Architects of the Mnevniki Metro Station about its Features and Uniqueness

July 23

Mnevniki is one of the most outstanding and unusual metro stations among those built in Moscow in recent years. So bright and light, with bold colour combinations, it not only took the fancy of the Moscow residents but also was highly assessed by the professional community. The station design was awarded the annual Moscow City Prize for Architecture and Construction in the nomination “The Best Architectural and Urban Planning Solution of Transport Facilities”.

It was designed by Architectural Bureau of Timur Bashkaev. The Moscow City Prize was presented to Timur Bashkaev (Head of the Bureau), Vera Iordanova (Chief Architect), and Tatyana Arsenyeva (a former employee of the workshop).

The design authors told what makes the station unique and what it was originally planned.

It was assessed both by citizens and professionals

Timur Bashkaev: Both the print media and social networks favorably reviewed the station after its opening; we were pleased to know that people liked it. And we are glad that the opinions of the citizens accorded with those of professionals. This prize is quite prestigious, it has only five nominations, and only one design wins in each category. That is, five designs a year is very few, and therefore it is considered to be prestigious.

Vera Iordanova: We won the contest, and it was somewhat unexpected. When we applied, it was clear that we were rivaling with a lot of interesting works. The guaranteed victory was not even in the equation. That is why we are glad that our works were appreciated.

Tatyana Arsenyeva: I worked on the design concept at the very beginning. Then it so happened that I left the bureau and my colleagues picked up the work. I can't say that a victory was something foreseeable, but, of course, it's nice that the design was appreciated so highly. Although it might sound immodest of me to say so, the station was done to a quality worthy of such an evaluation.

Another station: what makes Mnevniki unique

Timur Bashkaev: This station is the result of the international contest, which is quite remarkable. The Moscow City Architecture Committee once initiated design contests for some metro stations. And Mnevniki is the winner of the second contest.

We set ourselves the goal of designing the station in a slightly different paradigm, unlike the existing designs, which are also good, but they rather carry on the Moscow metro tradition, which is 15 to 20 years old. We wanted to do it a bit in a different way: both in terms of materials and aesthetics. And it seems that we did it.

Mnevniki is somewhat unlike other stations. Here is a slightly different manner: it is neither pompous nor high-tech. A slightly different style, a more restrained approach to materials, colours, and details. I guess this is the reason why it received so much attention, as it demonstrates another direction of advances.

Vera Iordanova: It was originally planned that a parliamentary centre would be erected on this site, so the station was supposed to be solemn while maintaining the maximum height of the ceilings. It was assumed that the station would be with two side platforms following Spanish technology. This would require large and high-ceilinged spaces. Finally, it was decided to keep the classic island platform, and the idea of large spaces remained along with that. For example, the standard height of a station is about six meters, while Mnevniki has nine meters, that is, one and a half times more.

Tatyana Arsenyeva: This station is minimalistic; it has a bright colour combination, a minimum amount of decor and superfluous details. This is such true modern urban minimalism. The station is quite expressive, sometimes it is compared to avant garde. But this is not about following the existing style: all architectural solutions were formed after the function design and its features. Moreover, architectural concrete is the key finishing material, which is absolutely atypical for Moscow. Although it is used in the metro stations of other countries.

The Mnevniki metro station opened on April 1. For now, it is the terminal of the Big Circle Line. In the future, it is planned to create here a transport hub with residential, public, business, and social facilities.

Tactile station: what is Mnevniki made of

Timur Bashkaev: The metro is rather conservative in terms of finishing materials. Only durable materials are used there. These are, of course, natural stone, granite, marble, and metal. As finishing material, we used concrete of different colours, cast in slabs — it is natural, not fiber cement. That is why the colours and texture at the station are exactly concrete.

Vera Iordanova: The metro now uses a variety of pre-fabricated panels: metal-ceramic, photo-aluminum. We wanted the materials to be more tactile. That is why we opted for architectural concrete. Touch it! It feels like stone. This is a completely different feeling. In this regard, Mnevniki is close to the stations of the Soviet period, when only natural materials were in use, such as marble and granite.

Tatyana Arsenyeva: We used granite for the flooring. This material is durable, with the minimum abrasion exposure. While concrete can be hardly used on the floor, as it wears out much faster.

Concrete was chosen as the basic finishing material. Some metal and wood elements were incorporated in small architectural forms, such as benches and surfaces in service areas; these are items in the metro touched by people.

It was originally planned that more concrete would be present in the station finishing. But according to the design process requirements for construction and operation, we had to use slabs that imitate concrete.

Bright station: Mnevniki principal colour

Timur Bashkaev: There is something theatrical about Mnevniki. We did it on purpose so that the design of the station was not characterized by integral style, as it was before. It has some background parts and some pronounced spatial accents, which are outlined by bright red color. This is a bit unusual for Moscow metro.

Vera Iordanova: To some extent, the colour scheme was preset by the contest concept. Our task was to preserve it, despite changes in the technology and spatial solutions. That is, we had to keep the original principles and customise them to a new form.

When the station was planned with two side platforms, a red element ran through all levels of the station and connected them. In the island version, it was challenging to do so, but we kept it as a tribute to that concept. And at the same time, this red element has become the centre of the architectural composition, thus imparting some uniqueness.

Tatyana Arsenyeva: Originally, the dominant feature of the design was the supports located in the atriums of the passenger area. We combined them into contrasting, coloured volumes, which have become meaningful, functional, and emotional accents of the entire space. When the station composition changed, the solution chosen within the contest was customised for the island platform layout.

After opening the station, people started to think that the central red element was a reference to the huge Zhivopisny Bridge in the same area. The architects say that nothing of the kind was envisioned. But they find it intriguing that such associations have emerged.

The Moscow City Prize for Architecture and Construction was established in 2017. Any designs of capital construction facilities can be nominated subject to obtaining coordinated architectural and urban planning decisions in the previous year. The amount of prize money is one million rubles; it is awarded to the author or a group of authors of not more than three members.


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