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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.

19 February 2024
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Currently, VDNKh is hosting the “Rossiya” exhibition and forum. This exhibition opened in early November, will end in April, and it is just enormous. Several new large pavilions appeared on the territory of VDNKh, some of them being probably temporary; in addition, the exhibition also occupied a few of the existing pavilions, and a grand scale permanent facility, the ATOM pavilion, was built specifically for the purpose. The exhibition demonstrates the achievements of the national economy loudly and brightly, sometimes even in a fair-like fashion – which is very much in the spirit of VDNKh of the past years – but with an emphasis on new technologies and media. Everything is shining, sparkling and shimmering. There are a lot of visitors on the grounds – they come in groups and individually.

And you need to feed them all.

Commissioned by the Moscow government, KROST Group built a pavilion – a food court – for the opening of the exhibition. It is called “House of Russian Cuisine”, is located in the middle of the central avenue, and is designed to serve almost 800 visitors at a time (482 + 316 on the terrace). The pavilion was built and designed in record-breaking time – within 5 months from June to October, with all the stuffing, decor, and occupancy. Well, and one more figure – the authors of the project produced 300 sheets of working documentation within one month.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: the building,
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    House of Russian Cuisine: building / project
    Copyright: © A-Project.K


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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: © A-Project.K
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    Copyright: © DBA-GROUP


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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
    Copyright: © DBA-GROUP
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    Plan of the 2 floor. House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
    Copyright: © DBA-GROUP


Perhaps, only KROST Group is capable of such a feat, having previously shown records of high-speed design and construction in Zaryadye Park, and also having realized Sergey Kuznetsov’s pipe house in Nikola-Lenivets with its complicated cantilever – quickly, in full, and meeting all the deadlines.

“Thanks to the development of the industrial and construction complex of Russia, today we have a unique opportunity to continue the traditions of the great architects of the USSR, complementing the architectural ensemble of such iconic places of our country as VDNKh – says Alexey Dobashin, General Director of KROST Group – it is a great professional honor to work on such projects. Our whole big team – builders who worked day and night at the construction site, factory workers who produced industrial products, and, of course, architects and designers – are eternally grateful for the trust placed in us”.

The “House of Russian Cuisine” was in fact designed by two architectural companies: A-Project.K, a subsidiary of KROST, was responsible for the building itself, while the interior was designed by DBA-GROUP architects led by Vladislav Andreev, who are confident professionals in the field of public interiors, including cafes and restaurants. In particular, this company worked for the chain “Chaikhana №1” owned by Vasilchuk Brothers, whose company Restart Vasilchuk Brothers was engaged in functional filling of the new food court on the central avenue.

DBA-GROUP also worked on the interior of the first “restomarket” at VDNKh, in the building designed by Arseniy Leonovich. “House of Russian Cuisine” is the next step on the way to the development of the gastronomic part of the exhibition. It is somewhat larger, two-tiered, and now it purposefully collects local cuisines from different parts of Russia, be it Tatarstan, Yakutia or, let’s say, Tula.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


In some ways, it reminds us of the WORLD EXPO exhibitions – on a much smaller scale, of course, but nevertheless, national cuisines are often offered there too. In addition to the collection of local cuisines on the first floor, a stage is set up in the center, where presentations of different cultures and places are going on almost non-stop, usually to the accompaniment of national music, which feels pretty noisy, but at the same time quite interesting and fun.

One would expect that the design of such a gastronomic event, combining a meal with a cultural and educational program, would be like Topuridze/Konstantinovsky’s “Friendship of Peoples” fountain – with symbols of Russian cities or regions. But no – contrary to our expectations, the architects were asked to pay tribute to the modernist side of VDNKh. And the architects set themselves a goal of getting into the historical context of the neighboring buildings, all of which are cultural heritage sites.

We saw our task as twofold: first, we had to create a versatile space that would work regardless of the change of occupancy after the exhibition is over – or simply work as needed. Second, we wanted the interior not to be similar to other food courts, whose imagery and typology is very predictable. We wanted the pavilion to make a different impression, to be different, to feel that it belonged to VDNKh as a unique place in many respects. And finally, we did not want to compete with the masters of the old VDNKh pavilions. We tried to respond, but by no means “outshout” them – first of all, of course, the Uzbekistan pavilion located nearby.


Ultimately, including the results of all the changes that took place in the course of implementation for objective and subjective reasons, the result turned out to be quite interesting. The pavilion responds to the eclecticism of VDNKh as a whole, with ornaments and arches outside, cheerful grapes on the pylons that flank the avenue, and just as cheerful mosaics in the plafonds inside.

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    House of Russian Cuisine at VDNKh: the building
    Copyright: Photograph: provided by A-Project.K
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    House of Russian Cuisine: fragment of the plafond in the central part
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


However, the deeper we delve into the interior, the more we feel the fulfillment of the very “order for modernism”, the imagery of Soviet cafes of the 1960s – exactly the way we know them from cult Soviet films of that era. One thing is strung on top of another, and they coexist in a friendly way.

Here I would like to start from the farthest corners of the second tier, where round tables for large companies are nestled, each surrounded by a rather impressive “winter garden” of mature tropical plants in tubs.

