The project of reconstructing the building of “Havana” Movie Theater into “Planeta KVN” HQ* is not only highly responsive of the city environment and the “eternally young” image of the popular TV show, but also remarkably flexible in terms of its technical solution. * KVN – Klub Vesyólykh i Nakhódchivykh or Ka-Ve-En, “Club of the Funny and Inventive”) is a Russian humor TV show and competition where teams (usually college students) compete by giving funny answers to questions and showing prepared sketches. (Translator’s note)
Vera Butko and Anton Nadtochiy’s project won the architectural contest for the reconstruction of the facades of “Havana” Movie Theater for subsequent accommodation of “Planet KVN” Moscow Youth Center. The “Atrium” architects proposed to wrap the building into two giant bands of flowing (possibly even flying) outlines fastening them upon the metallic structure that would at some places considerably break away from the walls. This stylistic device was supposed to change the box of the former movie theater beyond recognition: the flexible dynamic shell, very much like a carnival mask, does not even conceal all of the walls of the building yet changes its image, that fleeting sensation that a casual observer gets when speeding past the building in a car or walking past the building engrossed into a conversation with another person.
The former “Havana” was a reserved-looking representative of the late modernist style with a characteristic classicism twist to it and a balanced view of the avenue. Now it is a flowing whirlwind that is caressing, embracing, and by no means static. “One of our goals was to reconsider the town-planning meaning of this building in today’s situation – Vera Butko explains – This movie theater used to “look” over Suschevsky Val, while what we did was reorient it to overlook the crossroads that has turned into a busy square recently. Not so long they got a new “Maryina Roscha” Metro station here. Ultimately, what we did was turn the corner standpoint into the main one – as a response to the Soviet-era residential building that stands diagonally across the road”.
The bands will be executed of perforated aluminum sheets, a metallic net of sorts with its meshes larger and its operating properties more predictable. Presently, the facades of the former “Havana” are being equipped with structures that will ultimately bear the perforated metal. In the meantime, the walls are being covered with multicolored pictures that together form an asymmetric pixel-like pattern. From the very start, the architects decided that the façade would be of a “multimedia” type. It is planned that at night the images will be shown by means of laser projectors, and during the day this purpose will be served by the LED screen embedded into the curvilinear metal surfaces. Later on, the commissioners asked the architects to give some thought to the sketchy design of the reconstruction of the entire square that is crowded with bulky ventilation crates now that the metro station has been put into operation. Vera Butko and Anton Nadtochiy proposed to finish most of the “crates” with multicolored panels, and cover the largest one – just as the Metro station entrance – with curved awnings echoing the shape of the façade.
If all of these plans had come to pass, then the entire square around the former “Havana” would have turned into a serious sanctuary of contemporary non-linear architecture, whole and fresh, the kind that Moscow has not seen yet. Regretfully, however, it is only the façade project that is being implemented right now. Still, in spite of that, we are all looking forward to this exciting innovation.
Text by: Julia TarabarinaLocation: Moscow, Russia Architect: Atrium | Vera Butko, Anton Nadtochiy
Object: Reconstruction of the facades for Moscow’s youth center “Planeta KVN”
Design Team: Anton Nadtochiy, Vera Butko, Gennadiy Nadtochiy, Alexander Malygin, Peter Alimov, Yuri Frolov, Ivan Khrepkov, Aleksey Naumenko, Julia Zykova
Special thanks to archi.ru