Challenge 1 Studio 44 started working on the housing project, to be located on a segment of the territory of the “Petmol” milk factory with an area of 3.3 hectares, in 2016.
The company had a few town planning and historical restriction that it used as starting points.
The blocks are virtually identical, but for one exception: the first floor of the east façade of Block A has a kindergarten inbuilt into it, because of which the architects had to sacrifice the final break of the perimeter and the complete identity with the Ancient Roman prototype, as well as the end-to-end passage from the Moskovsky Avenue to the new housing complexes in the depth of the city block, which can be most likely regarded as a plus for the future residents who will hardly put up with the constant traffic on the decumanus.
In addition to the break in the “east-to-west” axis, each unit has two extra rectangular arched passages two stories high that mark the symmetry axis running from north to south, and connecting the inner yards 82x32 meters to the outside pedestrian streets that occupy the protection area between the main buildings and the historical perimeter.
Ultimately, what was left for the housing project to be built upon was a small chunk of land surrounded by a perimeter of historical walls with an impressive “legend” that posed a choice to the architects: either to accept the rules of the game or play against them. “When working on our future project, we adhere to the strict recipe that is dictated by the very town planning situation and the logic of its historical development.
The multifaceted legend that the architects ultimately got allowed them to develop the volumetric solution of the complex, creatively combining different techniques and methods of working with the structure and a wide range of stylistic references.
Nevertheless, neither the numerous reconstructions nor the hard life in the capacity of an industrial facility’s fence prevented the perimeter structure from getting a status of an architectural heritage site of the first third of the XIX century.
Therefore, the perturbations of the “yard”, including the change of owners in the 1990’s, moving the production units of the “Petmol” milk factory outside the city in 2009, and developing this place as a venue for a commercial housing project in the 2010’s, took place, just as before, outside the historical perimeter set by the determined hand of Joseph Charlemagne, a devotee of Claude Nicolas Ledoux and Charles Cameron.
Stylistically, the entire structure was “clad” into solemn neoclassical clothes, and, according to experts, a keen observer can notice in this architecture a transition from the classical architecture of the Czar Alexander period – with its Ancient Greece allusions – to the Russian Empire style with its reverence for the Roman architecture.
And this is what makes this building particularly valuable.