We And They. What Happened In November

We And They. What Happened In November
We And They. What Happened In November
Video: We And They. What Happened In November
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The awarding ceremony of the ARX awards, which without undue modesty was called “a key event in the field of architecture and construction”, was awarded with great pomp. From such reckless directness in the matter of self-praise, everyone shivered a little, but obediently waited for a great event. And I must admit, on the whole, the award was a success. Firstly, it was possible to call quite a lot of recognized architects as nominees for the award, who now, except for Arch-Moscow, rarely get together. Having yielded their place somewhere to young, and somewhere to non-Moscow colleagues, venerable architects in recent years have ceased to be noticeable, as if they had satiated themselves with glory. This is not entirely correct, because in the end what they are doing becomes not as noticeable as before. Maybe a good start for the ARX awards will help overcome this injustice.

Secondly, the decision of the jury smoothed out the PR aplomb of the event in a pleasant way, focusing on very calm things: one wooden Yacht Club of Totan Kuzembaev won in two nominations at once, making a clear analogy and a kind of continuation of the successive victories of Brodsky's "small forms" at Arch-Moscow … One and the same building Kuzembaev was chosen by two of the three foreigners participating in the jury, this coincidence clearly expressed that it is precisely this - conditionally, speaking, the "Klyazminskoe" direction in modern Russian architecture is more interesting for them than the rest: you cannot argue with this, it is really a special creative product, a cross between concept and architecture. Winners of other nominations: house in Tessinsky per. S. Skuratova, the Cretan village of D. Aleksandrova, the urban planning concept of the Ufa Peninsula by Raum architects - are distinguished by thoughtful contextualism on the verge of ecology, somewhere natural, somewhere cultural.

If in the ARX awards the international jury chose the works of recognized Russian architects, then a few days later the awarding took place, in a sense, mirror-like - on behalf of the Russian avant-garde, another award was presented, also for the first time this year, the Yakov Chernikhov award from the fund of the same name. It was not a statuette that was handed over here, but a substantial sum of? 50,000 (and the total fund is twice as large), not venerable, but young and promising, and not Russian, but foreign - or rather international, but from the Russians only Boris Bernasconi decided to participate, who brought his tablet on the last day. They were awarded not for a specific work, but for a creative credo, looking for among the 55 nominees the most non-standard and forward-looking, corresponding not to the letter, but to the spirit of the avant-garde. Such were recognized ubranists-theorists working, in particular, for the administration of the European Union and for the Albanian capital, architects of the DOGMA group. Architects represent a clear and obvious alternative to modern searches for the new in sophisticated complex bends calculated on a computer - they despise stylistic delights, they immediately think in cities, for simplicity they depict buildings in the form of cubes, speak in manifestos - looking straight ahead, they drop sharpened phrases, apparently fragments of dogma … In any case, their falling out of the formalized searches of modernity is obvious; and the avaricious images of their tablets are even more avant-garde than the avant-garde, and most of all remind Ledoux - hence, apparently, the name “the city of the new Jacobins”. On the other hand, such theorized urbanism fits well with the slogans of the current Venice City Biennale, at which DOGMA presented its design of the ideal city of Vema in the Italian pavilion; they were not noticed at the Biennale, perhaps because of their utopianism.

At the Biennale, it was not utopias that were awarded, but real deeds.Danes successfully cooperating with the Chinese on the basis of ecology. The capital of Colombia, Bogota, which, like Munchausen, successfully pulled itself out of problems with its own hand, was called a "beacon of hope" for all other cities. They evaluated not so much the beautiful exhibition design as the content - a real exhibition of achievements. Since there are no urban successes in Russia now, and there is only the fact of the uncontrolled growth of one big city, there was nothing to count on. An elegant solution - to show Russian urbanism in the form of memories of its consequences, presented in Brodsky's poetic installations, was pleasant for his own people, and the rest, most likely, did not understand - this time the Biennale was not evaluating the language of art, but of numbers. Although one beautiful exhibition was awarded, the Japanese one.

