Any, even a very modern, thoughtful and logically organized urban organism needs a clearly expressed connecting center. In an ordinary situation, it develops gradually and becomes a kind of cast of all historical processes, the face of the city, no matter how trite it sounds. In the case of the Skolkovo innovation city, such a process is obviously impossible. And the difficulty lies not only in the large volumes of one-step new construction, but also in the fundamental fragmentation of the entire impressive territory and the stake on the author's, strong architecture.
The need for some kind of connecting link that would turn individual bright areas into a single entity was obvious. To solve the problem, a plot was allocated, almost ideal for such purposes: indeed, in the very heart of the city under construction, so that there are shopping centers, residential areas, a transport hub, and even a green recreation area with a pond nearby. The result is a somewhat paradoxical situation - the city does not develop from the center to the outskirts, but vice versa. One of the participants in the announced closed competition for the best concept for the development of the territory was the UNK project bureau, which proposed, firstly, to create a free creative environment that allows you to take a break from the harsh rhythm of modern life, and secondly, to allow people to “settle in” the existing space and further constantly "adjust" it depending on the current needs and interests.
“The customer believed that the characteristic style of the reconstructed industrial buildings would be the most successful in the current situation and saw the central quarter filled with spaces and a loft plan,” says the head of the team of authors Yuliy Borisov. “Another wish was to create a rich, lively environment in the spirit of some European regions. cities with shops and restaurants - a lively but relaxed atmosphere. Trying to artificially simulate industrial architecture, which had never been here, seemed at least strange to us, and we tried to find a different conceptual basis. What can create the impression of cultural layering in the absence of historically valuable architecture? We decided to use modern art for this and turn the loft quarter into an art quarter."
From a functional point of view, the program was quite understandable: the middle floor, the first floors are occupied by small shops, bars and cafes, and the upper ones are reserved for transformable spaces in which you can live and work, saving time, effort, and resources. The architects have divided the entire block into several small zones, some of which are private and intended mainly for local residents, and some are set aside in pronounced public spaces.
Green areas in the courtyards will help create the necessary calm and comfortable atmosphere. But in the public spaces being formed, the customer asked to abandon green areas and generally open land or grass. To set the mood for them, the architects came up with the so-called multicubes. Shifting blocks of the upper floors of buildings form relatively small rain-proof zones that can be used as an exhibition hall, concert venue, cinema or cafe terrace. Absolutely universal spaces can even be partially closed and turned into some kind of transitional zones between the street and the interior. It is up to them to decide what kind of application, what kind of art exactly meets the current needs of tenants and owners. In this way, residents will become co-authors of architects, and the newly created environment will quickly acquire the necessary diversity and emotionality. In the upper part, these multicubes form spectacular terraces, which can also be used in a variety of ways. They will be decorated in the form of an illuminated glass-profiled wall - a reminder of the architecture of Soviet research institutes and a nod from the authors towards the technological environment.
In response to the demand for historicization of the environment, the architects of the UNK project did not try to artificially recreate specific samples or copy elements. The complexity and variability of all components helps to speed up time and achieve a historical impression: narrow, intricately organized streets, diverse shapes and structures of buildings, bricks of various colors and qualities on the facades of the building and paving, even replaced by graffiti on the facades. Architects deliberately go into the shadows and do not even try to rigidly dictate specific rules. Moreover, they give complete freedom to the user.
“It is usually terribly annoying when people try to glass balconies without permission or somehow violate the original plan of the architect,” comments Yuliy Borisov, “but in this case, on the contrary, we wanted such temporary objects to appear and, as a result, tried to give residents as many tools as possible for this. " And even the interior spaces themselves can be organized and used in different ways. They are based on a lightweight modular design that can be scaled from 80 to 300 m2. They are mainly intended for the somewhat unusual typology of office apartments. Such a solution will create constant activity in the quarter and will allow the owners to use all the available space as efficiently as possible.
And of course, the new area was oriented towards the neighboring park. All buildings are arranged in such a way that they organize human flows, directing them from the shopping center and transport terminal to the park, bypassing closed courtyards. In addition, the number of storeys in already low-rise buildings is further reduced as you approach the park to provide views from windows and terraces. On the side of the park, illuminated terraces set the necessary urban accents. As a result, the modeled "historical center" should become a kind of independent organism with its own unique atmosphere, different materials and rhythm of life and at the same time - an absolutely integral part of the entire urban education, close to a technocratic and functional environment.
“I have some concerns: will our idea of making a mixed, both living and working environment find understanding among Russian investors and users today? - says Yuliy Borisov. - As a rule, such projects are implemented precisely during the renovation of industrial areas and, as a result, turn out to be less expensive. In addition, we offer a complex, multi-layered architecture, not too bright and "catchy", from it, as from a good wine, a complex aftertaste should remain. But I am absolutely sure that this approach is very promising: such a number of storeys, density, format, this is the future. I myself would like to live in such an architectural environment."