“Tsentralny” shopping center is probably one of the most noticeable historical buildings in old city center. It stands along Svetlanskaya street, where it meets Okeansky prospect, and can be seen from any point of central city square and beyond it. Unfortunately, it is remarkable not for its beauty which is now covered by advertisement posters and damaged by years of careless restoration, but mostly for the glass roof structure. The majority of citizens are rather displeased with its design and the fact that historical building was changed.
But what if the change can not be avoided? If that is how city develops by merging old and new together, what might it look like? So I challenged myself to come up with a different design to see what can be suggested 10 years after that renovation was done.
The original building was completed in 1903, and since then functioned primarily as a trading house; however its ownership and name changed several times as regimes in Russia changed. It is hard to find high-quality images of its original appearance to reconstruct all the details. Nevertheless, it is obvious that certain elements are different. Wherever possible, old design was reckoned in to re-establish original massing, proportions and silhouette.
This glass roof appeared about 2005-2006. It hid all original decoration above the cornice. There was an attempt to fix it by reconstructing those details later, but most of them were misplaced, and a few did not even exist before. It is hard to find out when the balcony at the corner disappeared, as well as first city clock that was installed at the top of a frontispiece.
It seems that design intention was to create a mirror volume above the historical part, that would reflect the sky and thereby disappear visually. Unfortunately technologies that were available at that time did not let this concept to be fulfilled successfully. What was supposed to become almost invisible, looks quite heavy due to its proportions and material.
The height of the visible part of the roof should not exceed 2 stories. Then the historical part will draw more attention due to its size and level of detail.
In order to separate volumes from each other and not let them “stick”, lower edges of the roof are moved inwards.
Vertices of the volume are aligned with some of the existing architectural details which establishes visual connection between them. Diagonal edges keep faces planar and direct the eyes towards the frontispiece where city clock will be placed.
North-east corner of the roof can be moved up without any negative impact on its visible mass. This can increase inner usable space by one or one and a half story. The top of the roof will not be seen even from the farthest side of the city square.
Facade along Svetlanskaya street has the biggest value: it is located on the imaginary border between the sea, city square and street façade. Therefore, the largest glazed area is placed there. Part of the volume is removed to form a roof terrace.
Inclination of the south façade allows to reduce solar gain in summer and maximize it in winter.
Roof terraces on levels 4 and 6 will attract more visitors, creating a unique destination, that can be a place for meeting, rest and communication.
Both terraces have panoramic views of the south part of Vladivostok. During performances on the central square, they can become additional places for spectators.