profile. This is how a tree grows, leaning towards the sun.

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    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects


The technique employed helps to make the towers, fundamentally simple and honest, look slightly more sculptural.

For high-rise buildings – and this is the typology within which we are now working a lot, as it is popular in modern Moscow – silhouette is very important. In essence, the architect’s task is to work with volume, to “mold” the form, taking into account angles and views, first of all from afar, but also from near points. That is why we like the technique of cell displacement very much; it is quite accessible from the point of view of construction and at the same time allows us to form accents and revitalize the plastic.


The paradoxical effect of this upward expansion challenges our habitual perception of towers traditionally narrowing into a pyramid or spire. Here, they unfold, akin to a tree or a flower; there’s a defiance of gravity as the buildings grow in a way that seems contrary to natural expectations.

The smooth expansion is complemented by texture: the walls are clad in glazed tiles, with white as the main color and additional shades of green and reddish, evoking a Modernist feel. The white background serves to distinguish the towers from the prevailing terracotta-red tone in the area, including the facades of the Danilovsky Manufactory and DM Towers. Meanwhile, the reddish and green accents respond to the surroundings. The architects share that they carefully selected and rejected options for shades, going through five or seven iterations.

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    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects


Another detail is the black openwork boxes for air conditioners. Curved and straight shapes alternate in a checkerboard pattern, adding relief and rhythm. The simple pattern of perforated metal rhymes with the inclusions of colored tiles.

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    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects
  • zooming
    Residential complex “Novodanilovskaya 8”
    Copyright: Photograph © Dmitry Chebanenko / provided by ADM architects


Undoubtedly, the three towers on the podium mark a new stage in the development of Moscow’s urban space. Over the years, they have practically become a symbol of our time, or at least one of the popular formats for new Moscow housing. They are grand and often emerge in confined conditions, in tight surroundings – very modern, recent, and designed by renowned architects. It was not easy to fit these towers into such an environment. Nevertheless, they have found their place: tall, grid-like, symmetrical, gently leaning toward the river – a new urban growth.

10 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
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.