Together is more – new urban block


In the Moscow region, a new satellite city for 150.000 people is planned. For this project, the local developer “Masshtab” organised a competition for a residential block in which Urbans Dynamics and Urban Matter (architects) took part. The main concept of our proposal explores the evolution of a traditional city structure that usually is shaped by streets and building blocks with courtyards inside. In our design the blocks are adaptable, orientated towards the street and have a unified appearance with room for individual identity.

CITY. The city, which is mainly composed of building blocks, acquires a complementary urban quality from the public space of streets and squares together with the private domain of houses and courtyards. These serve as collective shared green space and can be opened during the daytime to other people in the neighbourhood, like children and the elderly. This way a green network is created in parallel to the main public space.

BUILDING BLOCK. The building blocks towards the public space express a mixture of collective identity with the same facade material as well as an individual identity with distinctive designs for windows, doors and the private outdoor spaces for each individual building volume. The collective green courtyard forms a meeting place for residents and potential visitors from other building blocks. In contrary to the public space outside the block, it provides a sheltered and protected environment.

SYSTEM. The modular building system provides a variety of building units with their own distinctive typology. Building modules vary in size from 4 to 46 dwellings and can be freely composed within a rigid 7,5m grid. Within the system the units are stacked together in a way that optimizes vertical access, orientation, views for all apartments and provides spatial and functional diversity.

The active base, the ground floor, animates the street by accommodating a mixed-use programme and many direct entrances to the apartments. The height of the ground level was raised to 4,5m to allow commercial and social activities. Making, thus the programme adaptable for the future and adds economical sustainability.

The access to the apartments was optimised by using a diver system of vertical access points, direct entrances from the street, courtyard and special roof streets. This system minimises the amount of lifts and staircases and avoids unpleasant galleries and corridors. For example, all apartments at the first three levels have direct access from the street level. Special roof streets on the third and fifth floors provide access to two-level houses, lofts and penthouses.

The parking solution is a combination of two systems. One is the traditional parking, half sunk under the courtyard. Its green roof is an integral part of the courtyard landscape. Another system is a mechanical parking in ten levels. It is a part of the building volume and has advantages of being an economical and sustainable structure. The combination of two systems provides place for 160 cars. The rest of the parking and guest parking are located on the street. The courtyard stays green, car-free and children-friendly.

Within this block we achieved a great diversity of residential units: ground-accessed apartments, lofts, studios, tower flats with extended views, penthouses, residential units with extra working spaces and roof houses in two levels. Such diverse mix of typologies enriches the living environment and creates space for individual expression. In addition to being socially sustainable, it provides a lot of individual and communal green areas, activated roofs and interesting visual connections between the street and the courtyard.

Proposed modular building system for the residential block is easy to adopt for different locations and is flexible in its north-south orientation. To achieve this within strict Russian isolation regulations, 90 percent of all apartments have a double-side orientation. It increases quality of living and allows great views for all.



Project: design | Client: Masshtab/Residential Block for Moscow Satellite City competition | Team: in collaboration with Urban Matter | Year: 2010