Academic Defense is an exciting performance with a long tradition. That there is only one conference hall of the Imperial Academy. Add the representative staff of the State Joint-Stock Company headed by the rector of Moscow Architectural Institute Dmitry Shvidkovsky - the spectacle turns out to be quite impressive.
A student's report, a description of the head of the workshop, a detailed review, discussions and discussions - the defense of each graduate student lasts at least half an hour, the department takes four intense working days. A beautiful, solemn action brings the feeling of a holiday of architecture. First of all, of course, thanks to the content, that is, the reporting work of young specialists.
The topics of diplomas at the Academy are chosen by the department, this time five subjects were proposed:
- Multifunctional complex in the Moskovsky district on the former territory of the Badayevsky warehouses;
- Dance Palace B. Ya. Eifman with a public park;
- Multifunctional complex on the territory of the former arms factory in Sestroretsk;
- Renovation of the port area of Vyborg;
- Landscape park in the Primorsky district.
It is obvious that teachers strive to cover the entire range of architectural and urban planning tasks, which graduates will have to work on in an independent life. Some students chose their own topic, but with similar objectives. ***
The theme of the IFC behind the Novodevichy Convent, between Kievskaya and Chernigovskaya streets, gave a number of convincing decisions in an adult way. I would like to note the desire of young architects to include a new fragment of the environment into the existing urban fabric, for which they use different means: visual connections, creating axes, laying new streets, opening public spaces outside …
Almost all graduate students who have chosen this task have logically placed the main accent - the shopping and office center - in the sharp corner of the site, directly adjacent to the Borovaya metro station under construction. However, the spatial solution of the adjacent territory was very diverse. So, Terenty Zhuravlev created a centric composition, the core of which was a school in the middle of a square, surrounded by residential quarters. The author took up the prospect of Zaozyornaya Street, enclosing it with the building of a cultural center, including a children's concert hall and an art school (an analysis of the surrounding urban environment showed him a lack of such objects). Thus, the theme of interaction with the city received an urban planning, volumetric and semantic expression. An attractive volumetric solution of trade and office dominants, similar to carefully opened palms.
Astemir Savkuev extended the public area beyond the site, creating a single square on both sides of Chernigovskaya Street. This author combined in his work quarter and infinity buildings, combining regularity and picturesqueness in different ways.
Anatoly Kotov gave the composition a forward movement from an architecturally and socially active public and business zone with a small "piazzetta" to freely scattered "vertical villas" overlooking a green necropolis and a monastery.
The original solution, vaguely reminiscent of the New York High Line, was proposed by Vera Stepanskaya, giving the walking area the contours of the rail tracks that existed here. Thus, the author has preserved the memory of the place and has given the authenticity of the new building so much demanded today.
Without exception, all graduate students included spacious public areas and abundant landscaping in the ensemble. In terms of style, the majority preferred elegant modern architecture, although there were both "Stalinist" and Soviet motives, which seems to be quite appropriate for the Moscow region.
Dance Palace B. Ya. Eifman with the park - a plot that reflects the position of most architects and townspeople in general, who want to see a green public area instead of the Judicial District on the former Vatny Island. The students had to organically "plant" the theater in the most responsible panorama of the Nevsky embankments, and everyone solved this problem in different ways, but the majority chose not to risk the existing views and move the theater deep into the site, closing it from the Neva with the green curtain of the park.
The stylistic range of the proposed solutions was very wide and ranged from the classic peripter to remakes of Soviet modernism and bionic volumes contrasting with the environment.
By the way: paying tribute to the young daring, I once again marveled at the arguments of the opponents of historicizing architecture, which allegedly "argues" with the true historical buildings. I agree with the speeches of Mikhail Mamoshin, a member of the State Aviation Committee, that in the historical center of St. Petersburg "figurative" architecture is more appropriate than bionic and sharply modernist solutions.
Of course, the "figurative" - traditional, order architecture is fraught with dangers. In this sense, the mega-colossal order proposed by Vasily Potapov seems deceptively elegant: in life size, such an elongated and extremely simplified colonnade might have looked rude. Which, however, is forgivable for a graduation project and does not detract from the merits of the original idea.
