The residential complex at 31 Krzhizhanovskogo Street in Moscow by UN Studio has an award-winning design that attempts to make the most of the location’s best features in order to meet the problem of fostering community in a congested urban environment. Moscow is presently undergoing a surge in residential development as a result of the city’s new masterplan, which was approved in 2012 and permits residential construction on the former industrial regions. With a surface area of around 118,000 m2 and height 145 m, it stands out as a magnificent structure.

A design that blends the area’s historical legacy and fosters the development of a local community was requested by project developer Glavstroy, who in turn asked Citymakers to create and organize the worldwide competition. The K31 Courtyard plan aims to develop a model of future living that prioritizes the welfare of the inhabitants, promotes indoor-outdoor living, fosters a sense of security and home, and offers a variety of sustainable social possibilities in this quickly changing urban environment.

K31 Courtyard by UN Studio: An Architectural Affair - Sheet1
K31 courtyard_©MARTA pictures

Design Principles

The city of Moscow has recently experienced the conversion of former industrial sites into residential districts following the approval of a new masterplan, and the rise in density came with issues in developing a feeling of community. This problem is addressed by the architecture, which fosters a sense of security and belonging, promotes indoor-outdoor life, and offers a variety of social activities.

A stepped pedestal that surrounds a private courtyard and two towers that face each other diagonally to provide every tenant the best view corridors and allow for more light to enter the apartments make up the design of K31 Courtyard, which combines two common residential building typologies.

The podium’s stepped terraces are intended to provide extra amenities for the neighbouring units, such as verandas, greenhouses, and orangeries, while also ensuring that the courtyard-facing apartments receive a sufficient amount of natural light. The development includes a variety of apartment types, as well as a park, a fitness centre, a kindergarten, and commercial spaces. It also has underground parking. Each tower also has a separate community space with co-working areas, sports facilities, and a clubhouse for residents on top of the podium.The apartments facing the inner courtyard are intended to receive enough sunshine thanks to the podium’s raised terraces. Due to their potential usage as extra facilities for the nearby units, these sloped terraces also lend a distinctive element to this residential building. In order to meet the needs of various inhabitants, the development also provides a variety of apartment types and layouts. While common areas and entrances are shared by everybody, the typology split is made to minimize the separation of various social groups.

In combination with the possibility to use of the outdoor terraces on the stepped podium, the design for K31 Courtyard encourages residents to enjoy outdoor living throughout the year and to create an open neighborhood in the sky and a lively new addition to the Moscow skyline.

K31 Courtyard by UN Studio: An Architectural Affair - Sheet2
Massing_©Courtesy of UNstudio

Community Block

The concept of “a neighborhood” has several dimensions for K31 Courtyard. The expansion is intended to spread horizontally and link to the city, drawing inspiration from the old-style Moscow courtyard, which was peaceful and private yet open and secure. The courtyard’s playgrounds and green areas for amusement are also visibly connected to the blocks outside perimeter pedestrian paths.

K31 Courtyard by UN Studio: An Architectural Affair - Sheet3
K31 courtyard Community Block Explained_©Courtesy of UNstudio

Through the use of common intermediate amenity areas, neighborhoods can also grow vertically to foster ties between residents who live next to the same stairs. At the base of each tower, there are two additional designated public areas that can hold co-working spaces, athletic facilities, and a clubhouse for residents.

By adding curated terrace units like verandas, orangeries, or greenhouses, the roof apartments on the podium in the diagonal neighborhood created by the stepping roof terraces can be made more unique.

K31 Courtyard by UN Studio: An Architectural Affair - Sheet4
The stepping roof terraces_©Courtesy of UNstudio

Façade Design

A modular method with parametric modelling is used to create sophisticated facade diversity. We add a random arrangement of modules with windows, bay windows, French balconies, and conventional loggias into a strong grid, resulting in a greater variety of apartment types with overt indoor-outdoor variances.

We encourage the new K31 Courtyard residents to live outside all year long and build an open neighborhood in the sky that will become a new landmark for the Moscow skyline, along with the potential usage of the outdoor terraces on the tiered platform.

Façade styles:

Brick and black metal are used in the podium facade’s outside perimeter to match the nearby structures and maintain the area’s history as an old industrial area.

The podium’s two towers include loggias and panoramic windows. When viewed from the courtyard, it is particularly crucial for the towers’ light materialization and color to appear less ominous so that their volumes appear to visibly dissolve into the sky.

Similar to the lightness of the tower volumes, the courtyard’s interior facade uses natural wood to create a cozy and welcoming ambiance for the occupants while forging a strong link to the lush, tree-lined courtyard.

Façade Design_©MARTA pictures


  1. K31 Courtyard

Moscow, Russia, 2021

  1. UNStudio Designs Community-Oriented Residential Development in Moscow Written by Andreea Cutieru November 16, 2021


An Architect/Designer who stands utmost to facilitate success and break the stereotypes that have been followed for a very long time in architecture. He believes every design must be conceived to add charm and enhance the surrounding's innate beauty with energy and resource efficiency as key driving factors.