"Adaptation" operation. Principles of renovation of socially significant buildings

/ Architecture /

Examples of successful and diverse adaptive architecture projects today are almost more interesting than building new icons from scratch. Each time, the entire process — from the moment the redevelopment plans are announced to its physical completion — is accompanied by a heated discussion. This is a pain point of modern urbanism: the interests of the guardians of history and the ambitions of developers collide, provoking disputes and scandals, and later grow into each other, generating a mutually beneficial compromise. Preserving and using the authenticity of the old, creating a new quality and multiplying the benefits, is a difficult, but, as world experience tells us, a real task.

Once upon a time, when talking about work with an already erected building, we used two concepts: repair and restoration. Today, depending on the degree of intervention, the process can be called renovation, regeneration, reconstruction, redevelopment, restyling. To avoid confusion, in Europe (in architectural universities and at international architectural competitions) the term refurbishment is often used, which is closer to the good old concept of "repair". The goal of the effort remains the same — to activate the space or building, giving it new qualities with the help of new technologies and approaches.

Kanaal. Photo: Jan Liégeois

Kanaal. Photo: Jan Liégeois

Incubators of ideas and new experience

Axel Vervoordt's Kanaal in the suburbs of Antwerp already during the second decade remains an example of successful redevelopment. From a series of industrial warehouse buildings, which included an elevator and a brewery, the designer, together with a team of experienced architects and planners, formed a quarter where exhibition spaces and art workshops alternate with luxury apartments. Kanaal cannot be called an art residence in its pure form, since the inhabitants of the quarter are not only cultural figures. The visionary Vervoordt was able to recognize the request: people will happily live in architecture with history if the conditions correspond to their idea of ​​modern comfort.

Sometimes, the efforts of experienced designers are enough for the qualitative transformation of an object

Bradbury building. Photo: Marius Oprea on Unsplash

Sometimes, the efforts of experienced designers are enough for the qualitative transformation of an object. Example, the new incarnation of the iconic Bradbury Building in the center of Los Angeles needed only the initiative and financial infusions from the customer of the NeueHouse corporation and the talent of the specialists of the DesignAgency bureau, which specializes in innovative design for large hotels, banks, and offices. Now the atrium of the Bradbury Building with its lacy cast-iron stairs, which has appeared in dozens of films, including Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, is once again filled with bustling life: new offices, co-working spaces and a private club with apartments have opened here.

The terminal of TWA (Trans World Airlines) at the airport named after John F. Kennedy in New York. 1962. Photo: AP

The brighter the character of the original, the more interesting it is to follow the search and implementation of ideas for its reuse. Even if the dry residue is a commercial function and a paradise for insta-selfies against the background of bright architecture. The latter, no matter how funny it sounds, is today one of the strong arguments in favor of preserving the object's individuality. Yes, last year at the New York airport named after Kennedy was opened after the renovation of the morally outdated, but iconic TWA Flight Center.

In the middle of the last century, Eero Saarinen designed a terminal in the form of a "concrete seagull" for Trans World Airways, the leading airline company at that time. Now Saarinen's masterpiece is a hotel for transit passengers, flight attendants and pilots, where the atmosphere of the "golden age of aviation" reigns. By the way, the commercial component of the project is in great question, since JFK was not so badly in need of another hotel, especially since the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the aviation industry. But here I just want to thank the investors, saying: "Thank you for being alive!".

At the New York airport named after Kennedy opened the decrepit but iconic TWA Flight Center

Philanthropy worth hundreds of millions is a rare phenomenon. Since the cost of renovation is not much lower, or even higher, than construction from scratch, investors try to maximize the return from the revival of architectural objects. It is easier to multiply benefits if the new object becomes a collection of functions. And if the project simultaneously solves a number of city-wide infrastructural problems, it will simplify interaction with officials, increase the rating of the customer and the developer as socially responsible stakeholders, and draw public attention to the project. For Millennials and Zoomers, this is important!

TWA Hotel. Photo: MCR Development

For example, MVRDV was recently reported on plans for the redevelopment of the iconic pavilion of the Netherlands, designed by the studio for the EXPO 2000 international exhibition in Hannover, Germany. The innovative building, which became a pioneer of multi-layered eco-design, will be transformed into the office center of a new complex with student apartments and offices. The accelerator of the object's renovation was the Hanover University named after Leibniz, and the municipality of Hanover enthusiastically supported the idea, because the significant exhibition object, although it was an undeniable architectural heritage, was in a deplorable state for many years. The Expo Pavilion 2.0 project is a solution to several problems at once: it solves the shortage of student housing and university offices, preserves an architectural icon, and shapes the identity of a new city district.

