The practice was commissioned to build a corporate HQ for a prestigious national company in the heart of downtown Moscow. The 0.5 hectare site, which occupies an entire street block and encompasses an existing, 2 storey, historical building, is surrounded by stucco-fronted public buildings and residential blocks, near the important transport complex of Paveletskaya railway station.
The norm for a building of this scale in this area would have been an ornate, neo-classical façade. AI achieved a landmark planning decision by gaining permission for a continuous glass façade, arguing that the fritting on the glass served as decoration. The white dot frit simulates raindrops, the pattern increasing in density with the height of building. This gives the facade a solid appearance and protects it from glare and excessive solar gain, reducing the need for internal cooling during the hot summer period.
The project comprises two connected volumes – a new-build 14-storey, rectangular office building and a 7-storey hotel with multi-story, underground car park and hotel – arranged at right angles around the existing 2-storey building on the site. AI maximised the building footprint, stretching the ground floor plan to the site boundaries, while truncating the plans above second storey, so that the façade appears blade like from one of the key sightlines.
To reduce the visual bulk, structural elements have been used to dissect the buildings, delineating the 2nd and 7th floors to reflect the heights of the historic building and hotel respectively. The buildings are connected by two glazed bridge walkways that give office users access to the hotel’s facilities.
AI director Anton Khmelnitskiy says “Given the architectural styles of the surrounding buildings, which range from 19th century neo-classical through the various periods of Soviet architecture, it became obvious to us that we had to use a contemporary language for this structure, a singular materiality. We had to simplify the geometry and the edges of the building to achieve more unified and efficient plans.”