Inspired by bread, made of bricks, in the middle of belarusian rye field, one day a small bakery appeared
Tutor: Evgeniy Asse
Assistant: Igor Chirkin

The theme of the diploma studio where I had been designing my master's work is Rethinking Material/ity. Within our research work, we were studying the interaction between the material and architecture, and its sensual and constructive elements. We had executed a series of exercises and research assignments in order to find one's own understanding of the material/materiality in the modern architecture and to formulate one's statement and position.

For me, the work with material started with my manifesto. I got inspired while working on a research essay on the interaction of architecture and capitalism. I believe that to truly learn the material, one needs to actually work with it. This means that instead of theorizing, one needs to take a palette knife and bricks, and build a wall. That's what I'd done as part of my performance manifesto. I bought 300 kg of brick and started building a wall, video recording the whole process.

That very moment, I chose brick, and it chose me.

As I was researching the physics and poetics of brick, I came across a book from 1762 on architectural masonry. In this book the stove was presented as an architectural detail. The stove on its own resembled an architectural construction. Having researched the topic of the interaction of break and heat, I came to the conclusion that not only did a brick want to become an arch, as Louis Kahn once said, but it also wanted to stay in warmth. Brick is known for its capacity to keep heat.

Upon analyzing brick stoves in the architecture, I had distinguished three major typologies where stoves were found: the bakery, the ceramic studio, and the crematorium. In these typologies, brick interacts with the dough, clay, and body, and these three textures are metaphorically triune.

Having analyzed the context of my construction, I opted for the bakery typology, further developing my project in the direction of interaction between brick and bread.

As a project location, I chose a field area near Ostrovno, a small agricultural town in Vitebsk Region. For me, Vitebsk Region brings back memories from my childhood and adulthood.

As a child, I used to go to the village by car with my dad to visit my grandad. That was one of the main adventures of my childhood – to escape from a bustling city and to drive along fields and meadows, forests and lakes, coming across hares, roe deer, and storks.

For the past six years, I have been living in Moscow. I go back home to Minsk 10-12 times a year. The moment I cross the border and find myself in Vitebsk Region, I always get this feeling of home.

There is a former 16th century Roman Catholic church in Ostrovno. Its thick meter-high brick walls are gradually falling into ruin, not being taken care of. I thought it'd be quite symbolic if instead of dying brick something there would be new brick something, built in a traditional brick laying technique, as a tribute to the era and succession of architectural materiality.
Vitebsk is known for its art school, where Kazimir Malevich studied. His most famous painting is "Black square". Art group "Sinie nosi' reinterpreted it in their work "Kitchen Suprematism". They presented a black square in the form of a piece of black bread.
In the process of analogue research, I was mainly paying attention to the diversity of brickwork. I began to notice brickwork everywhere, and the diversity of its variety became my main inspiration. I photographed my findings in the city using my phone and saved the pictures in a separate folder. I used another folder to save examples I found in books and on the internet.
First sketches.
Inspired by different bricklaying techniques, by the industrial touch, by bread and brick, I made the first sketches of the programme and created the image of my future bakery.
Programme sketch
In the first programme sketch, I was reflecting on the spaces I needed for my bakery. Since the bakery was located on the road, I thought that there should definitely be some space for sleep and rest, like a small hotel. In addition, there would be bread production and a small shop where one could buy bread. Observing the process is one of the key points of my project. Trying bread baking is also important. This gives you an opportunity to get in touch with the bread baking magic. One of the spaces is specifically designed for observation. It's a rye garden, which was transformed into a passage through the field.
Studying brick slabs got me fascinated since the profile of a brick roof resembles a loaf of bread. After an in-depth analysis, I distinguished some common types of brick slabs. I chose the most comprehensible and clear forms for my project.
When studying brick production technologies, I came across some inter-related parallels in these processes, both in terms of technological process (obtaining raw materials – mixing – shaping – firing – setting and packaging), and the visual aspect. Bread loaves, like bricks, are modular objects approximating to a simple and accurate grid. Still, at certain points, both processes involve human interaction. This leads to contingencies and minor issues, like a brick shifting against the seam width, or a loaf turning against another one.

These very observations made me reflect on the spectrum of nuances of each bricklaying technique for each function.
The first meeting
Sketch model
Ground floor plan

On the ground floor, there is the main entrance with the shop, where one can have a cup of coffee and buy a loaf of bread or freshly baked croissants. Moreover, the bread shop is consolidated with the reception area of the small hotel. Farther away, having passed rows of bread, the visitor enters a gallery. The bread production for 3 tons per day is straight ahead. Having turned to the left, the visitor passes by the production looking in the windows and watching the bread making process. Having reached the end of the passage, they come into the hotel, with a breakfast area and a small kitchen located on the ground floor.

If one takes the right turn from the entrance, they may get to an open area with a non-functional tube. The visitor can get inside of it in and observe a clear starry sky as if looking through a telescope. Having walked a bit farther, the visitor enters the bread making knowledge space with a workshop area. Opposite the entrance, there is a staircase leading to the first floor. Down there, having turned left, through the arch, one finds a space with two tiers of windows, with a big table for a group of beginner bakers. Having baked bread, the visitor may proceed to individual rooms of bread tasting located on the left. On the right, in a separate room, there is a small kitchen for preparing light appetizers and beverages to accompany bread – honey, artisan cheese, homemade wine and medovukha.
First floor plan

On the first floor, there is a spacious balcony to stroll through with a beautiful view of surrounding forests, fields and lakes. There are three hotel rooms on this floor. Each room has a bathroom, a cupboard and a desk. Rollaway beds are available upon request. Having come out of the room, the guest enters the open balcony with a picturesque view of the landscape. When passing along the production area, one can visit the bread aroma space. There, sitting on one of the benches, the visitor can observe the whole bread production cycle through the arch colonnade. Opposite the production room, there are administrative areas, Head Baker's office and a rest area for employees with a dining table.

At the end of the balcony, there is a small café, where one can watch workshops conducted below. Thus, having seen the production process with one's own eyes, the visitor can enjoy a fresh loaf of bread at the end of the journey.

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