Residential highrise in Moscow

7. Residential



From all the surrounding streets, a 14-storied building is visible at the front end of a residential quarter. The front of the building is north-facing, meaning it doesn’t ever catch direct sunlight; it is always in the shade and, therefore, appears to be visually flat and uninteresting.

To create a volumentic facade one would need to create a play of shades, glare and flacks that simply doesn’t occur naturally on the northern side. But if glass — matte, glazed and transparent — is used to finish the facade, the northern orientation turns out to be a benefit rather than a disadvantage.

The trick resides in ‘breaking’ the flat surface of the facade with inflections and bends by angling the glass panels and adding bay-windows. A ‘fractured’ glass facade, when re-reflecting the reflected sunlight works as a mirror and produces sparks and glare, so it sparkles like a diamond, or rather like an emerald, since the economical types of glass used tend to have a green hue.

But this is not the only optical effect that this building has up its sleeve. As direct sunlight only reaches the southern facade, the staircase spans and elevator shafts are designed to ‘pierce’ through every storey of the building, creating a ‘lantern’ effect.