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FIRST LOOK

Architects of Invention completes two offices in Moscow

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The London-based practice, with offices in Moscow, Tbilisi and Lithuania, has completed two headquarters buildings, one of which features Russia’s first floor-to-floor glazed façade

Pharmaceutical HQ

This project involved the complete demolition of an existing four-storey office block on a tight site in Moscow’s historic city centre, replacing it with a seven-storey office building with a single-level underground car park and public space at the base of the building.

The site boundary defined the building’s shape, suggesting two rectilinear volumes – merged with an angular rotation and served by a common lift -– as the most practical use of the space. The façade responds to and emphasises the meeting point of the two blocks with an altered, diagonal rhythm of the Jura marble fins that cover the building. The window panels are recessed from the fins by 400mm to give privacy and deflect solar glare.

Architects of invention pharmaceutical hq photo credit nakanimamasakhlisi photo labv a2a4993

Architects of invention pharmaceutical hq photo credit nakanimamasakhlisi photo labv a2a4993

Source: Nakani Mamasakhlisi

The different heights of the buildings’ volumes ensure observation of local rights of light and allow different responses to the surrounding buildings: the seven-storey volume responds to the higher blocks behind it, while the lower invites access via the courtyard, drawing attention to the entrance as there is no direct street access.

Sunken terraces to the east and the west of the building can be accessed from the lobby, a double-height space with an 8m-long reception desk and a facility area. Architects of Invention designed ‘Pringle’ light fittings in lightweight, translucent acrylic, which diffuse and reflect downlighting from above. The stairs, floor surfaces and reception desk are finished in Jura marble and the walls are finished with white, back-painted glass panels.

The first-floor office cantilevers over the lobby, with the four floors above housing the main staff body. The seventh floor is dedicated to senior management and has an outdoor terrace with views over Moscow. 

Project data

Gross internal area 7,000m²
Construction cost $20 million ($2,850/m²)
Client Insigma Development
Interior (common areas) Architects of Invention
Structural engineer Engenuiti, Fioravanti
M&E engineer Fioravanti
Main contractor Glaskek
Execution and site supervision Architects of Invention
CAD software used AutoCAD, Sketchup
Lead London team Nikoloz Japaridze, Anton Khmelnitskiy
Moscow Executive team Michael Eichner, Carmen Gallano, Magdalini Giannakidi, Petras Isora, Ivane Ksnelashvili, Daniel Lareau, Davit Tsanava, Nikita Tsymbal

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

Pharmaceutical HQ ground floor plan

Corporate HQ

The second building, located in downtown Moscow, occupies an entire street block and encompasses an existing two-storey historical building surrounded by stucco-fronted public buildings and residential blocks, near Paveletskaya railway station.

The norm for a building of this scale in this area would have been an ornate, Neo-Classical façade, but Architects of Invention achieved a landmark planning decision by gaining permission for a continuous glass façade, arguing that the fritting on the glass served as decoration. The white dot frit simulates raindrops, the pattern increasing in density with the height of building, giving the façade a more solid appearance and protecting it from glare and excessive solar gain.

A2a3919

A2a3919

Source: Nakani Mamasakhlisi

The project comprises two connected volumes – a new-build 14-storey, rectangular office building and a seven-storey hotel with multistorey, underground car park and hotel – arranged at right angles around the existing two-storey building on the site. Architects of Invention stretched the ground-floor plan to the site boundaries, while truncating the plans above the second storey so that the façade appears ‘blade-like’ from one of the key sightlines. 

To reduce the visual bulk, structural elements have been used to dissect the buildings, delineating the second and seventh floors to reflect the heights of the historic building and hotel respectively. The buildings are connected by two glazed bridge walkways that give office users access to the hotel’s facilities.

Project data

Gross internal area 37,000m²
Construction cost $60 million ($1,600/m²)
Client Insigma Development
Interior (common areas) Architects of Invention
Structural Engineer MB Project
M&E Engineer MB Project
Main Contractor MB Project
Execution & Site Supervision Architects of Invention
CAD software used AutoCAD, Sketchup
London Office lead team Nikoloz Japaridze, Anton Khmelnitskiy Magdalini Giannakidi, Petras Isora, Ivane Ksnelashvili, Daniel Lareau, Moritz Reinisch, Davit Tsanava,
Site supervision Moscow Office: Michael Eichner, Nikita Tsymbal

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

Corporate HQ ground floor plan

Architect’s view

Given the architectural styles of the surrounding buildings, which range from 19th-century Neo-Classical through the various periods of Soviet architecture, it became obvious to us that we had to use a contemporary language for this structure, a singular materiality. We had to simplify the geometry and the edges of the building to achieve more unified and efficient plans.

Anton Khmelnitskiy, director, Architects of Invention

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