Superprofits as an objective evi

A "breakfast with the chief architect of Moscow, Sergey Kuznetsov," organized by the Vedomosti newspaper and the association REPA, took place at MARSH. Moderated by special correspondent of "Vedomosti" Natalia Samarina.

The theme of the breakfast was infill development in the city center, but the conversation quickly expanded to the megatreme of all such breakfasts - the relationship between the architect and the developer. The chief architect insisted that the developer is the best client, because it is he who pays, and not the city community (which, by and large, does not yet exist), and therefore one should not think that the developer is evil and cynical and praise Western developers, whom Russian architects do not yet know, because the Western market has not yet taken over. The other architects who spoke later were more critical.

Developers were in the minority. Oleg Mamaev, the president of Leader-Invest, said on behalf of the developers that the task of the developer is to find a balance. If society demands an interesting architectural project, the developer will do it. Quality architecture would have appeared five years ago if the public was ready. So the "invisible hand of the market" is the whole story.

Главный архитектор Москвы Сергей Кузнецов. Завтрак с главным архитектором Сергеем Кузнецовым. Фотография © Михаил Гусев. Ведомости


Sergey Kuznetsov answered Valeria Mozganova's burning question about preservation of monuments in the center of the city, that although from the point of view of lovers of antiquity everything is terrible, there are no obvious crimes. And in general, the situation with historical buildings in Moscow is better than in other cities. As a flagrant negative example he recalled Vyshny Volochek. Then the Chief Architect left the event, and Evgeny Asse answered Sergey Kuznetsov's remarks without him. The rector of MARSH noted that the community is not allowed to manage, there are no municipalities as active architectural customers. As for the monuments in the center, Evgeny Asse said that their disappearance, sometimes sudden, overnight, leads to the loss of the genome of the identity of the city.

Алексей Гинзбург, Дмитрий Халин, Сергей Скуратов, Евгений Асс и другие. Завтрак с главным архитектором Сергеем Кузнецовым. Фотография © МАРШ


Then Sergey Skuratov took the floor - and soloed intermittently throughout the discussion. Skuratov asked the rhetorical question of whether the architect wants to earn, eat, drink, and travel. He stated that he is capable of fulfilling himself and does not compromise. But he drew the attention of those present to the fact that the wonderful times that were between 2000 and 2008, "when we all wanted to live in this country, when there were non-greedy developers who wanted to leave a cultural footprint" - those times have passed. Now the market is demanding to build apartments of 23 m2 for 100-120,000 rubles per meter. Tomorrow a family will be able to buy a 15 m2 apartment at 60,000 rubles per meter with a cost of 40,000 rubles per meter. But the developer wants a clinker facade and French windows. And what we get are anthills, like in New Moscow. I don't go there, I save my psyche, said Sergey Skuratov.

Yulia Zubarik, whose firm MASTER'S PLAN participates in the renovation, said that the main requirement of residents and the city is to minimize changes.

Алексей Гинзбург и Дмитрий Халин. Завтрак с главным архитектором Сергеем Кузнецовым. Фотография © МАРШ


Alexei Ginzburg was more optimistic. He raised the subject of the responsibility of participants in the architectural process. In the era of modernism, in his opinion, the architect who builds homes was responsible for everything. In the post-modern era, an ironic figure of an architect servicing development appeared. But now, according to Alexey Ginzburg, public opinion begins to influence the situation. For example, the House of Narkomfin has not been restored for thirty years, since no conscious customer in the person of the state or the developer could be found. But two years ago the house gained hope for a second life when the number of guided tours in Russian became more than in English, i.e. public opinion turned to the monument and a worthy investor was found.

В центре Лара Копылова. Завтрак с главным архитектором Сергеем Кузнецовым. Фотография © МАРШ


Dmitry Khalin, managing partner of Savills, shared figures, sometimes curious. Thus, the cost of the apartment in the center is 60-70 million rubles. The supply exceeds the demand, it is realistic to sell out the built apartments within seven years. Houses are no longer sold out at the construction stage, which means that the quality of architecture plays a big role. "Good architecture can provide a premium for the project." The most popular development is the block of club mansions - 50% of buyers prefer it, point objects - 25%, club houses - 14%. In finishing facades like the stone 40% of respondents, brick - 36%, glass - 14%. The most favorite number of floors in the house from 6 to 10, and live (in the Central Administrative District) most prefer 3-5 floors - in both cases 50% of buyers.

Юлия Зубарик, Илья Машков. Завтрак с главным архитектором Сергеем Кузнецовым. Фотография © МАРШ


Ilya Mashkov spoke next. He spoke about how everyone involved in the process sees the situation differently. "It's all our projections on the clouds: someone sees one animal, someone else another." Ilya Mashkov also noted that compromise is a bad word, and good words understood by the architect are limitation and adequacy.

Alexander Tsimaylo was brief. An architect must be good, and what that means is a conversation of three months. It is good when the project has an intellectual component, the architect said, explaining that we are talking about the structure of the project. It makes no sense to discuss design (Alexander Tsimaylo leveled the difference between design and architecture).

Oleg Mamaev said that buildings should be constructed not only in the center, but also in other districts. He criticized neighborhood development on the grounds that a point-by-point object could change the life of a neighborhood for the better faster than a bulky block.

Oleg Mamaev, Natalia Samarina. Breakfast with chief architect Sergey Kuznetsov. Photo © MARSH


My question as to why we should not build neighborhoods in the bedroom communities, to make the city polycentric and create new points of attraction, was answered again by Sergey Skuratov. He said that in the renovation project, his studio created just such a "beauty not in the center" (for the poor Tsaritsyno district - L.K.). They calculated the economy, and worked out how to clean the entrances from the cat urine and make the environment so that there would be no drunks, drug addicts, and that women would not be afraid to walk through the city at two in the morning. But all this is not feasible, because "people will not change," and everything will remain the same in neighboring areas. Along the way, Sergei Skuratov said that there is a large number of undeveloped areas in the center, which means that architects have a lot to do.

Then Sergey Skuratov returned to the leading theme of the architect-developer relationship. He lamented the fate of his projects: "We have won five tenders, but not a single project will be implemented. Because economics does not allow the developer to build a slender glass tower 300 m high and even if we replace copper and glass with aluminum the price will still be twice as high as the developer wants. The architect is calling for the consultants to be fired, "they are useless people who don't understand anything and take advantage of the incompetence of the people in charge and make them take the wrong decisions". Superprofits are an objective evil," was Sergei Skuratov's verdict.

text: Lara Kopylova