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Nikola-Lenivets. Artresidence ( 2013-05-13 )

Architects: Sergey Serdyukov, Grigory Solomin, Nikolay Novichkov, Ivan Kuryachy, Alain Harinkin
Customer: ArchPolis
Location: Nikola-Lenivets, Kaluga region
Year of projecting: 2012v Total area: 100 ha

The project concept is based on the principles of sustainable development (land development including) and a complex interaction of several key layers forming Nikola-Lenivets and defining its uniqueness:
-nature: existing natural location, including the Ugra National Park;
-space: long-standing stable models of land use of existing villages, a new developing structure of the art-cluster;
-social medium and culture: existing successful village communities naturally introduced to new processes of creating the art-cluster in Nikola-Lenivets; new creative communities out of big cities;
-economics: stable interaction of major project participants: inhabitants of art-residences, visitors of camping, events organizers and their guests, inhabitants of adjacent villages, local and regional municipalities, and so on.
The main characteristics of the landscape to preserve and develop within this project are as follows:
- routing, distance between separate activity zones: objets d'art, villages, wood clearings;
- space sparsity: open territories creating large-scale perception of the whole ensemble;
- interaction with the ambient space through objets d'art: thus creating new effects against the background of habitual landscape of the Russian plain; the already existing pattern of the territory application has a number of characteristics needed to be changed:
- co-located transportation and pedestrian flows: present separated activity zones are connected only through auto roads, also used by pedestrians in the absence of other choices. The project suggests the development of positive trends of this territory and change of the negative ones through a grand-scale element destined to unify all the isolated objects of Nikola-Lenivets ensemble. Nokolaline is a linear structure providing for the shortest route from Zvizzhi village up to the projected location of art-residences, and also setting the route for the next destination point – Shadeevo village. Nokolaline is threading all the activity zones, thus becoming the primary all-year-round way of interconnecting them: this structure provides for pedestrian, cycling and ski flows. This allows to completely separate in space the auto road network from the pedestrian and cycling network (a basic element of Nichola-Lenivets communication network). While creating this structure, the ecosystem of the park shall remain undisturbed, no capital construction introduced, only application of temporary and non-harmful methods: embankments, decks, as well as functional land objets d'art (lamps, navigation elements, teahouses along the way, etc.). The projected elevated water tank near Koltsovo village may become a central unifying element of Nikolaline. It might be used as a navigation element and a viewing platform performing the entire structure of the linear route.
Park House: House on haystacks (a wordplay – House on 100ha). Nikolaline becomes a corridor along which the house rooms (spaces of certain functionality) are created in the open air. These spaces are formed as regular-shaped meadows, cut-out in the young forest, or instead, planted along the perimeter of the forest. Thus, the scale game emphasizes the space sparsity as one of the main features of the territory. At the same time, this technique allows to create a comfortable space for living for both art-residents and camping guests, avoiding fences and other artificial elements of space separation. Compliance of each room with its relevant specific function provides for creating a self-intuitive and easily-implemented system of navigation in the area of 100 hectares. Following the best traditions of the Russian house management, this structure can be gradually completed and expanded by adding new rooms. Nature becomes a home. In such a case, the space itself is an objet d'art and becomes a natural continuation of the existing approach to the interaction with Nichola-Lenivets territory. A kind of rural metabolism. The fundamental solution for residential spaces of art-residences was influenced by two poles: the desire to introduce residential spaces to their fullest into the surrounding natural context, and the necessity to comply with tight constraints on buildings area, objectively provisioned by energy efficiency requirements. This dilemma has been resolved in mergering these two opposites - the buildings shall be constructed from the zero point – a minimum heated winter house as a core of the variable structure. This core shall be surrounded by a number of unheated rooms inhabited in autumn and spring. The maximum penetration of the house into the landscape is realized due to the third circuit - summer half-open and open spaces, dissolving the boundary between nature and dwelling premises. Use of seasonal spaces in this architectural solution increases the cost-effectiveness and rationality of energy resources application, while expanding the use of the surrounding landscape by art-residents. This is complemented by application of modern engineering systems: solar panels and collectors, continuous burning stoves or gas generators, walls insulated with ecowool. In this context, the architectural solution is presented as a system or model, allowing developing a broad range of projects of various functionalities: public buildings, amenities, residential premises, etc. This architectural approach creates a case and social-and-economic model. Based on the analysis of the world experience in establishing art-residences, a few ideas have been adopted for Nichola-Lenivets project. Main idea is to organize a big art-residence (accommodating more than 100 potential residents at the same time) as a multi-system with a number of additional spheres of activity supporting the basic function. Such system may be used in a greater context and might comprise a tourist function (agritourism, ecotourism, hiking, etc.), educational function (courses, workshops, etc.), event function (concerts, fests, exhibitions, etc.) and so on. Nevertheless, all these occasional events should be in addition to and not in lieu of the main project mission, they should be organized in a proper way to attract more visitors and communities to Nikola-Lenivets, thus culturally and intellectually enriching and developing the whole project. In order to form an economically sustainable model, a number of independent financial sources should be used in parallel: government (grants in the field of culture/arts, federal target programs), sponsors/patrons, individuals/visitors of held events.