Expo Pavilion 2.0 project by MVRDV. Image source: MVRDV

Expo Pavilion 2.0 project by MVRDV. Image source: MVRDV

In Nordhavn — a new district of Copenhagen — old granaries were converted into offices (Portland Towers) and an elite residential building (Silo) with a restaurant on the roof and a sports center in the basement. Danish architects SOVE did not wish to remain hostage to a pronounced industrial image and turned the 62-meter industrial monster into an elegant residential tower, wrapping it in a galvanized steel shell with protruding balcony facets.

View of Orhusgad district from the embankment side along the freeway. Photo: Iryna Isachenko

The interior space of the hollow granary box was transformed into a living space. All 38 multi-level Silo apartments, with ceilings as high as 7 m, were bought while still under construction. Silo interiors, of course, have retained the impression of brutal industrial aesthetics, but the level of comfort fully meets the requirements of the XNUMXst century.


Magic boxes of modernists

When it comes to an architectural object with a pronounced individuality, it is easy for the developers of the marketing and commercial concept of the project to follow the rule of "three T" of Richard Florida: to attract the solvent creative class, using technology, talent and tolerance. Noticeable, accented architecture, even tattered by time, remains emotional. Quirky buildings, which their contemporaries called kitsch and a manifestation of stupid taste, after generations cause people an almost sacred awe. Will anyone dare to deny the architectural value of the Kyiv "House with chimeras" now?

The renovated Dreischeibenhaus is now considered the most prestigious office center in Düsseldorf

The value of modernist architecture and objects of international style for Ukrainians is not so undeniable. But in world practice, the issue of preserving the architectural heritage of the middle and end of the XNUMXth century. it was decided positively a long time ago: to preserve and modernize. Boxes made of glass, steel and concrete with a subtle and thoughtful approach can become truly magical boxes filled with new meanings.

Dreischeibenhaus. Dusseldorf. Photo: Ansgar M. van Treeck

In 2015, the MIRIM Award in the Refurbishment category went to HPP Architects for the modernization of Germany's first skyscraper, the 95-meter Dreischeibenhaus office building in the center of Düsseldorf. In the middle of the XNUMXth century architects Helmut Hentrich and Hubert Petschnig, founders of the HPP studio, designed a tower of three flat rectangular volumes of different heights pressed together. The building with a frame of steel, aluminum and glass of an emphatically simple form was the headquarters of the steel giant ThyssenKrupp for several decades.

For the residents of the city, this high-rise has become the personification of the German economic miracle, a miracle of neoliberalism, an architectural landmark and the main visual landmark. In 2011, HPP Architects returned to modernize their historic project. The renovated Dreischeibenhaus now meets the LEED gold standard for energy efficiency and is considered the most prestigious office center in Düsseldorf.

The Cosmopolitan. Brussels. Photo: Jeroen Verecht. Image source: BOGDAN & VAN BROECK

The Cosmopolitan. Brussels. Photo: Jeroen Verecht. Image source: BOGDAN & VAN BROECK

The Belgian capital, which survived a period of merciless destruction of historical buildings, the so-called Brusselsization, today has a reverent attitude to the survivors, in particular to examples of architecture of the international style, which are often despised and were built, in fact, on the site of demolished bourgeois estates and income houses. However, it would be absurd to take revenge on the buildings!

A high-rise office tower built in the 60s in the center of Brussels, close to the Royal Flemish Theatre, has been transformed by architects Bogdan & Van Broeck into a mixed-use center with housing The Cosmopolitan. By the way, it was Bogdan & Van Broeck Architects who designed several buildings at once for Axel Werdvoordt's Kanaal project. The concept of The Cosmopolitan project was based on the belief that the appearance of new luxury housing in the historical district not only "densifies the city, but also enhances the potential of the location." This project, completed in 2019, was also nominated for the MIPIM 2020 award.


Research Institute "Kyivproyekt": what's wrong?

"An office tower in the center of the city, not far from the theater" - such a description of the Belgian The Cosmopolitan evokes direct associations with one of the most outstanding architectural projects of the Ukrainian capital. More precisely, with the iconic building of the Kyiv Project Research Institute. This example of international style, built according to the project of Ukrainian architects Vadym Ogur and Valentina Kozlova in 1972-1981, is on the verge of a large-scale renovation. The owners of the building, PJSC "Kyivprojekt" company, announced this in September 2019, inviting journalists and architects to participate in the public discussion "The future of the Kyivproject building". Perfect Group and SAGA Development became partners of the owner in the implementation of the KYЇVPROEKT City Space project.

