Reaching the second stage of the international competition to design Russia’s National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), which was won by Heneghan Peng Architects, WAI Think Tank put forth a proposal that projects the NCCA as not just a center "for the creation, study, and support of contemporary art in Russia" but also "a building as manifesto." WAI Think Tank focused on giving a flexible autonomy to the enclosed and external spaces, designing the galleries as extensions of the city, in an attempt to design "the first archetype of Museum as City."
Enhanced by the "dialectic between the city and architecture, between art and the public, between landscape and building," WAI Think Tank's design marks a paradigm shift of international museology. According to the architects, in creating a building that invites and embraces the public through its open spaces, the new NCCA would blur the lines between both building and context, and between art and life.
Rather than emulating the boundary that usually separates museums from their context, the NCCA building is designed as an "open museum." The arrangement of the volumes on the ground level allow the public to circulate freely through its open spaces, creating a new urban museum experience.
For WAI Think Tank, "the new NCCA is not a building within a park; the park and the building are inseparable. Linked by way of a harmonious symbiosis, a series of paths direct the public between metro station, park and building in an effortless journey that offers glimpses of outdoor sculptures in an environment for the contemplation of art." In this way, the new NCCA brings art to the public. "The building creates a promenade in which people interact with exhibition pieces featured in the public space and on the multiple terraces of the building."
"The layout of the NCCA consists of a ground level that contains public programs, creative residences, office space, conference halls and the collection repository, and three volumes of varying heights that intersect at different points creating a maze of flexible exhibition space."
Design TeamCruz Garcia, Nathalie Frankowski, Edgar Garcia, Zhang Yanping, Yu Yihua, Anna Popova, Ilyas Sadybekov
Structural Engineer+G (Felix Cruz Marcos, Laura Gil Santana)
Technology and SustainabilityAlejandra Garcia Hooghuis
Museology ConsultantEvgenia Novgorodova
PhotographsCourtesy of WAI Think Tank