Dualism / Leon Cheah, Carmen Au Yiting, Chang Yuen Teng, Afshin Alipoor, Tan Wan Zheng, Veronica Tan Yen Ching, Low Choon Yong / Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Urban to Site+Concept
Yaroslavl is a city with strong introvert character. The strong heritage and historical background of the city is unheard of and undiscovered by most people compared to its neighbouring city, St. Petersburg and Moscow.
One of the existing qualities in Yaroslavl is the opposing values that demarcates the outside and inside of an element. This is visible in the macro context based on the urban block pattern analysis defined by the hierarchy of societal function during the period. Streets and buildings at the historic centre of the city, Slobody, were arranged in a radial manner, emphasizing on the cathedrals and monasteries. The urban block patterns are harmonious and uniform as it expand outwards towards the West with wide streets and urban squares. Each urban block is defined by their single use of either residential, commercial, administration, industrial, institutional, or recreational purposes.
The architecture within Yaroslavl has a strong contrast of both subtle and expressive qualities. In terms of building style and form, the historical centre is filled with denser Russian Orthodox churches with onion cupolas, and monastic ensembles. Emerging towards the West, the number of churches is reduced and dominated by Neo classical residential and public buildings of two to three storeys high.
Apart from the building style and form, a church is also analysed as having strong contrast in its character. A Russian Orthodox church stands itself as a massive, calm building where only few colours are used, very often in white, green and gold. It contains valuable mural paintings and iconstases that provides visual vibrancy. According to Varia Makagonova (2013), Russians keep a serious image in public, reserving small talks for private conversation only. It shows the distinctive traits one sets for disclosure depending on the level of intimacy. Yaroslavl is filled with layers of wonders in its art and history, yet to be uncovered to the world.
Looking into the site, Yuny Spartakovets Stadium and its surrounding existing elements also features distinctive character in terms of texture and view. Hard texture can be experienced at the southwest of the site where the Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral stands while soft texture is prevailing at Peace
Boulevard park located the northeast of the site. In visual terms, vertical element at the church gradually loses its strength towards the park where horizontal lines are emphasized.
The study of urban block pattern, building style, form, Russian Orthodox churches, and site in Yaroslavl sums up to the notion of the site having two opposing extremes happening on a single entity. It is used as a base for our design strategy.
Our proposal involves a gradual transformation at the longitudinal axis of the site featuring the process of revelation towards a new form from one end to the other. It is experienced through that directional movement where the concealed inner core slowly unwraps itself to reveal the excitement contained inside. Moving from another direction gives the opposite experience where it deforms towards the other end. This symbolically represents the two extremes.
The unwrapped part of façade which are also the openings allow prevailing glimpse of the inside. At night, interior lights that illuminates lures people inside. The interior consist of pockets of spaces for public use holding different function and activity. On the outlook, spaces are fragmented which opposes to the interior where the spaces are actually joined to form a huge continuous space.
The simple and straight angled surface at the exterior portrays a subtle character in respond towards the surrounding context and humble to the nearby historical churches. Same character is showcased in the façade where it is intended to be cold and dull with interesting happenings inside. Concrete laid at the exterior wall expresses the cold and calm side of the building. In contrast, interior form is more expressive with the use of organic curves which creates a different experience. Arched laminated timber is used as the main support structure of the interior. Entering the building gives the users the opportunity to unwrap and discover the interesting interior.
The ravine, representing an important historical element is preserved and beautified by proposed landscapes on site. It features as an entrance for the users into the site. The existing jogging track around the building is retained with some parts along the track intersected by a pond. A ramp is continued from the jogging track, at the northwest end of the site, upwards to the observation deck above the roof. Users are benefitted by the view across the street towards the Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral.
Movement into the building involves mediating from the perimeter of the building into an entrance greeted by a partially exposed pond extended from the ravine. Users are welcomed by the reception in the lobby as one enters the building from both sides of the cross section. The lobby is connected to the temporary exhibition and performance area. The exterior pool is seen connecting to the interior occupying the middle portion which separates the building into two entity. The other side has another entrance from the longitudinal section of the building where users approach the secondary lobby leading to the permanent exhibition area and cafeteria.
Exhibitions are divided into permanent and temporary usage. Permanent exhibition holds exhibits that will be remained all-year round. Temporary exhibition on the other end holds exhibits on a seasonal basis. It is a flexible space which also serves as a stage to cater for performances during events. Seats for the spectators are arranged such that their view is orientated towards the Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral which makes a scenic performance backdrop. The view also opens up to capture the moments of processions and parade as the key activities during the city’s main celebration. Stalls are located at the outside connecting to the public.
A sliding façade system reveals the feature pool which turns into an ice rink for skiing during winter. The void created directs an axis towards the Church of St. Nicholas, another prominent historical element on site.
Overall proposal seeks to inform the introvert character of Yaroslavl taking two main extremes as design strategy. Flexible spaces, expressive interior and activity introduced activate the site. Its material use and appearance stays humble and complements the site.