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Zaha Hadid Debuts in Moscow With Dominion Tower Office Center

Visionary architect Zaha Hadid has made her Russian debut with the construction of a stunning avant-garde office complex in Moscow.

Known as Dominion Tower, Hadid's rectangular design has been completed on Sharikopodshipnikovaya Ulitsa in southeast Moscow after a 10-year joint-construction effort by Zaha Hadid Architects and Russia's AB Elis.

Delayed by the 2008 economic crisis, the main construction work only began in 2012. The total budget for the building was 2.3 billion rubles ($35 million), making it one of most expensive properties per square meter in the capital.

Russian Influence

The building's design was inspired by Russian avant-garde styles from the 1920s, and features seven rectilinear stories, each staggered and cantilevered one over the other. The glazed facades and ribbon windows, frequently used by Hadid in earlier projects, give the structure lightness and volume.

"The Dominion Tower is a kind of critique of mass architecture, where each floor is the same as the other," said Christos Passas, the project head and associate director of Zaha Hadid Architects.

"We have tried to break this trend toward standardization, putting into the building's exterior something more challenging and chaotic. In this case, the selected shape helps to hold a dialogue with the environment."

The office building stands in a mostly residential area of Moscow, surrounded by long rectangular five-story houses built at the end of the last century and several newly constructed apartment blocks.

"It doesn't have a smooth facade, which would transform the building into a box. Instead it presents several spaces that convey the idea of diversity. It is not a single object, but several objects," said Passas.

Talking about the purpose of the building, Zaha Hadid Architects director Patrik Schumacher told reporters at the opening on Friday that "uplifting work" needs to be done not only in special places like museums and opera houses but with the "generic components with our everyday life."

The interior — dramatically different from the exterior — features a black and white atrium lit from above and criss-crossed by flights of stairs. It is a scene of spacial liberation and effortless dynamism that almost creates a "feeling of flight," according to Passas.

"As human beings we need to reach a certain level of simplicity," he said, talking about the project on Friday. "Simplicity is actually a product of complexity and not the other way around."

Moscow Times

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