Faces in Architecture Andrey Romanov

Architecture bureau: ADM
Links: facebook, Instagram
Partners: Andrey Romanov & Ekaterina Kuznetsova
Project: Malaya Ordynka 19
Client: SMINEX
Location: Moscow, Russian Federation

To become better, it’s essential to communicate with the best. Today, I had the honor of speaking with one of Moscow’s strongest architects, Andrey Romanov. He is a founder of the architectural firm ADM (Architectural Dialogue with the Metropolis), in partnership with Ekaterina Kuznetsova. During our conversation, we discussed several fascinating topics. Let’s get acquainted with them in order.

Form Creation and Concept Affirmation

I’m always curious about how the idea forms for fellow architects (particularly those that eventually take a realized shape). According to Andrey, there isn’t a simple answer as to why ADM’s recent high-rise projects chose such an approach to form creation. It’s worth noting that we mainly discussed ADM’s recent projects, which are high-rise (10 or more stories) and where textures like brick are no longer feasible. However, Andrey pointed out three important blocks to keep in mind when searching for a form, ensuring the project’s realization.

1) Architect's Interests Aligning with the City’s Interests

The first block — the form’s alignment with Moscow’s general development course, developed by Mayor Sobyanin’s team and Moscow’s chief architect Kuznetsov, as a city of the future. Interestingly, Andrey particularly emphasized Sergey Semyonovich’s involvement in these processes, which, frankly, is pleasing. I think this has contributed to Moscow overtaking many world capitals in terms of external attractiveness in recent years.

2) Building as a Sculpture

The second block Andrey mentioned is the direct search for form. For ADM’s high-rise projects, the plasticity of the form is created from glass surfaces, which are the building’s main texture. This is primarily due to the scale, incomparable with low-rise buildings, where small details simply won’t be discernible. Andrey compared this form creation to urban sculpture. Very apt, in my opinion, and here’s why. This concept itself associates with something unusual, noteworthy to the extent that the sterile urban environment is disrupted by an unexpected form, becoming an unconscious center of attraction for the layperson. For instance, I often find myself reaching for the camera to capture the object itself or what forms its composition.

3) Premium Class

Finally, the third and most pragmatic block mentioned by Andrey is the project’s classification by price category. The projects we discussed above are inherently expensive. Not every client has the means to implement unconventional architecture and engineering solutions. Therefore, ADM carefully and deliberately chooses developer partners to implement projects. According to Andrey, they do not work with 'random clients' and are likely to decline such cooperation. The logic is as follows:

  • If a client approaches ADM, it means they like the projects.
  • Consequently, the potential client shares similar ideas about how architecture should look.
  • Working with such a client, one can predict how they will react to various architectural proposals.
  • This means no major conflicts, realization of the bureau’s creative potential, and as a result, excellent architecture.

Andrey says they often refuse to cooperate with developers whose views differ from theirs. Such careful selection of partners helps them avoid futile arguments over why they did something a particular way. ADM’s approach is something to learn from. However, it’s important to remember that the opportunity to choose must be earned. One should not forget that years of hard work and an impeccable portfolio back ADM.

Speaking of the portfolio, one of the key projects that introduced me to ADM is SMINEX, located at Malaya Ordynka, 19. The renders of this project made quite a noise at the time. From a technical point of view, everything was elaborated down to the hand-laid bricks on the facade. Many then did not expect the project’s and renders' realization to be so literal. Don’t believe it? Go see for yourself if, for some reason, you haven’t witnessed this beauty firsthand. Andrey noted that although high-rise buildings have prevailed in the last one and a half years, they take equal pleasure in developing intimate projects like SMINEX. And we, of course, look forward to such project implementations.

Thank you!
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