In addition to two completely new and high-profile awards, in Moscow they presented the already familiar "Arkhip" from the Salon magazine, an award for interiors and private houses. This year, traditionally high-quality works of the winners are united by a slight touch of nervousness - asymmetric windows, bevels, shifts - either a trend of fashion, or the general mood of private architecture. The winner of the main nomination "Individual House", architect Dmitry Geychenko, could not come to the award ceremony - in the summer he was arrested at the Ukrainian customs for a harmless pack of medicines, not so long ago he was released on recognizance not to leave, and they are going to be tried in mid-December.

A string of very different non-union awards revived architectural life in general and November in particular, but the main buzz was not centered here. Throughout November, everyone who could discuss the projects of the Gazprom-City skyscraper exhibited at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. The press was flooded with articles against the skyscraper, inconceivably disfiguring the only, strictly speaking, beautiful city in the country. Several press conferences were convened, youth associations, flash mobs, and protests emerged. In response, we received assurances that the projects are only sketches and nothing has been decided.

The movement against is indeed very active, albeit heterogeneous. Its first, the nicest, part, relatively speaking, the intelligentsia, is represented by Mikhail Piotrovsky and inherits the ideas of D.S. Likhachev, who had already defended Peter from one skyscraper, however, that was lower and not Gazprom's growth, that is, it was not planned as a symbol of the approval of a very large and influential company over the city, and in this respect the position of the skyscraper of the nineties was noticeably weaker. Towards the end of the month, this movement finally found support from foreign colleagues in the form of a letter from Lord Norwich and Colin Amery, the British, representatives of the World Monuments Conservation Fund; an article in the Times followed.

The second part of the resistance is the trade union, and although they are in favor of one thing, the performances of the unions of architects do not leave offense that Russian architects were not involved in the design.

Opinions about the projects of foreign stars also differed - the director of the Museum of Architecture David Sakrisian called them all bad and careless, however, did not explain why. Piotrovsky, on the other hand, recognized the projects as good, dividing the quality of architecture and the damage that it will cause to the city if it appears in the place where it is planned. Somewhere here you can feel the way out - why not build a good skyscraper "from the star" somewhere on the outskirts of the city, at the same time regenerating the area? If Gazprom is ready to compromise, of course.

If you look at the projects, then in general I would like to agree with Piotrovsky. Remaining within the framework of not the most sophisticated genre, the "stars" offered quite a variety of solutions. One regularity is observed: out of six invited, five are undoubted stars of the first magnitude, and the sixth project is also foreign, but "with a large Russian participation" - RMJM. This is also a workshop not of the last row, but not with such worldwide fame as the rest - the seventh among British architectural companies.She participated in the construction of the Scottish Parliament, known for its very delicate attitude to historical buildings, but not in the first roles. But she works for Dubai, and it's no secret that for Russian officials and businessmen this place is almost an ideal of happiness.

If you look at the projects, you immediately feel a slight difference. Five "stars", each in its own way, tried to brighten up the invasion of their giant into the city. Nouvel built the Aurora, it is not his first building in the form of a ship; Libeskind - the Arch of the General Staff, trying to open a view of Rastrelli's Smolny Cathedral; Fuksas is a spire, either of the Admiralty, or of Peter and Paul. Koolhaas "gouged" the volume with cubic niches, trying to shade the massiveness of the building, the tower of Herzog and De Meuron bends as if she is ashamed to stand in this place. They said in vain that our scandal did not reach the foreigners, either they knew everything, or they felt - all five real "stars" in one way or another expressed their embarrassment at what they were doing, invading the "sky line".

Only one project turned out to be alien to doubts and reflections. It represents the pure embodiment of the Gazprom emblem, a gas candle, even larger than the voiced one by another 20 meters. This is a very expensive, technologically sophisticated sculpture of a burner - the purest embodiment of an order for an ambitious gas symbol. Was there any doubt that he would be chosen. As for the public, when announcing the results, Valentina Matvienko said that St. Petersburg residents should be happy, and Alexey Miller offered the public to console themselves with a skating rink that would be built at the same time on the territory of Okhta. It was December 1st.

The autumn harvest of awards has been collected. Serious events in the professional sphere are not expected in December, but the scandal with the St. Petersburg tower is likely to develop.

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Дмитрий Александров. Проект поселка «Гнездо морского орла» на Крите. Лауреат ARX awards в номинации «экспериментальный проект»
Дмитрий Александров. Проект поселка «Гнездо морского орла» на Крите. Лауреат ARX awards в номинации «экспериментальный проект»
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