Maksim Povstugar



Hello, I am Maksim. I have an interest in architecture since I was around five, when I experienced the gorgeous cathedral of Palma de Mallorca. It struck me with its unusual forms and Gothic magnificence. Since then I was drawing all the Gothic cathedrals, building sand castles of similar forms and studying architecture of the past. Here, at SSOA, I developed an interest in contemporary architecture and my interest lies in exploration of space and spatial elements, such as light, rhythm, form, tectonics, etc. I am also keen on exploring materiality and architectural promenade and how it affects ambience of space, interacts with light and objects. This is why I am pushing my 3D rendering skills, which allow a very clear visualization of space and material properties. Of course, all these explorations are not possible without having in mind human factor and meeting the requirements of sustainability and functionality, which I try to approach with a careful attention.

P1. Observatory
if stars are lit
it means — there is someone who needs it?
Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1914

During initial research, we found out that today stars are mostly viewed through computer screens. This is not exciting at all,I thought. What can be more poetic than gazing at the stars with our bare eye? Or even with direct optical telescopes, still allowing engagement with these beautiful realms. This is where the idea to create spaces both for modern and traditional star gazing comes from. Architecturally, an intention was to respond to the dramatic cliff at our site. As a response there is overhanging platform that can be used for outdoor lectures, usage of traditional telescopes and other events. The platform is incorporated into architectural promenade which is supposed to connect processes happening in the building with architecture, and again, return excitement to astronomy.


The brief was to design an observatory, including a modern telescope space, overnight accommodation and multipurpose teaching space. Our site was Higgar Tor, located in Peaks District. It is a sort of a rocky plateau, featuring interesting landscapes and offering gorgeous views.



P2. Concert Hall

“Music is as immediate an objectification and copy of the whole will…
for this reason the effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts”
The World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer, 1819

This is a very personal project. For me music has always been the favorite of all arts. From childhood until today, most powerful emotional experiences and moments of most sincere delight were offered to me by Tchaikovsky’s and Mahler’s symphonies, Wagner’s and Strauss’s operas. This is why it was so interesting to explore, how architecture and music can form a synthesis. I completely disagree with Schopenhauer’s opinion that architecture is direct opposite of music and is the weakest of arts (I consider architecture as an art in the first place), acting only in space, but not in time. From my perspective, architecture and music both share a number of abstract elements (for architecture these would be form, space, light, rhythm etc.) set to motion (in architecture this would be the sequence of spaces) and creating a transcendent experience. I also tried to capture the abstract nature of music experimentally, through these elements. As a case study I chose Max Richter’s piece “On the Nature of Daylight”, because it is a curious minimalist piece, relatively easy to read and suggesting a connection to light in its name.

In terms of the building itself, I chose to design a chamber music concert hall. The justification of that choice is that Sheffield has only two spaces dedicated to classical music: Sheffield City Hall and Firth Hall. Many concerts are therefore held in churches, schools etc. In this context, Sharrow is quite a suitable location for new venue, as it is near to the City Center and has a quite a lot of people older than 45, who are the main potential auditorium of this venue. The Building was supposed to be very egoistic to its surroundings, creating a retreat to the world of music. However, after the review I altered the surroundings and added some glimpses to the hall from  overlooking windows.

I have a particular interest in 3D graphics and I also love animation, though my skills here are at a very basic level. For this project I prepared a little movie, explaining larger composition (which spaces correspond to which parts of Max Richter’s piece)

P3. “Rurban” Housing

The brief was to create a housing development with at least 6 housing units, two housing types and a communal facility. The sites were in Heeley, a green, calm and hilly area.

The idea of “Rurban” housing came from the context, which felt quite rural. However, Heeley is connected to the wider city, which is urban environment. So I decided to connect both in this housing development, focusing mainly on urban instruments of comfort and rural community bonds. Community is a particular focal point, as it starts developing at the ignition of the development. The project is responding to the housing crisis, so the starting point is a group of seven people/families, who are not able not afford their own homes. Two of them are masonry and timber building professionals, who teach others building skills. One is project manager, who coordinates all the processes. The first bit (office and workshop, later turned into a communal facility and housing unit) is built by contractors. Then in several stages, community builds the development. Having these initial and quite strong bonds, people later create a co housing, with lots of shared spaces for various activities and a green roof, suitable for growing fruit and vegetables. The approach to design was about responding to the site (brick, zigzag plan with parts oriented towards south and levels of the building) and using capabilities of materials, as well as exposing services and using them as spatial elements.

 Video presentation, showing larger context, building process, spaces and flexible furniture.