Published on Archi.ru (https://archi.ru)

12.07.2021

In the Rhythm of Block Construction

Julia Tarabarina
Architect:
Katerina Gren
Studio:
Bureau of Architecture GREN.

Last week, the housing complex Ty i Ya (You and Me) was presented, built in the northwest of Moscow. By a number of parameters, it exceeds the originally stated comfort-class format, and, on the other hand, fully meeting the city block construction paradigm, popular in Moscow, demonstrates a few interesting features, such as a new kind of public spaces for the residents, and high-ceilinged apartments on the first floors.

We did a feature on “You and Me” housing complex a while ago. Recently, Mangazea Development, for whom this complex is the first large-scale project with a city block plan, presented this complex to real estate industry journalists. According to the commercial director of Mangazea, Dmitry Lipovy, the housing complex was finished 9 months ahead of schedule, and, had it not been for the pandemic, it could have been completed even earlier.

“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: Photograph provided by Mangazea Development


The complex is situated in Losinoostrovsky district, between the Yantarny Drive and Kominterna Street, in the stead of the former “Red Arrow” stadium, which the developer made up for by building a fitness center (managed by the company Pride Club), and an open-air stadium with tennis courts south of the residential blocks. 200 meters away from it is the Torfyanka Park, 100 meters away is the Babushkinsky Park. The Babushkinskaya metro station is an about 15-20 minutes’ walk away; a five minutes’ walk away is the in-construction “Losinoostrovskaya” station. The complex consists of 22 sections of different height, from 6 to 22 stories high, some of them being comfort class, and some comfort+, with higher ceilings and concierge rooms. According to Dmitry Lipovy, this housing complex presents a not-quite-typical example of comfort class housing because the developer placed their bets not on “fine fracturing” of the apartments (which would have surely sold well), but on the diversity of layouts: the complex includes, among others, four and five-room apartments. As a result, they sell really well, being more expensive than in similar housing complexes, and now there are only 38 apartments left unsold. Most of the residents are families with kids (sometimes many, there is even a family with nine children). Some of the apartments are sold already with decoration, which is demonstrated in a cool-looking showroom.

“You and Me” housing complex. Location plan
“You and Me” housing complex. Location plan
Copyright: GREN.


The concept of “You And Me” was developed by Ekaterina Gren studio, while the working stages of the project, as well as the work of the general designer, was done by Olimpproekt. The complex occupies a land site with an area a little under 6 hectares, a part of which is occupied by a stadium, and is surrounded by five-story houses, which are meant to be demolished (Lot No10 at the Moscow renovation website). Today, set against their background, the complex looks like a glimpse of the near future, like the first sign of the change in the city environment that is yet to come, even though the complex itself has nothing to do with the renovation program. 

It consists of three city blocks placed on top of a single-level underground parking, which occupies the entire construction blueprint underneath the houses, yards, and boulevards. The parking level looks like a terrain-hidden stylobate: the relief, whose natural height difference was about 2 or 3 meters from southeast to northwest, was flattened out underneath the complex, and the complex is elevated above the street, separated from the Yantarny Drive by a slope.

“You and Me” housing complex. The land site organization plan superimposed on the transport diagram of the territory Copyright:  GREN.
“You and Me” housing complex. The land site organization plan superimposed on the transport diagram of the territory
Copyright: GREN.
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 1st floor Copyright:  GREN.
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 1st floor
Copyright: GREN.
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 2nd floor Copyright:  GREN.
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 2nd floor
Copyright: GREN.
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 9th floor Copyright:  GREN
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 9th floor
Copyright: GREN
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 19th and 20th floors Copyright:  GREN
“You and Me” housing complex. Plan of the 19th and 20th floors
Copyright: GREN


The three blocks are surrounded by a circular drive and overland parking lots. In between them, there are two boulevards, open for pedestrian city people (but closed to cars, for the exception of emergency vehicles, of course). The yards are private, residents-only, surrounded from all sides by structures of various heights. The number of the floors increases up to 22 floors in the direction of the Yantarny Drive, getting lower towards Kominterna Street: thus, the north part gets a row of towers, and the south part gets a row of slabs. The spaces between the buildings are occupied by single-tier volumes; in addition, the boulevards are overlooked by both high towers and 6-story slabs: the height difference is easily read.

“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: Photograph: Archi.ru


The links between the buildings have wide arches in them, made for pedestrians and for the passage of emergency vehicles; they also unite the complex visually, creating an impression of transparency.

“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: Photograph: Archi.ru


According to the architect of Olimpproekt Aleksey Kocherygin, the main challenge for the engineering division was the different height of the sections and, hence, different pressure on the foundation, the necessity to divide the construction into stages, and a large length of the basis slab – running underneath the entire complex, it is about 300m long. These challenges were solved by implementing temporary deformation seams. In addition, this land site (like many others in Moscow, for that matter) has rather poor hydrology – this problem was solved by using the so-called “white bath” of concrete with a high class of water isolation.

Aleksey Kocherygin, the architect of Olimpproekt, Chief Architect of the Project
Aleksey Kocherygin, the architect of Olimpproekt, Chief Architect of the Project
Copyright: Photograph: Archi.ru


Another cool feature of this project is that the links also include public spaces for the residents. These places are meant to perform different functions (yoga, reading, etc), and look like arches, but are fenced off from the world outside by a tall stained glass window, while to the yard they offer some sort of grottos. And it was one of such spaces that the presentation of the complex took place in. According to Dmitry Lipovy, the public spaces account for up to 30% of the bottom floors. 

The rest of the space is given to commercial rental premises that are gradually filled in; the client takes special pride in the “Bukhanka” cafe. The first floors also include apartments with high (4.5m) ceilings and their own independent entrances from the yard. It is possible to make a loft inside these apartments, but this solution is left to the discretion of the buyers and residents.

The south corner is occupied by the volume of the fitness center, whose facades with vertical ribs, mainly white with inclusions of wood-imitating texture, unambiguously set this volume apart from the neighboring residential buildings.

“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: Photograph: Archi.ru


The yards were organized by the landscaping company Megabudka. Due to the fact that all the greenery grows on the roof of the underground parking garage, there are no big-size trees here, but shrubs and decorative grass are abundant. The architects made an accent on unconventional playgrounds and delicate separation of noisy and quiet zones with the help of a “winding tape” made of a kind of picket fence, a frequent lattice of wooden planks. The authors opted for natural materials, such as wood and metal; the highlights are gazebos covered with scaled metallic domes. Different yards have different functions and different centers of attraction, specifically, on one of the boulevards, there is a giant peevers game field.

“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: Photograph: Archi.ru


“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: “You and Me” housing complex


The facades of the houses are designed to alternate different design solutions, both height and pattern-wise. The dark buildings alternate with light ones, vertical accents with horizontal, and textured Klinker tiles give way to panels of aluminum composite of various shades. The frequent inclusions of panels with a pattern of wooden boards, just as other surfaces of other shades – dark gray and ivory – create an effect of multilayered facades. They also make the rhythm more complex, visually enlarge the window apertures, and create an ornamental play on the facades, supported by a lacy pattern of the casings for the air conditioning units (sometimes circles and sometimes “trees”), as well as by ornamental inserts that imitate the lattices of the technical recessions. In general, the decorative part of the complex is varied and implemented with remarkable accuracy, while the prevailing light tone, especially on a sunny day, creates a very positive impression.

“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: Photograph: Archi.ru


“You and Me” housing complex
“You and Me” housing complex
Copyright: “You and Me” housing complex


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