On a hillside outside Moscow sits a stunning home that towers above treetops and provides endless views of the clouds. The newly completed project is the only private residence ever to be designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, created for Russian businessman Vladislav Doronin.
The design was commissioned by Doronin in 2006, with one unique idea in mind. "I want to wake up in the morning and just see blue sky," he recalled telling Hadid. "You realize you have to be above the trees?" the architect replied. And thus, a design was born on a napkin.
The incredible home, known as the ‘Capital Hill Residence,’ is located in a forested area of Barvikha, Russia. It sits on a north-facing hillside and consists of two main parts – a lower area which sits among pine and birch trees, and an upper part which rises 22 meters (72 feet) above the ground.
“We created all the challenges ourselves because our idea was to carve into the slope with a series of spaces...pull out to the level of the tree canopies, hovering above the line where the tree canopies rest, to pull out and have the great view across the forest, while everything else is embedded in the forest,” said Patrick Schumacher, principal architect at Zaha Hadid Architects.
Doronin, who serves as founder, chairman, and CEO of the international real estate development firm OKO group, described the home not only as a “beautiful sculpture,” but also a “liveable space.”
The businessman brought his own ideas to the table, with Schumacher describing him as “maybe the most involved client we ever had, the most perfectionist, the most invested.” But that is, he said, to be expected. “It’s his personal piece. It’s his expression.”
That expression was followed through in an exterior reminiscent of a periscope rising above towering trees. It’s a building that’s defined by its natural topography and uses fluid geometries emerging from the landscape.
The interior, meanwhile, boasts soft curves and plenty of windows which provide endless views of the blue sky that Doronin dreamed of seeing. As one might expect, the home is also full of luxury amenities including an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, and fitness and massage areas.
The residence is, according to Schumacher, a “dream house.” The architect called the project a “wonderful opportunity,” adding that “no architect would refuse such a commission.”
The house is the only private residence ever to be built by Hadid, who tragically passed away from a heart attack in 2016 at the age of 65. “For me, she was an architect of a different league,” Doronin said. “We lost one of the greatest architects of the century.”