The Monthly European Architectural Newsletter - October 2012
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Architecture & design

In the present quite agitated international economical context, the Milan Design Fair works as a barometer. Also as a mirror presenting at an industrial scale a situation which could be the one of today’s « Old Europe ». If their strategies are very diversified – the choice to count on talented designers or to modernize the existing proven models and remanufacture historical pieces – numerous producers cooperate with famous architects who intelligently study the new functionalities. Outstanding designers like Antonio Citterio or Piero Lissoni, present since many decades, have played a significant role in creating and maintaining the official image of the international Italian style. Other architects, such as Lord Norman Foster, Doriana & Massimiliano Fuksas and the well-known Jean-Marie Massaud and Patricia Urquiola joined them in designing products, making the core of the big brands’ collections during this last decade. In 2012, can be added two architects from London Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, creators of the high-tech Olympic flame, as well as the Japanese Shigeru Ban and his ingenious modular wall system for Hermès, and also Jean Nouvel and his laser cut out stackable aluminium chair for the exterior furniture manufacturer Emu. These audacious designers don’t just transpose traditional typologies, but go much further thanks to their new formal proposals. Design remains very successful. For example, in Brussels, the Luxemburg based Smets company inaugurated at the beginning of this year a new and unique 3000 square meter concept store gathering the biggest names in design, beauty and gastronomy. More recently, in Milan, Gianluca Tronconi and Antonio Citterio conceived the design kitchens manufacturer Arclinea’s showroom as a real experimental centre. And above all, in Montpellier a fabulous shop imagined by Jean Nouvel to celebrate the culture of design and of contemporary art of living.

The Archi-Europe team

Portrait of the month

Sergey Romanov

1) Anfiteatro High Rise Block

1a) Anfiteatro High Rise Block

1b) Anfiteatro High Rise Block

2. Soviet Wings Ice-Hockey Arena

2a. Soviet Wings Ice-Hockey Arena

2b. Soviet Wings Ice-Hockey Arena

2c. Soviet Wings Ice-Hockey Arena

3. Multifunctional Office and Trade Centre

3a. Multifunctional Office and Trade Centre

3b. Multifunctional Office and Trade Centre
Sergey Romanov and the present architecture in Russia

Professor at the Moscow Architectural Institute, laureate of international competitions, master of architecture, member of the union of architects, and Honorable architect of Russia, Sergey Romanov is one of the most important architects in Moscow. He is the leader of the studio №1 GUP MNIIP “Mosprojekt -4”, specialized in multi-story dwelling and public buildings. It is a global project studio with the function of developing design documentation at all blueprint stages. It also works as an architectural supervision for building complexes.

The studio is also involved in designing commercial and entertainment projects, administrative, office buildings, sport and cultural centers, e.g. the Multifunctional Office and Trade Centre, the Moscow K.S.Stanislavsky and V.I.Nemirovich-Danchenko Academic Musical Theatre, with Architects A.V.Bokov, the Children Arts Center, The “Trianon” Housing Complex. The projects' degree of the complexity is unconfined, but, as a rule, the studio usually finds solutions to questions and problems, connected with design of nonstandard buildings.

The Anfiteatro High Rise Block has just won an award in the International Property Award Competition. Located in the south-western administrative district of Moscow, the site of 3.05 hectares provides a high-rise apartment block in shape of an ellipse, open-looped to the south. In the center of the ellipse a court (sports hall and recreation areas) covers a large parking. It is isolated from the environment, fenced and monitored by security guards and video surveillance. The residential complex completed by a commercial aera is built with a maximum height of 103 meters, which is well adapted to the landscape and the insulation and natural lighting asper visual analysis and calculations. Each functional area is separated from each other by technical floors.

Engineering supplement is provided by separate and individual sources of energy. Architecture and planning provide a three-dimensional structure of a classical amphitheatre of the 12 sections of different height from 6 to 30 floors. The main architectural features of the buildings that form the aesthetic view are an active elliptic silhouette. There is a contrast between the external and internal facades. The first one is a "stone" wall system coated with pink and grey ceramic tiles. The inner facade is a "glass" wall of a stained glass aluminum systems. All windows are made of a system with aluminum and energy-efficient glass (low emission glass).

- You mainly design multi-storey buildings in Moscow. What is your philosophy behind those projects? Are there any specificities in building policies in Moscow as well as urbanistic regulations?

