An experimental mixed-used building “Garages” in Novosibirsk combines several programs that rarely co-exist under one roof: a district parking lot, a collection of small ateliers for craftsmen, artists and start-up’s, a library, a café,
a gym, and a variety of open public spaces, interconnected by stairs and passages.
The concept is based on the well-known spatial typology rooted in the Soviet past: a privately-owned garage that is used not only as a storage for a vehicle, but as sort of an atelier where an owner can spend time with friends or on a hobby or even live for a while.
In Soviet Russia, garages were often seen (and, in some regions, still are today) as an alternative to overcrowded and uncomfortable homes, a container for a private life that cannot be fully controlled or defined by protocols. Indeed, garages are associated with underground culture all over the world – at least, in the field of music, art or IT, – but in Russia, they are also strongly related to understanding of what personal freedom could be in repressive societies.
The complex offers a broad menu of small ateliers, overlooking the vast river landscape. Each atelier has an adjacent interior parking place, so the owner can enter it almost directly from the car, which is very convenient during harsh and cold winter months. Enveloped by massive walls, the composition of glass rooms with terraces and public platforms creates an image of monumental fragility, inspired by the beauty of a multifaceted crystal bursting outof the solid rock.
Intentional roughness in detailing and the choice in favour of cheap, democratic materials help to create the feeling of a non-designed structure, of a place that grew naturally and almost spontaneously over the years as any classical garage complex of the previous era. The complex targets very different social groups – from young locals and city creatives to more conservative public and even tourists.
With its cafes, stairs with wide steps, terraces, panoramic platforms, and interior facilities, this complex is designed as an unusual vertical public space that could accommodate visitors in various seasons, offering scenic views over the river Ob’ and the growing modern district around it.