Seducing The Viewer
The proposal for the landscaping of a residential development just outside of Moscow aimed to capitalize on the stronger aspects of the urban plan while offsetting its weaknesses. The narrow footpaths and dense network of roads were transformed into lush flowering promenades, the sense of place and community was enhanced by diversifying environments, green areas with social functions were created at the centre of the development.
The grid of houses is traversed by a wide promenade, which becomes the central pedestrian thoroughfare through the area. The paving pattern changes along this route, interrupted by squares and flowerbeds, recreational areas and playgrounds. Changing patterns in the paving break up the plan into distinguishable zones, becoming a system of navigation.
While the typological plan and repetitive architecture diminish individual identity, the landscaping offers future home owners the choice of living next to a quiet green alley, or have views onto an aromatic pine forest. Thus each house is distinguished its own landscaping and pathway pattern.
The design of four pavilions on a heritage site in St Petersburg is identical in essence. Each pavilion is distinguished by its roof structure, which responds to its function. The market pavilion is capped with a dome, which creates a sense of space in an otherwise compact area, and draws attention to the building with its distinct silhouette. The belvedere’s function as open viewing platform is furthered by a roof deck, from which the surrounding site can be enjoyed. The roof of the greenhouse pavilion, with its upturned edges loosely inspired by lotus leaves, can gather and implement rainwater for irrigation. With an almost ornamental approach to ‘capping’ what are essentially three singular open-plan spaces, the project was nicknamed Peter’s Hat, in reference to ‘Peter’s Hut’, the humble first residence of Peter the Great located in the vicinity.
The city’s reflection is its symbol. Canonic views of cities such as New York, Sydney or Venice are inseparable from their reflection in a body of water.
Through the reflection of Kazan in its lakes we propose to envision the growth and development of the city. The proposal consists of two strategies for the formation of the lakes’ coastline and their use.
The first strategy is referred to as ‘the coastal silhouette’. A new treasure map of the Kaban lakes is created by enhancing their architectural identity. Dominant focal points appear among the lakes creating a distinct image of Kazan as a vibrant, vigorously evolving city.
The next strategy is referred to as ‘Kayma’. Kayma is a word which exists only in Russian and Tatar, and translates as a beautiful ornamental strip along the perimeter of a textile or carpet.
In this case Kayma is the coastline of the Kaban lakes. By colourfully defining this border, we draw attention of the inhabitants of Kazan to the Kaban lakes and create a recognisable system of identity. The proposed Kayma pattern is influenced, though not borrowed, from traditional Tatar motifs.
Several colours and patterns are used to distinguish various functions of the coastline. The patterns include materials such as paving stones, greenery, water, wood decking and other landscaping elements which are combined in an unusual order. Each lake has its own ornament, which becomes part of a comfortable navigation system.
Who influences you graphically?
We digest a myriad images every day, so perhaps many influences work on a subconscious level. A random selection could include Giotto, Edward Hopper, Lissitzki, Archizoom, as well as recent works of architects whose approach we admire.
What is your take on the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?
The axonometric view is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate a project. It shows off all aspects of the form and at the same time illustrates the interrelation between all the parts of the project. It is particularly effective for urban planning projects.
What is the effect and purpose of using silhouettes which seem to belong to another era? how do they inform the proposal and relate to the viewer?
Silhouettes from another era help to integrate or set the proposal within a historic context, sometimes even when there is no history yet. For example we chose to use them for the pavilions in St Petersburg, which are surrounded by 18th century warehouses. The aim was for the pavilions to exist organically on a heritage site, and the figures, mostly taken from paintings, create the sense of a kind of time travel, without tying the design to any particular era.
You explore different your proposal through diverse types of drawings, what dictates which form of representation you choose?
It is all about setting a mood which enhances the design and seduces the viewer, while effectively communicating the design intent. For particular clients realistic renders are necessary, with others we can experiment with illustration and collage.
How does the use of texture help in establishing a specific atmosphere or defining the materiality of the proposal?
The use of texture addresses the haptic sensibility of a project. One one hand it can help to translate materiality, on the other hand it can also create a (deceptive) feeling that the image is handmade. The image itself becomes an object, not just a representation.
FORM is a young multidisciplinary practice based in Moscow, Russia, founded by architects Vera Odyn & Olga Treiwas in 2011. The firm works on projects of varied scale thanks to a diverse team. The current portfolio includes projects in urban planning, landscape architecture, museum and exhibition design, residential, commercial and hospitality fitouts, furniture and product design.