Court Etiquette


Well-designed courtyards are becoming an important element of housing projects

For many of us, the urban environment begins with the yard of the house. And what citizens see when they leave their entrance becomes today one of the main criteria in choosing housing. This was discussed at the Urban Forum in Moscow in July.

Developers attract the best landscape designers and architects to create unique areas near houses. After all, the task is not as simple as it may seem at first sight. The yard of the house should be beautiful and comfortable and at the same time meet rather strict regulatory requirements.

"The content of the yard is strictly regulated by the codes and Moscow city building codes, - says Olga Melnikova, chief architect of architectural and urban planning bureau Master's Plan. - Among the mandatory: there should be recreation areas for adults, playgrounds for children, sports fields for all ages. The percentage of green areas is regulated according to the area. However, even a playground is a rather complex object. According to Amir Idiatulin, general director of IND Architects studio, the playground is zoned for pre-schoolers, elementary school students, teenagers from 10 to 15 years old - different age groups need different height of equipment and different play activities. For supporters of a healthy lifestyle, you can provide in the yard complex popular today street walkout (sports in the open air). A well-equipped floor area for floor exercise will be an additional competitive advantage.

The task becomes even more difficult when the "users" of the yard are not only residents. What to do if the complex, as it often happens now, is multifunctional, combining residential and non-residential areas? According to Olga Melnikova, if the complex has non-residential areas, there is usually a "division of functions" - non-residential areas are serviced from the outside and the yards are kept private. But this is the case if non-residential premises are located on the first floors. If the project has whole buildings with different functions, arranging the yard becomes even more interesting. For example, in the complex "Iskra-Park" at Leningradsky prospect, where in addition to the residential apartments there is an office building, on the territory of 15 thousand square meters there will be different functional zones for the rest of the residents of the apartments and the employees of the office center. Ecological Iskra-Park will be accentuated by a 50 kW electric vehicle charging station to be installed in the guest parking area between the office center and the building with the apartments. Architectural bureau SPEECH, who developed the concept of landscaping, highlighted the patio area with the possibility of placing tables for board games and garden furniture. In addition, the project provides playgrounds for three age groups with a safe rubber surface, separated from each other by a hedge. In the eastern part of the site is a landscaped recreation area for the staff of the business center. According to the head of the bureau Sergey Tchoban, in the development of the project it was important to create a stylistic unity of the architectural design of the buildings, the nature of the landscaping and the interiors of the public areas. "In our opinion, only this kind of complex, end-to-end design can provide a comfortable urban environment, attractive both from afar and from a distance," - believes the architect. If we talk about landscape design, according to experts, today in fashion "imitation of nature" and the use of different textures and natural materials. And although such solutions are not cheap, in the future you can save on yard maintenance. Depending on the class of the project costs for yard landscaping varies greatly. According to Olga Melnikova, if developers spend about 5% for courtyard landscaping in comfortable and economy class complexes, then in premium class complexes this figure can reach 15%. Amir Idiatulin considers such costs to be justified: a cheap improvement will quickly become old, and high-quality coatings are safer and more durable. "For example, granite paving stones, quality concrete paving stones, ceramic clinker bricks behave well in our climate," says the architect. The climatic factor must also be taken into account in the design of landscaping: plants should not freeze out and normally tolerate hot summers.

"At the stage of designing the landscaping, the architect takes into account the cost of operation of the proposed solutions," continues Amir Idiatulin. - Not everything that is suitable for a premium project is suitable for, for example, comfort class projects. Complex landscaping project with ingenious landscaping, which requires regular maintenance, will be more expensive to operate, and the cost of its maintenance will fall on the shoulders of the residents. Shrubs and trees that need to be shaped according to the project, ornamental ponds, fountains that need to be maintained, would be inappropriate in an inexpensive housing.

But in the expensive residential complex it will all look quite organic. The head of NOOR Architects Mikhail Belyakov considers that the fountain in the courtyard is one of the good practices. Developers don't use it very often, he says, since there are still issues with maintenance, but if there are similar offers, the buyer will definitely prefer the project with a fountain. Creating small oases in the yards, walking alleys - this is the main trend for the coming years. If we talk about finishing, according to Olga Melnikova, we see the desire to use natural materials - stone and wood. All this adds the "nature" to the arrangement of the inner yard. So, in the project of Wine House elite residential quarter, located on Sadovnicheskaya Street, in the center of the courtyard there is a fountain, pedestrian walkways paved with granite and decking, small architectural forms made of natural materials are placed.

Planning solutions of the yard should also solve purely practical problems, reminds Amir Idiatulin. So, despite the fact that the main trend today is the creation of "yards without cars," some transport will still come - couriers, delivery, special transport. "To "slow it down", road curves and green islands are designed," says the architect. - There are many solutions beyond the usual "speed bumps.

As a trend of the future, Mikhail Belyakov considers vertical gardening of facades - a kind of "hanging gardens of Semiramis", which can already be found in premium and luxury residential complexes. Also a great addition to the general improvement will be operated roofs on which you can put restaurants and cafes for residents.

A quote for the theme

Partner of AI-archi tects Ivan Kolmanok:

Working with the urban landscape, with the improvement of adjacent areas requires an individual and thoughtful approach, meticulous planning and pedantic execution. The yard should be looked at comprehensively, so that there could be activities for residents of different ages and interests