We can see two trends. The 1st is common with the period of 1990-2010. This is the period of domination in building of multi-storeyed (up to 25 stories) and high-rise (over 25 stories) buildings and housing estates. This is the period of high densities for housing - 25000 m2/ha and higher. The altitude capacity and density guaranteed the achievement of high economic and representative priorities complied with the metropolis scales. The 2nd is common with the current period, the period of reappraising of values. The requirements of sharp decrease in number of floors and density (up to 18000-22000 m2/ha) for the periphery, and almost absolute prohibition for the new construction in the centre are specified in the reading, declared by the new Moscow administration. It may be said that we see all the characteristic features of the transition period in Moscow town planning. The course of the situation development remains to be seen.

All high-rise projects of my bureau are referred to the period of super densities, and we followed the next principles elaborating them. You can call it a philosophy. This is a creation of a comfortable and high-quality (it may be said sustainable) living environment, when a habitant does not feel density and overcrowding due to organization of a comfortable dwelling unit with the best scenes from windows and large glazed summer spaces - verandas and loggias. Units, furnished with the modern communications, equipped with parking places and common services. Besides, all our buildings were projected in Moscow regions of the wide-scale 5-12-floor standard buildings as composition centres, introducing the new town-planning scale, silhouette, the atmosphere of optimism and belief in future, i.e. as giving birth to the new life style. The special characteristic feature of these buildings is the provision of shelteredness and safety according to the “my house is my castle” principle.

- Are the architects nowadays taking more account of sustainability than before in Russia? What is your special comment on this matter?

Creation of a “sustainable” architecture is an actual theme in Russia, but we are just at the beginning of the way. Positive trend is the activity in discussing this subject and promotion of “sustainable” ideas towards the real architecture. The priorities here are as follows: openness towards nature, usage of the local environmentally friendly materials, introduction of “green” standards, provision of impeccable sanitary properties, reduction in exploitation of power resources, control for emissions and waste, utilization of recoverable resources, guaranteeing psychological comfort and safety in the urban environment. Many of these parameters are already under control of normative standards in Russia.

- What is your opinion on the trend of the present worldwide architecture?

In my opinion, the modern trends in the world architecture is the continuation of triumph of high technologies in design and building, and search for the new forms in constructions and architecture. With the placing of the “unusual” concept of a building form and façade finish and technology to the top position. We can see at least two opposite trends in the “high” architecture, illustrating the foregoing. The 1st trend: as continuation of the line of the static minimalist architecture of the sterile ascetic, geometrically irreprehensible volumes moulded of glass, metal, nets or ceramics without details and scale, i.e. architecture without excessive emotions or architecture with emotions hidden inside themselves. The 2nd trend: as continuation of the line of the dynamic compositional architecture as the architecture of complex and super complex compositions and spaces.

The bionic architecture seems to accompany this trend. Of course, this is the most emotional trend, requiring special qualities and knowledge of the particular project technologies on the part of the creators. For sure, this is a great generalization, and the world of architecture is far more diversified, but these trends are the most pictorial. They will dominate in future alternating with each other at the architectural Olympus, not suppressing but helping and supplementing each other, as separately they will feel lonely. The modern metropolis needs them both. The second trend is much more closer to me in emotions and colours and looks as a Renaissance in a years of tough and exact everyday’s architectural being.

1, 1a, 1b) Anfiteatro High Rise Block (Moscow, south-western administrative district)

2, 2a, 2b, 2c) Soviet Wings Ice-Hockey Arena (Moscow № 69 Kuntsevo district)

The priority for developing and building this huge project takes place in the perspective of the needs of existing buildings, as well as investment opportunities in the coming years in sports, trade, leisure and housing.

3, 3a, 3b) Multifunctional Office and Trade Centre (Moscow, Snezhnaya Str, 26)

Design - 2006-2008 / Construction - 2009-2012. Total area 25180 m2
Project of the month

RBC Design Center, Montpellier
Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Recently inaugurated in the heart of the new Port Marianne district, this 2000 square meter concept store, with nothing comparable in France as to its style or contents, extends the commercial approach tied to the development of design’s cultural image. An initiative started by Franck Argentin, 25 years ago with the opening of the first RBC store in Nîmes, in cooperation with Philippe Starck.

From the outside, the building looks like a simple box. Its sobriety is strengthened by the few key words on the façades: CREATE DREAM READ COOK ENLIGHTEN LIVE. Inside, the grey background, exclusive colour used, underlines with museographic art the lit up products. Distributed on eight mezzanines fitted on both sides of a central opening, these objects are the colour and life of the place, where you feel like walking around from one visual appeal to another. A spectacular « furniture shelf » appears with many staircases.