In 2019, the "Agents of Change" team conducted a survey of the territory within a five-minute walking distance around the building of the "Kyivproject" Research Institute and found an imbalance in the ratio of housing, offices, services and places for activity, which inhibits the effective use of this part of the city center. So, the business function in the district is significantly more than the residential one. 62 employees work in offices here, and only 12 people live here.

View of KYЇVPROEKT City Space from the intersection of Tereshchenkovska and Bohdan Khmelnytskyi streets. Kyiv

Euro-urbanists teach us that territories formed exclusively as business centers are economically vulnerable no less than sleeping areas. An equal ratio of business, residential and commercial functions is considered ideal. This allows neighborhoods to remain resilient during periods of economic turbulence and be active 24/7—that is, day, night, and in all seasons. We previously discussed this topic in detail in the article "Balance matters. Mixed-use recipes for an urban environment» in the 15th volume of PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA magazine.

The lively street of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi is part of the "cultural belt of the capital", as several theaters and museums are located nearby. However, on a street with a pedestrian flow of about 800 people per hour (according to the "Agents of Change" study), there is practically no public infrastructure - there are no children's and sports grounds, not enough restaurants where theatergoers could linger after the performances, and there are no places for youth to hang out. The territories around administrative and educational institutions are generally typical gray spots, zones of alienation, where life freezes at the end of the working and school day.

The building of the "Kyivproject" research institute is planned to be turned into a modern mixed-use complex

Surprisingly, despite its central location, the square in the atrium of Kyivproject Research Institute cannot be called lively or active. As well as the building itself, most of the premises of which are rented out to small tenants, and some are empty.

"Dead buildings are bad. There is currently no demand for a project institute of such size. One person with a computer replaces a floor with culmans. Therefore, it is quite logical that it is necessary to review the purpose of this object," says Kyiv urban planner, engineer Dmytro Makagon.

However, the idea of ​​renovating such an important and significant building in the history of Kyiv caused a mixed reaction. Some of Kyiv's architects and activists are convinced that the city's infrastructure is already overloaded, and maybe it's not so bad if the "Kyivproyekt" tower and its medium-story frontal building overlooking Bohdan Khmelnytskyi continue quietly to age.

According to Dmytro Makagon, such rigidity of public opinion is natural: "Truly, our society has developed an a priori negative attitude towards any changes regarding the existing buildings. Probably because too many historical buildings have been destroyed and now any intervention is viewed negatively. Although this applies to modernist buildings to a lesser extent. Their fate rather worries a handful of professionals. I myself am a supporter of modernism. However, I repeat, dead buildings have no place in the city. And I have great confidence in the executors of the concept, I think they should turn out a successful project."


Anton Friedlyand:

We call it the "House of New Urban Culture"

The creative concept of KYЇVPROEKT City Space was developed by the Ukrainian writer, journalist and screenwriter Anton Fridlyand, who works on the project as the creative director of SAGA Development.

Ukrainian writer, journalist and screenwriter Anton Friedlyand

PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA: What, in your opinion, is the main reason for the current stagnation of Kyiv Project? It would seem that there are all the ingredients for consistent activation: a unique location two steps from Khreshchatyk, a glorious history, modernist charm, the genius of the location. However, the place is frankly unpopular. What is missing?

Anton Friedlyand: The above is more about form than content. As for today's content of the "Kyivproject", it is mostly memories of the glorious past. In recent years, this building has become a shelter for a large number of small offices of companies that are not connected by a common mission and function. The purpose of the renovation is to fill this place with content that would be interesting for all citizens, regardless of their views and status. We plan to create an ecosystem here that unites architecture and design, education and business, art and technology. This will be possible thanks to the creation of a system of "anchors", each of which will attract a certain audience: Fashion LAB, Healthy LAB, Smart LAB, Education LAB, Media LAB, Kids LAB and Kitchen LAB.

R.M.: Architectural renovation is only one of the conditions for a reboot. What else needs to be done to fill KYЇVPROEKT City Space with new meanings and make it super attractive?

A. F.: This is already the second project in which SAGA Development participates, called "City Space". The first is SAGA City Space on Sagaidachnogo Street, which is preparing to open. Definition "City Space" is a multifunctional object that combines residential and office functions, as well as shopping, restaurant, entertainment, educational, social, etc. In our company, we call it the "House of Culture" — the home of a new urban culture: dynamic, media, energetic.

"We plan to create an ecosystem here that unites architecture and design, education and business, art and technology"

R.M.: In order to meet the slogan "The place where trends are born", KYЇVPROEKT City Space must compete with TSUM, where showrooms of Ukrainian and international fashion brands are currently concentrated. TSUM also has its glorious history and powerful marketing and creative support. Don't you think that the "trend generator" niche is already occupied in this square kilometer?

