We Believe In Images
Tower & Labyrinth_”House of Fairytales”
Museum of H.C. Andersen. Competition 1st prize New Museum of Hans Christian Andersen in Odense, Denmark consists of two parts: the Tower and the Labyrinth. Tower, contains all the public and research functions of the museum, functions as a vertical iconic landmark in the city, whereas ‘The labyrinth’ hosts atmospheric installations, representing different fairytales.
*The project won 1st prize in international competition in Denmark.
Art drop_Floating art space on a Rhine ferry
Beautiful Rhine and famous Art Basel are main Basel city landmarks. ‘Art Drop’ project combines these two main attractions together. It is a new initiative, which proposes to create a multifunctional floating platform, using the existing technology of traditional Basel Ferries. Besides being a transport, new project will become the new art space for the city: first floating open-air art space. Technology of reaction’ ferry, with which one can cross the Rhine without motorised assistance, uses only the natural power of the river’s current.
Thermao Urbano_Urban Winter Spa
How to bring life that makes Basel’s squares so vibrant in summer to the cold season? The project of winter urban spa on Münsterplatz, “Thermae Urbano”, takes the idea from traditional Basel fountains, and proposes to heat up water inside the historical Pisoni Fountain on Münsterplatz, in order to transform it into a public space for winter bathing. Cloud of steam above the cold empty square, half-naked bodies in the fountain. All ages and calsses, men and women, together in a warm common ritual with amazing winter setting.
Hidden Park_Botanical garden in the underground river
The project proposes to turn Basel’s underground river, Birsig, into a linear botanical garden,hidden underground, but open for public. Historically Birsig was a river, running through Basel’s city center. Today it is chanelled in an underground stone tunnel. Project adds lights, hydroponic techology and heaters to tunnel’s contained microclimate and creates warm and humid atmosphere where lush botanical garden will grow. Hidden Park will serve as a place for romantic walking, botanical explorations or transit on a rainy day.
Who influences you graphically?
Although many architects say that they don’t trust images, we, on the contrary, believe that they are very important for the development of built work. Images are first ‘reality’ checks of the project, and we as society more and more perceive architecture through the prism of the image. Some of the projects, which were never built, or already demolished, stay only in the form of image.
Speaking of influences, or, rather “inspiration”, it depends on the context of the project that we are doing. In our work we try to understand the context of the project, to make it relevant to the site, local society, the brief, and our graphics and references are following this contextual approach.
So, depending on the project, we can be inspired by the futuristic drawings of Ivan Leonidov, or the vintage colors of Jacque Tati’s movies; by the exquisite fairytale illustrations of Ivan Bilibin or brutal simplicity of Kazimir Malevich; by paintings of Edward Hopper or Rene Magritte; by the conceptual drawings of Ilia Kabakov and Alexander Brodskiy; by the traditional murals of Russian temples or the minimal sculptures of Donald Judd.
In our work we collaborate with artists, photographers, illustrators, graphic designers: Rodion Kitaev, Maxim Spivakov, Yuri Palmin and others; they influence our work and expand the boundaries of our practice.
What defines the language of representation through which you choose to represent a project?
As we mentioned, it depends on the context, on the goals of the project.
For instance, besides purely architectural references, we try to get inspiration outside the field of architecture, and the so called “good taste”. One of the examples – our rendering for a project of an exhibition, where we purposefully used the graphical language of a low-resolution generic commercial rendering:
How do the classic plan, section, elevation drawings sit in relation to the more atmospheric views?
We believe that while the images of the projects carry its’ atmosphere and mood, plans and sections are the tools to read the building have to be simple and fair.
What programs do you use?
Majority of the architectural programs, and more tools, including hand drawing and sketches in Iphone notes application.
What is your take on colour?
Colour and ornamentation in architecture are an ancient and beautiful concept, which was revolutionary rejected by modern architects (Loos and his “ornament is a crime”), later revolutionary returned by postmodernists, later revolutionary rejected by the minimalists and so on. Nowadays we can witness the return of architects’ interest towards colour in architecture.
We personally like the use of colour, when it really fits the project, the spirit of its location, and not when it is used as a gimmick to save a boring shape.
Right now we are trying to convince a client to make the first building in Russia with a facade of green pigmented concrete because we believe that it really fits the city where it is going to be built – Saint Petersburg – with its’ greenish river, northern sky and nordic architecture.
From exhibition to installation to building, how do you approach these different scales and to what extent do these intertwine?
Scale doesn’t really matter, we really enjoying designing in all scales, as we say “from a door handle to a city”. The change of scale between the projects helps us to look at our own work with fresh eyes.
How does your ‘virtual collaboration’ effect the way you then operate as an architecture studio?
Communication in our studio is virtual, because we are located in different countries. It works quite effectively, because it teaches you to be more precise, short and focused when speaking and discussing. At the same time, virtual office requires a lot of self-discipline. We are using all means of communication: we have a group chat, we use file-sharing devices, e-mail, and make skype conferences. We do not think that technology changes the way we work so much – it just gives us more speed and freedom.
There is joke in the internet – a poster with words ‘I survived another meeting that should have been an email’. In our office, for example, we do not have this issue.
K O S M O S Architects is an office collaborating virtually, bringing together partners based in Basel, Moscow, Bangkok and New York. K O S M O S designs projects and environments of all types and scales: from a door handle to a city; from hardcore architecture to pop-up art installations. The office combines art and technology, global experience with respect to local context, European professionalism and Russian drive.
K O S M O S has received awards and prizes in various competitions, including the Hans Christian Andersen Museum Competition in Denmark; Queensway Competition in New York, landmark Nike Sports Center in Moscow; Street Architecture Competition for Storefront for Art and Architecture; got nominated to Swiss Art Awards. Built projects include: EMA – a renovation of former industrial territory into an Art Center, Pavilion for the Garage Center in Gorky Park, street installation in front of New Museum in New York, pavilion of a “uniting wall” in Hungary and others.