A nine-storey apart-hotel with 50 rooms is planned to be built in the central part of one of the most tourist cities in Montenegro - Budva. The site for construction is allocated on Mediteranska street, not far from the old town and port, so holding an international competition is more than logical - a responsible location, proximity to architectural monuments, and simply the need to compete with existing hotels, which are apparently invisible here. The competition was closed, and Totan Kuzembaev's workshop became the only Russian team that received an invitation to participate in it.
According to the architect himself, the competition project was extremely short: the participants were required to give proposals for an expressive and at the same time not flashy building that could fit into the existing environment of the seaside city. The height of the future hotel was limited to 9 floors, of which two were to be provided with commercial functions. The architects also understood that the building in the plan should be rectangular from the very beginning - standing at the very beginning of Mediteranska Street, it would actually lead a whole line of typical "cubes", three residential floors of which hang like a console over shops and cafes. Actually, these "cubes" not only set the width of the new hotel's facade facing the sea, but also became the starting point in creating its architectural image.
Totan Kuzembaev defined his task here as the search for a reasonable compromise between the creation of a self-sufficient architectural theme and a tribute to the immediate environment. Taking a very simple and laconic volume as a basis, he tried to "germinate" it in such a way that the original geometry was guessed and at the level of the pedestrian created a distinctly readable sense of continuity. Therefore, the first two floors of the building, on which the shops are located, are decorated with emphatically laconic, and are facing their nearest neighbors with a console. In other words, housing here also hangs over public functions, although due to the higher "growth" of the building, this console is not so articulated - rather, the architect only denotes it. It is also played with the help of materials: if the residential floors and the facade facing the old city, Totan Kuzembaev dresses in his favorite tree, then he turns a fully glazed parallelepiped to the "cubes", as if inserted under the R-shaped building at the last moment and with its edges picking up the ultimate laconicism of neighboring buildings.
And although the project from Totan Kuzembaev almost automatically involves the use of a large amount of wood, the architect in this case prefers to justify his choice. It's not (only) that he loves this material and knows how to masterfully work with it - for Budva the tree was chosen, first of all, for the sake of creating a comfortable microclimate in the apart-hotel during the hot summer period. In addition, we wanted to carry out the invasion of the existing panorama of Mediteranska Street, where there are almost no high-rise accents, as gently as possible - if not due to the silhouette, then at least with the help of extremely friendly material. Although in one of the variants of the project, a silhouette is also connected to the solution of this problem: the authors proposed to plant trees along the perimeter of the flat roof of the apart-hotel.
Seaside architecture, doomed to eternal search for a compromise between large-scale glazing in the name of beautiful views and the protection of this very glazing from the too hot sun, inspired Totan Kuzembaev to a bold experiment. Choosing between blinds and shutters, the architect decided to try to cross these elements: a complex system of many movable wooden trays with soil and landscaping acts as the upper protective "casing" of the fully glazed facade. They have different lengths and are strung on several pivot axes so that each window and each terrace has its own "shutters". They all have their own opening amplitude, and it can be controlled both from the central control panel and from each apartment. As conceived by the authors of the project, the plants in the trays will not only pleasantly complement the view of the sea surface, but also contribute to maintaining coolness, absorbing CO2 and collecting rainwater.
This blind / shutter hybrid also plays a critical role in creating the architectural image of the building. When they are closed, the hotel looks quite lapidary: the only decoration of the facades is these wide wooden stitches, between which greenery is guessed. But it is worth opening the windows in at least one apartment, and the facade is instantly transformed, biting with wooden needles. The total number of possible combinations of open and closed "lamellas" is even difficult to count, which gives this initially very laconic volume a lively and unpredictable character. Actually, according to the visualizations presented by the workshop, this is perfectly visible: either a wave runs along the plane of the facade and the edge of the corner, then it all becomes shaggy, then it looks from afar like an intricately folded anthill.
The solution of facades, which was not the cheapest in implementation, did not allow Totan Kuzembaev's workshop to win an international competition, but the jury almost unanimously noted this project for originality, admitting that the design proposed by Russian architects allows creating a memorable modern image of the building, which, moreover, ideally corresponds to its purpose.