The architects of the APEX project bureau have devoted more than a year to the BLANC residential complex in the north of Moscow: the requirements specification and land surveying were being changed, and the Customer was also changed in the end. The acquired plot with an area of 0.7 hectares is located in a picturesque place near the Golovinsky ponds and the park of the Mikhalkovo estate. The residential complex designed on it will become a classic example of urban densification or infill development.
The term "infill development" for the inhabitants of Russian cities has always had a negative connotation. The development of something new and high-rise on the site of a scrap metal dump, ruins of warehouses or spontaneous parking lots provokes attacks of “righteous” criticism in the local community on social networks and general house chats. Such phenomena indicate that the comfort zone of the townspeople is gradually expanding beyond their own homes. But so far only new construction is on every one's lips, and the abandoned industrial area behind the barbed wire seems more familiar than the open area of the landscaped courtyard of the new building next door. Nevertheless, we should not forget that Moscow is a megalopolis in which the mechanisms that dictate the city development to go upward while reducing the building footprint. The city and business cannot afford to create only a green park on the site of a former industrial area, which serves no residential and social function. Preservation of low density and widespread mummification of traces of bygone eras are characteristic of much smaller and peripheral cities, but those are not for the capital.
Residential complex "BLANC"
16 900 m2
In order to understand how the territory has been developed dynamically, it is necessary to plunge into history. At the end of the 18th century, the Mikhalkovo estate was built, a park was laid out, ponds were developed on the lands near the village of Golovino according to the architect Bazhenov’s project - this was the golden age for the estate. As far as the first third of the 19th century, new times began for Mikhalkovo after the change of owners and the desolation: the estate was bought by Wilhelm Jokisch and turned into one of the first cloth factories in Russia. The main wooden house of the estate was destroyed as unnecessary, the towers of the entrance gates were laid, and factory buildings and an office building were built at the beginning of the 20th century. After nationalization, the factory continued its activities, gradually getting rid of or rebuilding the previous elements. During the war years an oak alley was cut down, and from all the splendor and former greatness all we have nowadays is a few artifacts, which are under state protection. In the 2000s, they tried to turn the former buildings of the manufactory into loft apartments, but something went wrong, and to this day the factory buildings are in a deplorable state and what will happen is unknown.
The requirements specification provided for the construction of two buildings: a commercial building and a renovation one. For the commercial one, the architects chose a tower typology with a staircase and elevator section in the center, it was a sectional one for the for the renovation building. The commercial 27-storey unit is logically located closer to the water, and the renovation 20-storey unit which went hand in hand with the commercial one stretched slightly lower in the north-south direction. The common underground parking lot has united the buildings and made it possible to place more than 150 parking stalls at two levels.
In the tower, a scenario was tested in which the external units of air conditioners were located inside the staircase-elevator section in a cold shaft. Due to the high altitude and the correct dimensions of the mine, the air conditioning units can operate without power loss and will not take up facade room.
The dynamic drawing of the facade of the commercial building was designed using parametric software algorithms. The number of atypical window blocks is minimized, and that of translucent openings in the apartments opposite was maximized. Composite panels are used in the facades.
The renovation complex facade is made intentionally as being contrast to the tower. Static and solid, faced with concrete tiles to resemble clinker bricks, the renovation building facade is designed with all its "rich" appearance to create confidence among those living in it that they are pretty much luckier than those living in the tower.
A built-in kindergarten is provided on the first and second floors of the commercial building. There is a comfortable quiet recreation area and a playground for residents within the territory of the complex. The access ramp roof has an amphitheater for the residents of the area.
The interior of the entrance space of the commercial complex is dominated by restrained, dark gray and black shades, which emphasize the contrast with the whiteness of the facade. The use of large-format porcelain stoneware, metal and perforated mesh creates a multifaceted and laconic image at the same time in the low-tech style form and texture.