A. F.: In my opinion, trends are not a niche concept, but a global one. I can't imagine anyone seriously declaring: we don't need more new trends, we already have everything we need. We do not seek competition with TSUM, we will simply be different. The superpower of KYЇVPROEKT City Space lies in the openness, diversity and synergy of its most advanced residents.

R.M.: What is the main benefit for the city and its citizens from the future renovation of the object?

A. F.: Like any metropolis, Kyiv needs many centers of gravity — places where you can go not only for shopping or entertainment, but also for new discoveries and self-improvement. Chat with like-minded people in one of the labs, make business contacts in a co-working space, visit a new exhibition, lecture, concert — all this will be possible at KYЇVPROEKT. Plus, of course, shopping, entertainment, cafes, and restaurants. We count on the fact that KYЇVPROEKT City Space will become just such a center of attraction for people who want to change Kyiv for the better.


Learn more about plans

The building of the "Kyivproject" research institute is planned to be turned into a modern mixed-use complex. In addition to offices and residential apartments, in the main tower, a large part of the square meters of the new KYЇVPROEKT City Space will be allocated to 7 clusters, which marketers defined by the trendy word "laboratories" — lab. Fashion lab (boutiques, showrooms), Healthy lab (fitness and SPA), Smart lab (flagship gadget and equipment stores), Education lab (space for lectures and co-working spaces), Kids lab (entertainment center, workshops, architecture school), Media lab (hall for press conferences, broadcast studio, mini-cinema), Kitchen lab (supermarket, delicatessen, food court, restaurants and cafes). Such functional diversity should become a guarantee of the object's success even during an economic storm.

The renovation makes it possible to bring the historical function of the Kyiv Project Research Institute to a new level — to create a full-fledged architectural hub, a flexible space for the development, discussions and presentations of urban and architectural ideas for the capital and beyond.

View of KYЇVPROEKT City Space from the intersection of Tereshchenkovska and Bohdan Khmelnytskyi streets. Kyiv

Under the atrium, where the fountain is located, it is planned to build an underground parking lot for 500 spaces, relieving the surrounding streets and yards of randomly parked cars. But the plot in the heart of the block, between the Kyiv Project tower and the school, which is currently used as a banal parking lot, will be transformed into a full-fledged public square - with an amphitheater, terraces and stylish landscape design. Two passages will provide an open through passage from Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Street to the square and towards Prorizna.

It is planned to make a winter garden on the roof of the front section, which will also be made publicly available. By itself, this element will immediately emphasize the status of the object. According to Lyudmila Bilodid, a landscape architect and full member of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD), "green architecture is a must-have in the design of representative and infrastructure facilities. And it is quite natural that such a large-scale reconstruction project of the Research Institute, which has become an incubator for a good half of Kyiv's architectural objects, involves not only the landscaping of the yard, but also the creation of a separate all-season green space" (Ludmila spoke in detail about the role of greenhouses in the life of a modern metropolis in the article "Do not part with summer. Indoor gardens» in the 7th volume of PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA.).

Green architecture is a must have in the design of representative and infrastructure facilities

Here I would like to cite as an example the project that won at MIRIM this year: the main feature of the renovation of the historic building of the Diamond Exchange in Amsterdam, which was transformed into the center of creative industries Capital C Amsterdam, was the High Light dome-greenhouse on the roof. The team of architects (ZJA, HEYLIGERS design + projects, Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau, Müller van Tol) came to the conclusion that the shimmering (and illuminated at night) superstructure on the roof in no way diminishes the charisma of Gerrit van Arkel's original architecture, on the contrary, it emphasizes it.

Returning to the topic of updating the Kyiv landmark, we can add that, judging by the first published renderings, the building will retain its strict modernist appearance, but at the same time will increase in volume. The tower, in which residential apartments are designed, will be 8 floors higher. For Kyiv in the 80s, the 16-story building of Ogur and Kozlova may also have seemed too high. However, the genius of the modernist project also consisted in the fact that the architectural dominant sunk deep into the quarter did not "press" on the surroundings.

Evening view of KYЇVPROEKT City Space from Tereshchenkivska Street. Kyiv

The developers of the architectural concept of the renovation propose to visually lighten the silhouette by using different materials on the facade: the stylobate should be sewed in noble gray granite, the superstructure on its roof should be made of glass, thus turning it into a spectacular city "lighthouse", and the vent facade of the tower should be decorated in black and white (the last 5 floors) with marble.

One can endlessly argue about the ethics of building elite real estate in a not the most prosperous environment with a heavy burden of social problems. However, the stage of architectural asceticism was passed during the times of the USSR. If the city really needs modern public spaces and incubators for the generation of new innovative projects, isn't it more prudent to pragmatically use the opportunities of private investors in the name of common interests?