Real technical exploit, the construction is supported by a huge H metallic structure with a glass roof overhanging. Instead of putting pillars rising from the foundations, this framework is erected at 18 m from the ground to support the tie beams enabling to suspend the various platforms. The levitation effect is underlined by the use of stainless steel mesh railings which secure the levels whilst preserving the very spectacular transparency. The lift itself disappears. Its glass and steel cabin is operated by a jack, so no cable nor machinery can be seen. « For me the style is an attitude, says Jean Nouvel. It is not to choose a formal vocabulary and repeat it. It is a way to study the problems and to resolve them ». These few words show his methodology and his way to present the exclusivity of a project. It is only after a real exchange with the RBC teams that the architect made the building’s plans enabling each design editor to preserve the specificity of his universe.

Further to the quality of the presentation, he has anticipated each need. For instance, for the document filing, a hundred linear meters of storage space are hidden in the walls, so that documents and samples are immediately available. All details have been thoroughly studied such as: furniture especially designed, e.g. the 12 m restaurant bench or the terrace chairs. All this shows the project’s consistency. At the same time minimalist and relevant, you can guess at first glance how rich is the design. The apparent simplicity gives it all its strength.

Getting the architecture to serve the furniture, the RBC Design Center is not a simple architectural initiative but the work of a designer architect. Even during the night, the building continues to live, superbly lit up by the lighting specialist Yann Kersalé. With his intervention, the architectural work seems to be in permanent transformation. It becomes a fully expressive surface at the same time mysterious, poetic and enchanting. The effect will even be much stronger once the water wave on the 6000 square meter square will multiply its gleams.

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CLIP-IN-DOOR / Glassolutions
For more information contact Jean-françois Outin
(Mobile +33 6 64 06 35 33,
Competitions in the spotlight

The first worldwide architecture contest for students in architecture Archi-World® Academy Award (AWA) 2011/2013: "Energy-saving projects and ideas for the future of architecture and urbanism".

The awarding ceremony will take place on Wednesday 16th of January 2013 in Munich - Forum C2, Hall C2/309 at 15.30 - during the construction fair BAU 2013.

Click here to get your ticket!
Click here to see the Archi-World® Academy Trailer

Registration Deadline: 30 October 2012
Click here to register!
___________________________ __________________________________________________
MosBuild (2-5 and 16-19 April 2013) is proud to launch the second edition of this international contest for architects and students in architecture in order to select the best projects in two categories:

• Best architectural solutions for a barrier-free environment
• Best sustainable architecture projects

Click here to register!
Event in the spotlight

Saie 2012

SAIE, always the foremost exhibition for the construction industry and for the presentation of innovations for professionals, focuses this year on a critically important subject: renewal of buildings and homes and environmental and energy sustainability. All aspects of this subject, strategic for the entire Italian System and for the economic recovery of the building industry, will be covered during the 2012 edition and in the weeks prior to the exhibition thanks to the organisation of conferences and workshops and to the contribution of international experts working with BolognaFiere to create “A new Saie for a New Concept of Building.”

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Do not miss the opportunity to come to Munich when BAU 2013 – the World's Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems – opens its gates to the world of the building industry from 14 to 19 January 2013.

Come and visit Archi-Europe C2.515
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Discover the world's biggest spa and private swimming pool show

November 13th - 16th, 2012
Eurexpo Lyon - France

Piscine brings together 1,000 brands of equipment and services for swimming pools and spas. Participate to the greatest international venue for professionals in the pool and spa sector.

Come and visit Archi-Europe at Piscine 2012

(13 – 14/11/2012) Erfurt (DE)
(20 – 28/10/2012) Kortrijk (BE)
(13 – 16/11/2012) Lyon (FR)
Ian Teh
(> 9/12/2012) Rotterdam (NL)
(1/11/2012) London (UK)
Istanbul Design Biennial
(13/10 – 12/11/2012) Istanbul (TR)
>> read more
Archi-World® Academy Awards 2011-2013
Deadline: 30/10/2012
World Habitat Awards 2013
Deadline: 01/11/2012
Transiting Cities - Low Carbon Futures
Deadline: 30/11/2012
d3 Housing Tomorrow 2013
Deadline: 15/01/2013
eVolo 2013 Skyscraper Competition
Deadline: 15/01/2013
>> read more

Mobile Architecture: The Return of the Turtle Principle
Kim Seonwook / Pyo Miyoung

844 pages
€ 78.00
DOM publishers
ISBN 978-3869222189
>> read more
Architectures modernes: l'émergence d'un patrimoine
Maristella Casciato & Émilie Orgeix

196 pages
€ 35.00
ISBN: 978-2804701000
>> read more
Nederlandse architecten en hun huis
Mirjam Bleeker & Frank Visser

272 pages
€ 45.00
Luster Publishing
ISBN 978-9460580963
>> read more

© 2012 Archi-Europe
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor: Marie-Claire Regniers

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