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courtesy of  GILLESPIES

type: residential
location: moscow/ russia
year: 2017
team: oliver smith - gökçe gerekli yılmaz - natasha varga

client: MR Group


The landscape design for Dmitrovskaya D1 proposes a large central courtyard space, containing a combination of hard and soft landscape to provide residents with opportunity for relaxation, social interaction and play. The three tall towers created a horse-shoe shaped area, open to the south, which introduces direct light during the middle hours of the day. The courtyard is zoned to accommodate the fire access requirements whilst providing a green oasis in a contemporary and urban garden style. Play areas are provided for children and a fitness zone is provided for adults, promoting healthy living and outdoor recreation within the immediate environs of the residential towers. A series of roof garden spaces provide the residents with opportunities to relax in the morning and evening sunlight, contrasting with the scale and character of the main courtyard environment.

The landscape of Dmitrovskaya D1 will aid delivery of the high quality aspiration of the residential project and create a strong development identity through careful selection of hard materials including surfacing, lighting, and surfaces to ‘brand’ the site. A hierarchy of hard materials that forms a complimentary palette has been defined for the external spaces, including large slab feature paving to major spaces, medium block paving to general pedestrian movement areas and vehicle surfacing that includes standard finishes plus small unit high strength shared surfaces to allow maintenance and emergency fire truck access. The areas of shared paving are critical in that they present a pedestrian priority without affecting safety or performance of the materials.

Changes in colour and texture should be subtle. The aim is to achieve a cohesive and complementary surface finish throughout the development with variation of tone and pattern subtly varying depending on location and to suit the final architectural finishes. Colour, texture and unit size is used to help define the uses of various spaces, for example using a small unit to allow occasional vehicle overun (emergency fire truck access) but identify a pedestrian priority circulation route. The nature of the material i.e. its toughness is in keeping with its function of creating a pedestrian surface that is also capable of being trafficked. The material and surface texture should allow for snow maintenance, avoiding a varied surface profile or irregular joints. Its scale complements the scale of the built form and the paving units’ size.

The accessibility requirements of the partially sighted and disabled are a major factor in determining the surface and edge types so as to provide a legible and safe environment. Changes in paving type provide a sense of direction for example a change in bond leading up to building entrances and level changes.

The furniture palette for Dmitrovskaya D1 should be elegant and contemporary, using wood and metal to provide a range of seating opportunities. Seats are provided in a combination of cube and bench types, with backs and arm rests to a certain percentage, to ensure access and comfortable use for those with mobility issues.

The seating units form a part of the chess concept, representing a series of ‘pieces’ distributed around the courtyard. The specification of these seats use off the shelf products adapted to suit the concept; e.g by have two main colour tones as per a chess set. Cycle stands, seating, planters, bins and other ancillary furniture are complementary to the overall site brand and use a consistent palette of materials to achieve a high quality overall landscape. It is anticipated that fixed and movable furniture will be provided within the secure residents courtyard, with free-standing tables and chairs being used for cafe seating and in areas where seating is desirable but fire access routes preclude the use of fixed furniture.

Planting provides a softening of the built environment, humanising space, improving the microclimate and providing a natural seasonal sense of time. The critical considerations in the soft landscape strategy for the residential courtyard is the provision of mature trees of a stature that can complement the building facades and scale of the external spaces. These trees provide the vital sense of nature that is highlighted as an essential project requirement. Within this structure other planting types can be introduced that build on the concept themes. The planting responds to the form and orientation of the courtyard to create a relaxing central green space with appropriate edge buffer space to the residential apartments. The planting approach, including planting palettes and species mixes, responds to climatic requirements, local native species and bio-diversity. Where feature planting may be required that is non-native assessment has been made to ensure selected species are well suited to the climatic zone and weather conditions of the site.

The development of a play strategy ensures that this important part of the Dmitrovskaya D1 community is considered from the outset and therefore developed as an integrated part of the on-going refinement of the landscape design. The development includes both play provision for children and fitness equipment within the landscape for family use. It is anticipated that executives with families may make up a large proportion of the residential profile and providing elements and events to engage with children and adults alike will encourage use of the landscape and improve the quality of the offer for the residents, visitors and to assist creating a desirable and marketable place for living.

Lighting can help to animate the external landscape and spaces, providing a sense of drama and ambiance appropriate for a high quality residential scheme. With the careful selection of fittings a range of effects can be developed that support and strengthen the landscape concept. Lighting levels need to be established within the courtyard to create a comfortable lighting lux level that allows safe pedestrian movement. Lighting will primarily be lower level to create a comfortable, human scale and to reduce light pollution to the surrounding apartments whilst still maintaining comfortable and safe levels of background lighting and visibility. Once lighting is provided to these critical areas, another layer of lighting can be added to areas which lend themselves to interesting effects, features and moods. For example, raised beds and seating walls within the central courtyard lend themselves to lighting which can be placed to enhance their form and ‘float’ them over the ground surface.

Due to the local climate, lighting is primarily proposed to be lifted from the ground level, to avoid failure due to water ingress or freezing. Fibre optic lighting can be considered where light strip features are desirable along walls or at edge of other linear features, with the actual light source and power supply located above ground.

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