A vivid example of St. Petersburg's stylistic unity at different times is the new building of the Public Library by the architect Evgraf Vorotilov in 1901 in neoclassicism. Differing in color, materials and facade solutions, it organically complemented Rossi's buildings and the entire Ostrovsky square. In principle, this also includes the modern building of Evgeny Gerasimov, although, in my opinion, it has an "extra" floor.
However, there are no universal style recipes, and in the end everything is decided by the talent of an architect-urban planner. In this case, the principle “do no harm”, which prompted a green “pause” in the development of the embankment instead of a risky experiment and was accepted by the majority of graduates, seems to be justified. ***
The theme of the reconstruction of the Weapon Factory complex in Sestroretsk is primarily due to the unique location of the historical object, located in the very center of this St. Petersburg suburb. In addition to the actual salvation of degrading buildings, it was necessary to fill them with life, include them in the citywide space and make them an active point of attraction. Like the sketches of Eifman's theater, works on Sestroretsk demonstrated a wide range of styles with a predominance of modern solutions - from mildly neutral to strongly contrasting with respect to the preserved historical buildings.
One of the most tactful works was the diploma of Polina Donchevskaya, who proposed to place a museum and research center on the territory of the plant. Its most noticeable intrusion into the existing complex is a low building with a green roof, "spread out" across the courtyard, connected to the old buildings by glass passages. Such a solution is a rather rare example of the organic interaction of modern and historical architecture.
Daniil Yakovlev was guided by a similar principle of careful interaction between history and modernity, placing buildings on a free territory that generally repeat the silhouettes of old buildings.
Unlike most of his classmates, Alexei Shuvalov resorted to historical stylization. Having given the new buildings the features of brick style, classicism and Stalinist Empire style, he separated them from the monuments in white and created a picturesque island of an integral environment, attractive to tourists.
Peter Sovetnikov, on the other hand, chose the path of maximum stylistic contrast. Probably, each of the approaches has the right to exist, but the emphatically extravagant forms like a cylinder with legs give the new integrity a tangible ironic-postmodern flavor, which significantly changes the general meaning of an architectural statement. The seriousness inherent in tradition is lost, and an irony alien to it arises, distorting the monuments mentally, with the most scrupulous preservation of their appearance.
Fundamentally similar problems with the described site were to be solved by the graduates who chose the theme of the renovation of the Vyborg coastal zone. The design site includes the port territory, the S. O. K. bakery 1932 by architect Erkki Huttunen and other monuments of Finnish functionalism, as well as an old tram depot with guarded brick-style buildings. From the north-west, the site is bounded by a retaining granite wall, the Southern Wall, over which towers Uno Ulberg's masterpiece in the interwar monumental style - the former art school (now a branch of the Hermitage). Graduates were supposed to link these heterogeneous objects into a coherent living environment.
Almost all works on Vyborg demonstrated a high professional level, but soft and picturesque compositional solutions seemed more convincing, since rigid regularity, from my point of view, is generally contraindicated in a natural seascape. This is exactly the approach that the aforementioned historical monuments demonstrate, including the acutely avant-garde bakery with its irregular outlines and spiral-shaped windows.
Anna Kutilina applied a colossal order, and this motive in support of the portico of Uno Ulberg is quite logical. However, from my point of view, the author did not avoid the mistake of her classmate Vasily Potapov and did not guess the real scale of the projected colonnade.
In the work of Alena Amelkovich, I liked, in particular, the preservation of the open South Wall, while in other projects this most important accent of the coastal panorama is covered by new buildings.
The landscape park in the Primorsky district has given many bright solutions, both quite realistic and fantasy, "paper". The design site is located on wetlands, between the specially protected natural area of the Yuntolovskaya forest dacha and the multi-storey buildings of the Dolgoye Lake residential area and imposes a number of specific requirements on the designers. Among the quite viable projects, one can note the expressive pictorial work of Anastasia Tsips (Kudryavtseva) and the clear, precise composition of Alisa Bykova.
I have to make a reservation that far from all the material on the defense got to me, and the one that got is partly random.
The current graduation was the last graduation of "specialists": the Academy is switching to the Bologna system and is already graduating bachelors, and in two years the first graduation of masters will take place. This restructuring is perceived by many in the Academy as painful: will the introduced innovations turn out to be destructive for its unique age-old traditions? It is too early to judge this …