Luxury living

19 March 2008

Site manager Murman Kuprashvili, “It was difficult in the beginning, everyone has their own ideas on

Site manager Murman Kuprashvili, “It was difficult in the beginning, everyone has their own ideas on how to do things, but in the end it all came together and I'm pleased with the progress and the qua

The House of Mosfilmosvkaya, according to developer Donstroy, is a unique development for Moscow, not just architecturally, but also in terms of its finishing, structural concrete and the equipment used during its construction.

And, thanks to the huge demand from the city's ever increasing moneyed-classes for luxury living, it started selling o.-plan at € 3000 (US$ 4000) per m2, before selling out at a staggering € 7000 (US$ 9500) per m2.

What buyers will get for their money, however, is a bare concrete shell with just water and electricity connections. After that it's up to them.

“This is bespoke living,” said Aslan Temirov, general manager GP SMY-02, Donstroy's in-house contractor for the project, during iC's visit in June, “ because each occupier will be able to configure their apartment exactly as they want.”

Situated in an expensive area, close to the university and the city's film studios, and part of a larger complex that will include restaurants, shops, a business centre and over 1000 car parking spaces, it's so desirable that Donstroy's owner will have the twostoried penthouse at the top of the taller tower, served by a private lift and helipad.

Three in one

Not only is Donstroy the developer it is also providing construction management and filling the role of main contractor.

“There are no sub-contractors on the job. Everything is handled in-house as the developer prefers to keep everything inside the company,” said Mr Temirov.

Actually three buildings in one, The House of Mosfilmosvkaya, which is expected to cost “somewhere over € 200 million (US$ 270 million)”, consists of a 120 m high, 32-storey tower, a 160 m high, 52-storey tower and a 12-storey high connecting atrium. The smaller tower will contain three underground levels and five floors of administration, services and security systems.

The taller will have two double height storeys of 8 m each at its base, one of which will be the entrance to the building and features 27 irregular shaped columns that twist and turn as the rise to their full height. The connecting atrium also contains 27, 8 m high irregular shaped columns, giving the building a “design and architectural identity” said Mr Temirov.

Construction of all three buildings started in November 2005, with site clearance and excavation of 130000 m3 of earth and rock taking 10 weeks. This was followed by construction of the foundations, which took a further four weeks.

The 2.1 m thick foundation slab was poured straight on to the hard bedrock 12 m below the surface, which was lined with a geothermal liner. Once this was complete above ground construction started.

While the core, slabs and walls of the Mosfilmosvkaya use “conventional” concrete mixes, a “special” mix, which site manager Murman Kuprashvili did not want to divulge, has been used for the columns. However, black in colour, it is an extremely high tensile mix, said Mr Kuprashvili, which, when polished, will look like marble.

With each column presenting a unique profile, formwork manufacturer Doka had to supply a bespoke formwork system.

Donstroy's own materials supply company, Donstroy Beton, delivers ready-mixed concrete from one of its three batching plants in Moscow, but co-ordinating deliveries, said Mr Kuprashvili, can be problematic given the city's horrendous traffic.

Mr Kuprashvili expects construction of all three buildings will use about 150000 m3 of concrete. The smaller tower, which is a “conventional” rectangular shape, has slabs of 1600 m2 per floor.

The taller tower, which gets narrower as it rises, has floor slabs ranging from 1350 to 1200 m2, while the connecting atrium has floors of different sizes, although Mr Kuprashvili told iCthat on average they are 1200 m2 each.

Core construction

With so many bespoke elements to its construction, Doka, which supplied all the formwork, including its SK100 climbing system, Top 50 Formwork, Framax X-life and Staxo Towers, also installed a supervisor on-site who provided training and trouble shooting advice.

Mr Kuprashvili told iC that one of C the main difficulties on the project has been getting his team used to the SK100 climbing system. “It's been a steep learning curve, because it was the first time wed used a hydraulic climbing platform, so Doka's help has been invaluable. Tolerances between each floor are normally 20 mm, here, with the SK100 it's just 5 mm,” he added.

Each floor takes six days to form, although Mr Kuprashvili said he was trying to reduce this to five to keep on schedule. “The first floor took 12 days using the SK100. After the tenth floor we had the hang of the system, so weve got quicker and Im sure well get it down to five days soon.”

But working to Moscow's strict high-rise building regulations, said Mr Kuprashvili, has also influenced progress of the Mosfilmosvkaya.

“The core is poured one floor at a time and quickly followed by the slab and walls. This is because [the] regulations do not allow construction of the whole core followed by the slabs and walls, as would happen in most other countries.

Everything must be done at the same time,” he added. While the front of the taller tower leans back at an angle of 88 it also twists slightly as it rises, although the core remains straight. The difference, for example, between the bottom right hand corner of the building and the top right hand corner is 3 m.

This has added to the difficulties the forming teams have encountered and has required constant checking using the project's on-site surveying team and base station.

Wall thicknesses on the larger tower vary from 1.8 to 2.2 m, while the columns measure 1.5 to 1.8 m square as they rise and turn. Each column requires 12 tonnes of rebar and to cast all 27 in the main building required three months.

Diffculties

According to Mr Kuprashvili, the main difficulty when working on the columns, which have used a mix of Doka&9;s Top 50 and MF240 formwork systems, has been checking the angles and sizes. “Getting everything right, including the bespoke formwork has been a headache,” he added.

At the top of the columns is another slab, which is 1.9 m thick. This, said Mr Kuprashvili, acts as the main load bearing structure for the building, with the columns transferring that load to the foundation podium.

Mr Kuprashvili describes working on the Mosfilmosvkaya as “challenging”, however, he told iC that it has also been C full of new experiences, which his team can take to other projects.

“It was difficult in the beginning,” he said, “bringing the team together – everyone has their own ideas on how to do things – and the speed at which the work has to be done is also challenging.

“But in the end it all came together and Im pleased with the progress and the quality of work weve achieved,” he added.

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