Designing a Neighborhood

UNStudio’s award-winning design of a residential complex in Moscow incorporates the historical heritage of the region and contributes to the formation of community-based, healthy living for the residents

UNStudio’s award-winning design of a residential complex in Moscow

Fact File
Client: The Glavstroy LLC
Competition operator: Citymakers International
Visualisation: & ZOA 3D (As Per Image)

The new 118.000 m2 multifunctional 1.93-hectare complex includes a courtyard park, 71,000 m2 of housing, a kindergarten, fitness center, commercial spaces, and underground parking. The development is designed to create a prototype of future living that puts the wellbeing of the residents first, encourages indoor-outdoor living, and provides a range of sustainable social opportunities in the rapidly changing urban environment.

K31 Courtyard
The design for K31 Courtyard fuses two typical residential building typologies; a stepped podium which surrounds a private courtyard, and two towers that face each other diagonally so as to provide the best possible view corridors for all the residents and enable increased daylight for the apartments. The podium, with its stepped terraces, is designed to provide sufficient sunlight for the apartments that face the inner courtyard. These stepped terraces also create a unique feature, as they can be used for additional amenities for the adjoining apartments.

The development offers a wide range of apartment types and layouts. Typology division is made in such a way that it minimizes the separation of different social groups, while entrances and common spaces are shared by all. The main amenities are also located on the threshold between apartment types.

Community Building
UNStudio’s award-winning design of a residential complex in Moscow
For K31 Courtyard the notion of ‘a neighborhood’ has multiple dimensions. Referencing the old-style Moscow courtyard, which was quiet and private, while also being accessible and safe, the development is designed to extend horizontally and connect to the city by means of the transparency and impermeability of the ground level. Playgrounds and green recreation spaces in the courtyard are also visually connected to pedestrian routes on the outer perimeter of the block.

Neighbourhoods can also develop vertically to promote connections between people who live around the same stairwell by means of shared intermediate amenity spaces, while two dedicated communal areas can be found on top of the podium at the foot of each tower. These areas accommodate co-working spaces, sports facilities, and a clubhouse.

The stepping roof terraces create a further diagonal neighbourhood, where the roof apartments on the podium can be personalised by adding curated terrace units such as verandas, orangeries, or greenhouses.

An intricate variety in the facade design is achieved through use of a parametrically modelled modular system, which also enables circularity in the construction method. A combination of modules with windows, bay windows, french balconies, and standard loggias is introduced in a strong grid. This results in increased apartment types, with numerous indoor-outdoor variations.

To enhance the strong characteristics of the podium and the two towers, the horizontal functional division is made recognisable in the facade design. The podium facade on the outer perimeter uses brick and black metal to resemble the surrounding buildings and preserve the heritage of the location as a former industrial territory.

UNStudio’s award-winning design of a residential complex in Moscow

The two towers that top the podium have panoramic windows and loggias. The light materialisation and colour of the towers, which includes large glazed reflecting surfaces, is designed to give a less weighty appearance. This is especially important when viewed from the courtyard, so that that the volumes of the towers appear to visually dissolve into the sky, thus increasing the sensation of an open inner space.

The inner facade of the courtyard employs a similar lightness to the tower volumes, with natural wood creating a strong connection to the green, tree-planted courtyard.