Green tunnels and eaves: The ornamental functions of pergolas

Green tunnels and eaves: The ornamental functions of pergolas
There are many ornamental structures created out of metal or wooden beams around Moscow. Find out about their features and the sites of the most unusual pergolas at mos.ru.

Pergola, from the Late Latin pergula referring to a projecting eave, is a kind of shaded structure constructed from wooden or metal posts or pillars with latticework upon which woody vines are trained. During the Renaissance period, any structures used to support grapevines were called pergolas. A more traditional use in the modern meaning of the word came from France, where pergolas were erected in parks in the 17th-18th century to create a comfortable environment for people taking private strolls.

Today these light looking structures decorate entrances of buildings, alleys, squares and embankments. They are fitted out with benches and reclining chairs and surrounded by vegetation. Some pergolas are designed as independent art objects.

There are many pergolas in Moscow parks, small gardens and large landscaped areas. Find out about the most unusual pergolas and their location around the city on mos.ru.

“Caterpillar” pergola in Tyufeleva Roshcha

Tyufeleva Roshcha Park in the former ZIL industrial zone  has been recently added to Moscow’s recreation areas under the My District programme. The concept of this unusual recreation space built according to the principles of public art was proposed by famous Dutch designer and urbanist Jerry Van Eyck, who wanted to preserve the feel of the ZIL industrial site throughout the park. For this purpose he designed a 1.3 km long promenade that looks like an industrial assembly belt with a network of pavilions, a walkway and unusual drop-like benches and ran it throughout Tyufeleva Roshcha Park.

Jerry Van Eyck said that this structure, which he calls a caterpillar, is a metaphor for an industrial conveyor belt. The pergola is made with Corten steel that changes colour with time, becoming brown-orange. This kind of steel pays tribute to a factory that is now history.

Ribbon pergola at the entrance to Gorky Park

The historical entrance to Gorky Park from Leninsky Prospekt was closed for a long time, but reopened in 2018 after the surrounding area had been turned into an attractive pedestrian area with benches, lighting, an amphitheatric staircase and a viewing deck. The main feature of the place is a 100-metre long white pergola that looks like a ribbon blowing in the wind. The unusual effect has been created with a complicated structure and different-sized poles that are from one to eight metres long.

Pergolas in Brateyevskaya Poima Park

The designers of Brateyevskaya Poima Park, a new landmark of the My District programme, focused on pedestrian areas and created eaves that protect people taking strolls from the sun.

Pergolas were a natural choice, because there are few full-grown trees that give a nice bit of shade in the young park. Some of the eaves are used to suspend swings from, others have been designed as lacy arcs or protect quiet areas. The entrance to the park, also modelled as a pergola, is a standalone art object.

Pergola with benches in Zelyonaya Reka Park

Like Tyufeleva Roshcha, Zelyonaya Reka Park in Lefortovo has a visionary design based on modern urban principles and has been built in a former industrial zone.

The park’s pergola on the main entrance alley “grows” out of benches and looks like an eave that is purely decorative, because this futuristic structure does not offer any shelter from the rain or sun.

“Patriotic” pergola in Tyoply Stan

It is an example of how a pergola can change the view. The pergola in Tyoply Stan has not been built in a park or recreation zone, but near the metro station. Its design is not unique, but it has the name and emblem of the district, Tyoply Stan.

Pergola in Moscow City

The square at the concert and cinema hall in the Moscow City International Business Centre is a new public space, and the pergola built there is not a dominant architectural feature but an organic part of the concept. A white ribbon has been built around half of the amphitheatre and the fountain, giving buoyancy to the business quarter. Its form resembles the Gorky Park pergola.

Shade pergolas in Yuzhnoye Butovo Park

The landscape park in Yuzhnoye Butovo is the largest landscaped area beyond the MKAD ring road. The numerous eaves and other airy structures there offer protection from sunlight and have been designed to give visual diversity to the area.

There are benches and swings below the wooden pergolas, some of which look like an umbrella.

V-shaped pergola on Shelepikhinskaya Embankment

A recreation zone on the Shelepikhinskaya Embankment has been designed as an integral part of the network of recreation zones along the Moskva River. It has many features such as art objects, unusually shaped outdoor furniture and a small skate park.

The pergolas in this recreation zone have been structured differently, including a V-shaped one, and have different purposes: some pergolas give shade, while others serve as supporting poles for hammocks.

Pergola around Zapyataya Pond

A laconic pergola built on the embankment around Zapyataya Pond in the Obruchevsky District offers shade and also serves as a climbing frame for certain varieties of shrubs and a place where lighting is attached.

Pergola in the Levoberezhny recreation area

Sun shades in Levoberezhny recreation area are no less popular than benches or reclining chairs, primarily because it is a very popular among the Muscovites beach area.

This urban upgrading project provided for the addition of pergolas over benches, a small area of water and even changing huts. A long eave built along the beach also divides the beach area from those taking strolls in the park.