by Meghna MehtaOct 29, 2019
The Comfort Town Housing by Ukrainian architectural firm Archimatika, a 40-hectare development of concrete buildings, is all about colour! Inspired from and resembling building blocks – the Legos – the Comfort Town erupts from its otherwise boring surroundings much like a set of miniature buildings from Lego blocks placed on a grey carpet. Comfort Town’s 180 low-rise apartment buildings are indeed a playful response to the sprawling 1950s and 60s communist-era housing that encircles them.
The project operates on the idea of a city-within-a-city, housing everything from shops and restaurants to schools and gyms. As the property sales brochure says, ‘Your little slice of Europe in Kyiv’, its 8,500 apartments and landscaped courtyards have been designed to be culturally closer to Europe than to Ukraine’s Soviet heritage.
The Comfort Town qualifies as the the first residential complex in Ukraine to be designed on the ‘block development’ principle, instead of the customary Soviet micro-district typology. Buildings of varying number of stories (from 2 to 16 floors) and unique colours form a picturesque silhouette in the urban fabric of the city, injecting an atmosphere of freshness.
The designers at Archimatika were posed with the questions and objective of creating a residential block that would sell itself even in the time of a crisis at an optimal cost price by offering an attractive environment for future residents. Hence, the intent was to optimise construction as well as technology by exploring a technique that would use several standard sections to create a district from 150 repetitions, while making it interesting and comfortable too. All this while preserving the green areas of the locality.
Due to limited budget, the design incorporates simple geometric shapes and flat facades, while excluding balconies and other decorative elements. Therefore, for the rainbow coloured buildings Archimatika focused on three techniques – a) silhouette: different turns and heights of dual-pitch roofs; b) window: the first development in Kyiv to use the French balcony system and the window shifting system to avoid monotonous rows; and c) colour: the Comfort Town becomes the first bold and bright solution for a residential neighbourhood in Ukraine.
The shades of the gable roofs made from grooved metal were determined based on the availability of the material from a range of manufacturers. To compensate the brightness of an available range, pastel shades were added in between. This juxtaposition brought a harmonious combination of bright and soft shades.
With Kyiv being a former industrial zone, it was a challenge for the designers to think about the development that would bring and attract people to the new housing. The adaptation of the concept of ‘block development’ helped divide the spaces into two typologies: streets (allowing for motor traffic) and courtyards (located inside the block and featuring children’s playgrounds, benches, and alleys). Motor vehicles are not allowed to enter the inner courtyards, with the exception of emergency service vehicles.
This kind of segregation also allowed for long passageways, thus providing more parking spots as compared to the micro-district type of development in the area. The residential complex also includes a 4500 sqm retail complex, a 4600 sqm fitness club, a 1.5-hectare outdoor sports facility, cafes, stores and offices on lower floors of apartment buildings and other supporting services. Having preserved all green areas and restored older structures such as a water fountain and a deer sculpture, the essence and natural environment of the town is warm and comfortable.
The Comfort Town is known to have been the most successful residential and commercial property in Ukraine with sales indicating over 200 apartments sold per month. It not only attracted people back to the city of Kyiv, but showcases how revival of abandoned areas and towns by inducing them with a fresh new perspective and design solutions open doors for new possibilities.
Name of project: Comfort Town
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Year of Initiation: 2009
Year of Completion: 2020
Total area: 5,12,200 sqm
Principal Architects: Dmytro Vasyliev, Aleksandr Popov, Olga Alfiorova
Design Team: Dmytro Vasyliev, Aleksandr Popov, Olga Alfiorova, O. Stolovyi, K. Romanenko, O. Lymarenko, S. Hrabar, O. Chubarov, V. Bebeshko, V. Pleshynets, Y. Zynovieva, O. Myhda, M. Morkovnyk, S. Kovalchuk, O. Hrytsak, K. Onachuk, A. Denysenko, V. Sinenko
Clients: KAN Development Other Collaborators: Metalroof LTD, Promstalkonstruktsiya Corporation, Firma Rubezh LTD, Ingeeniring Group LTD