House of Russian Cuisine: interior the corner part
Copyright: Photograph: provided by A-Project.K


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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


In the same style of the sixties, chairs designed by DBA-GROUP, rectangular columns with stepped and wavy textures (which prevail in the periphery of the space), and especially – the ceiling of the second tier, made of characteristic rectangular “tubs” with lamps in the center – very similar ones can be seen, for example, in the TASS building on Nikitsky Boulevard.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
    Copyright: © DBA-GROUP
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


The top level is green and a bit quieter than the bottom level – you can stroll around looking down from the balcony, and the live plants and terrazzos used for the floors, tables and plant tubs somehow make the whole place look very fresh. Add to that the fact that from the second tier you can go out onto the terrace in the summer – it’s definitely nice there. And the effect of stylization of the sixties is quite tangible, as if we were in a feature film of those years – already a color one, but not yet very bright.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
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The idea is further picked up by another form – a rectangle with rounded corners, a kind of “TV set”, or, rather, a radio receiver: they are here in the form of relief on all the parapets and on the doors of the bathrooms – the latter, as it has been long and firmly accepted in HoReCa interiors, are drawn carefully and implemented quite diligently: white vertical tiles, rows of gray sinks, also reminiscent of terrazzos, and wooden doors with rhythmic rounded openings.

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    House of Russian Cuisine at VDNKh
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    House of Russian Cuisine at VDNKh
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
    Copyright: © DBA-GROUP
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
    Copyright: © DBA-GROUP


However, the interior designers emphasize that the abstract frieze above the counters on the first floor was conceived as the main unifying form: all of them are designed in the same key, and encircled by a bright ribbon of composition almost cubistic, quite in the spirit of the 1960s and 1970s. The basic form is echoed by the mosaics: the mosaics in the entrance group and on the wall of the second floor, designed in the same spirit; the theme is picked up by the neighboring reliefs and even the interior stained glass windows.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


The same group of statements includes exposed two-marched staircases with wooden handrails and rhythmic spots of “space age” round lamps, as if marking the volumes with some kind of code. They work well in this space, balancing between the symmetry of the arrangement and the energy of turning the volumes, folded almost like origami from the frames of white walls.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior, staircase
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
Copyright: © DBA-GROUP


The central part is a different matter. It turns out to be suddenly very stylized. The first thing that meets the eye is two lotus-shaped columns – almost like in Luxor – the architects say they “borrowed” them in the interior of some of the Soviet health centers, but made thinner and slimmer, and then in the process of realization the upper bundle came together even tighter at the top.

Thus, the double-height high central part received a “two-column” space that also serves as the auditorium in front of the stage; at first, however, it seems that this space was invented specifically to accommodate the two columns. By the way, if one does not know about Luxor, one can see some giant ears of wheat in the columns – a generalized sign of fertility, reminiscent of the USSR coat of arms, quite in the spirit of this place.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph: provided by A-Project.K
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
    Copyright: © DBA-GROUP


What does it tell us? For one, it tells us that the architecture of Soviet-era health houses, just like the architecture of VDNKh, was quite labile and often deviated from the purity of forms in favor of a certain entertainment element, which is quite appropriate in a health house and restaurant. It also tells us that we are dealing with copying of the second order: the columns are borrowed from an already mastered context, and not directly from Egyptian architecture.

On the other hand, for the authors of the interior design, the main thing here was not the resemblance to Luxor – it seems like they let it pass them by and dismissed it as unimportant – but an attempt to make the columns slender and, as a consequence, consonant with the slender columns of the pergola of the neighboring Uzbekistan pavilion. If we look at the map, we can see that the two columns of the “House of Russian Cuisine” and the front pillars of Uzbekistan are lined up on the same axis. We cannot say that this is obvious when you are inside on the first floor, but being on the second floor, we can see the axis at least looking through the window or down into the atrium from the correct angle.

Pergola of the Uzbekistan pavilion
Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


We admit that this construct of ours is not without speculation. However, there is another thing that is more noticeable: the two “lotus-shaped” columns in the food court pavilion look as unexpectedly surprising as the pergola in front of the Uzbekistan pavilion. However, in both cases these are gestures that are not devoid of theatricality and are quite appropriate for the territory of VDNKh. Come to think of it, VDNKh was conceived as a “wow” place, a place designed to surprise as an intrinsic value; a place meant to mesmerize you. This place implies, and maybe even requires, a certain unmotivated gesture.

As a consequence, once stated, the architectural narratives may develop according to different laws in this place. For example, the plafonds of the central part were originally conceived by the architects to look more like Deineka’s Mayakovskaya metro station, only with scenes from Moscow architecture, but in the end they became academic paintings depicting flowers and birds, very bright and quite in the spirit of VDNKh. The architects themselves are critical of such changes, but I, on the contrary, like it: the elements have fallen into a kind of “sculptural resonance”, the core has become more consistent, and it now more clearly opposes both the “modernist” periphery of the upper floor and the confidently modern contour of the first floor with its bright ribbon. The difference in impressions becomes more tangible – these two spaces are very different and at the same time related.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru
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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior
    Copyright: Photograph © Julia Tarabarina, Archi.ru


The exterior of the building, symmetrical with ornaments made of cut metal and golden decoration is in tune with our time and at the same time is in tune with the eclectic character of VDNKh. It turns out that today’s interpretation of the modernist interior is taken in the contour of arched windows and at the same time encircles the two lotus-shaped columns with mosaic plafonds reminiscent of Moscow’s subway. The pavilion seems to have absorbed , like a sponge, not only the fairground character of the exhibition, but also the layered alternation of its history, which in this task and under these circumstances must be recognized as more than appropriate.

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    House of Russian Cuisine: interior / project
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19 February 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.