- A. Levitina
- E. Tarasenok
- Mosproject 2
- Mikhail Plekhanov
- M. Posohin
MONUMENTAL ART DECO STYLE
The iconic building on Oruzheyniy Lane is the latest high-rise project in the city centre of Moscow. The 166,000 square metre multifunctional administrative and commercial complex is just starting to acquire its finished appearance. In the ten years of design and construction, the complex has managed to become a prominent site in the city.
The 28-storey building towers over the north side of the Garden Ring, marking the southern boundary of the area of new construction in the 2000s. Architect Mikhail Plekhanov from Mosprojekt2 explains: “When the investor himself reviewed the project, he said that he wanted something fitting for Moscow, something that, even if not quite traditional, would continue the convention of creating urban accents along the Garden Ring. We were participants in an informal competition where we proposed to ‘reinvent’ the architecture of Stalin’s skyscrapers by analysing the origins of the Art Deco style.”
According to the initial visual landscape analysis, the building was intended to be lower. The architects made several variants with different crowning elements for the top part. However, the investor thought of profits, that every metre was worth money, and he therefor wanted a flat roof. Later, for the new investor, prestige came first. “Our proposal for the top was not a functional part, but rather a decorative one, and it will add another 36.5 metres. Basically this is an external form creating a silhouette,” explains Plekhanov.
When the reinforced concrete frame without the façades was erected in the early 2010s, the building gave rise to many negative comments. Most of them concerned the inadmissibility of constructing ‘yet another Stalinist skyscraper’ in the city centre (the first investor, Donstroy, built a pseudo-Stalinist skyscraper in the city in 2002). However, when the building finally began to acquire substance by 2015, the glass planes and vertical aluminium ridges became visible, and it became clear that Oruzheyniy was not a retro imitation, nor an ultramodern manifesto, but a kind of ‘alternative history’ of Moscow architecture. “We tried to preserve the traditions, while coming up with a contemporary look,” says the architect. They used two types of finishes: for the three bottom storeys it is stone and white granite, and on the upper storeys an aluminium facing.
Reynaers was involved in the construction of the fully glazed façade and Plekhanov is very pleased with the collaboration. “This is very laborious work due to the complex shape of the pylons. And the metal repeats all of these forms and even the division of the stone facing along the length, height and width. Each pylon also has a top – an Art Deco inspired light, like a beacon.” The building has great significance for Moscow’s urban landscape. The overall volume is traditional for Moscow in terms of its massiveness and monumentality. The building has almost no horizontal components. All of its materiality is in the metal ridges and pylons, which emphasise the upward drive and visually break down the mass.
We proposed to 'reinvent' the architecture of Stalin's skyscrapers by analysing the origins of the art deco style
The architect was also pleased with the result of the collaboration with Miwel, the fabricator of the building’s exterior. “Alexandar Veljanovic, director of Miwel Russia, openly embraced our ideas and taste.” Veljanovic: “This particular project was very challenging to us. The building has a very complicated shape with many assemblies. The architects made a draft design of the shapes and we developed them right through to production and installation.” Miwel owns an aluminium production factory near Belgrade. For this project it established a special experimental facility there to produce special parts and façade systems. Veljanovic: “We invented many things from scratch and we are really proud of the success.”
Aleksandar Veljanovic was born in Belgrade in 1967. He represents the second generation of the family business Miwel as the general manager of the Moscow office. The company was founded in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1993 and offers state-of the-art building equipment and an accomplished team of professionals to respond to the complex challenges in the construction process. The company’s activities are spread globally through its offices in Moscow and Belgrade. “We have been at the top for more than fifteen years. We plan to remain there,” says Veljanovic.
Mikhail Plekhanov was born in 1955 in Moscow. He graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute in 1979. Since then he has worked at Mosproject-2. Today he leads the largest design team in the office, working mainly on high-class residential and office projects. Among the latter is Aquamarine-II, a multifunctional complex on the Ozerkovskaya embankment of Moscow. His motto is: “Modern architecture needs to be done really well – or it is better not to do it at all.”