Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Block No.5 Residential Area in Moscow, Russia by TOTEMENT | PAPER
June 8th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: TOTEMENT | PAPER
The architectural concept has been worked out to be presented at the second round of the competition on building of “Science & Technology Park “-“Innovation Center” residential areas (it is located outside the Moscow Ring Highway; in 2010 its architectural concept was won by “AREP” company) declared by Skolkovo Foundation together with Strelka Institute. At the present moment the design of “Science & Technology Park” is being worked out by five teams which include both Russian and foreign designers.
Block No.5 occupies a special area within the residential space of «Science & Technology Park». Actually, it is the gate to the district and the main design point facing the Skolkovskoye Highway side.
Our basic concept has failed to meet the two requirements: insufficient length of buildings located in the circule and formation of the two identical through yards-tunnels. Our basic model of the three parallel buildings was transformed into a more complicated one with Z-shaped and V-shaped elements which axes went together with coordinate system of Science & Technology Park.
The buildings formed an irregular \”alive\” space of large and small squares with windows of the apartments, located in front of each other at a maximum distance and being turned in order to avoid direct viewing. Facade design formed by groups of windows of small size, changes the scale and visually increases the distance among the buildings.
Having made our calculations of areas occupied by utilities (elevators, staircases, passages) and taking into account the road which crosses the center of the site, we decided to link each function to a separate capacity: apartments, vertical passages, horizontal passages. Such an approach allowed us to provide for just \”a must\” utilities, without spending useful spacings and additional meters of facades to create lobbies, staircases and elevators blocks which are located on both sides of the road and are duplicated in each building in front of one another.
We associated the first floor with Earth and decorated its structural elements in wood with wooden window shutters. The top four floors are made in white colors and are less material and give some sense of lightness to the facade. Functional elements of various forms (staircase towers and passages linking them to residential areas, horizontal elements of parking tent and of the square) give a chance to refresh interior of the block, without any invented decoration.
A special and unique element of the housing block which has united the buildings – is «dancing windows» which, depending on the side and distance from the observer, can look like a children’s drawing – a design reminding of flowers, turned to various directions, or there appears a distinct grid reflecting the internal structure of the building. And it becomes clear that there are no turned elements in this drawing.
Apartments in the houses of Block No.5 are made as studios and one-, two- and three-room flats. Actually, it is a University Campus for students.
First floors have studios and one-room apartments with separate entrances, store facilities and pram storage rooms. From the 2nd to the 5th floor there are two-level, mostly, three-room apartments, where public facilities and premises are grouped by floors of housing blocks representing a single space capacity.
The western part of the site has been linked by a square spreading across the road with a build-in fitness center building. The first floor has a swimming-pool partially buried into the ground, the second floor with a dance hall and the square together represent a single structure. People who come to have some sports have a possibility to walk along the rooftop and take air baths or get some sunburn.
The design has been worked out taking into account tough budget requirements and is based on using the same elements (typical for this project). Cast-in-place reinforced concrete fraiming consists of inside walls with the step of 9 and 7.8 m, cast-in-place elements of external walls in in-flat staircases areas, in the central part – with longitudinal parts of the walls. Facade system – three-layer wall panels are of 10 basic standard sizes filled with extruded polystyrene foam.
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