The land on which the recently completed Ferrum 1 building sits has a long and vaunted history. Once adorned with a princely palace and a resort for Russia’s upper classes, it was later transformed into an industrial landscape for the production facilities, warehouses and administrative buildings of a machine parts factory. And then, replicating a pattern in cities worldwide, those factories shut down and slowly decayed.
About a decade ago, the developer Teorema took over and began to repopulate the area with new buildings, for new uses. It hired the German architecture firm Tchoban Voss to realize many of these, including the multifunctional commercial campus House Benois (2008), the office complex Seasons-Ensemble (2013) and the residential building Five Stars (2016). The firm, known for both major commercial projects and smaller, more poetic cultural ones – like the Museum of Architectural Drawing – has now completed the seven-storey, 7,965-square-metre Ferrum 1 building, which features a striking Corten facade.
Resembling a basket weave, the geometric grid is formed by “warp and weft threads” much like a fabric. The expressive facade is what gives the building its name (“ferrum” is Latin for iron) and its graphic character, the alternation of flat and protruding modules creating the illusion of plaiting. The seeming heft of the weathered-steel armature makes the glass fenestration feel delicate by comparison. The building is crowned by gold aluminum pales and is anchored by a podium base.
With such a visually arresting structure, it would only make sense to double the impact. The next office building to come to the site, Ferrum 2, will feature a similar facade and landscaped inner courtyard.
Wrapping the Ferrum 1 building by Tchoban Voss Architekten like a basket weave, the weathered-steel facade has a graphic, 3D quality.