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A group of architects envision weathering architecture derived from Manpupuner rock formations

Russia - Jan 10, 2017 - 01:09   8083 views

A group of Russian architects Egor Zbaranskiy, Victoria Boginskaya and Andrey Merekin, has envisioned new weathering architecture exploring Manpupuner's changing geographical formations in the Ural Mountains, Russia. Named Architecture of Weathering, a multiparticulate design is composed of four boundaries of the site, which constitute a complex physical form. 

The project is conceived under four parameters shaping crystallized architecture; the time boundary – past, present and future, the elements boundary – air, earth, water, the boundary of myth and reality, and the geographical, social boundary.

''The Urals extend back over 200 million years. Through much of this period, they were continuously affected by harsh environmental conditions: for thousands of years the mountain group had been destroyed by wind, water and ice. This is why the Ural Mountains are among the lowest in the world,'' said the architects.

''Nevertheless, areas of outstanding natural beauty have survived in the Urals to the present day, which feature remnants of mountains groups, which age exceed one million years. One of such places is known as the Manpupuner Plateau.''

In the past people used to fall back upon the place, sacred to all the Mansi people, which pinnacle could be accessed only by shamans; when translated form the local language, Manpupuner means ''a small mountain of idols''; in the time of heathenism, the Mansi people worshipped, the stone giants''. 

Currently, the Pechoro-Ilichskiy natural reserve features the mountain range and the relics on Mount Manpupuner, as well as the virgin forests, which are places of world environmental heritage of the UNESCO. 

In 2008 the weathering pillars were classified as one of the Seven Wonders of Russia. In the future, it is necessary to undertake measures aimed at preservation and study of the natural reserve, its plant life and animals in their natural environment, as well as restoration of the natural ecosystems.

Air (or wind) – weathering – totality of the processes of physical and chemical destruction of rock formation, when exposed to temperature variations, freeze-thaw and chemical impact of water, as well as atmospheric gasses and organisms. 

The land (relief) of the reserve territory was formed due to considerable impact of the Ural latest glaciation. There are four systems of meridian ridges of the Northern Ural. Water (snow, ice) comprise s the bigger part of the upper part of the mountains during most of the year – 220 days (from May 7th till October 23rd).

The Mansi tribe legend has it that in the distant past a powerful Mansi tribe used to live in the close proximity to the Ural Mountains. The tribal chief Kuuschai had a beautiful daughter Aim and a son Pigritchum. The beauty of the young beauty rang far over the ridge. The giant Torev heard of the tribal chief’s daughter and demanded that Kuuschai would give the daughter to him, but Aim refused to comply. 

Then, the enraged Torev called his giant brothers in order to take the beauty by force. During this time, her brother the shaman Pigritchum and some warriors were away hunting. The giant came upon them unawares; the fierce battle under the fortress wall continued all day long. At this moment Aim from the tower implored the gods for help and asked them tell her brother about the attack. As soon as Aim descended the crysta l tower, it crumbled under the crushing blow of the giant’s bludgeon. 

The castle disintegrated and its pieces were carried by the wind all over the Urals. Since then people find pieces of rock crystal in the Ural Mountains. When the giants were about to get hold of the beautiful Aim, the rays of the rising sun turned the giant and the Torev into stone giants.

The project concept focuses on development of an architectural complex for the whole Pechoro-Ilichskiy natural reserve, development of infrastructure for all transportation junctions: helicopter pad, setting up of the area inside the complex – the pad, the underground structure, linking the social blocks, the superstructure, approach routes to the Manpupuner (from the Komi Republic as well as Sverdlovsk region).

The multipartite structure proposes the implementation of the package of measures for development of the natural reserve itself, development of the infrastructure for the scientific employees and the forests rangers of the natural reserve, who will reside there permanently and cater for its needs and well-balanced utilization of the land natural topography.

The variable translucent buildings is based on a creation and utilization of the power supply structure, which will have minimal effect on the environment (pollution-free fuel). Having established the boundaries, the architects have determined the sensitive matter among all directions, creating a single architectural complex, which combines, the geographical analysis, the time analysis in respect of its three components, history and folklore, as well as the element boundary, especially, the weathering pillars interpretation.

Explode view drawing of hostel


Explode view drawing of bathhouse

Explode view drawing of Science Center

Visuals © Andrey Merekin