Asymptote’s Designs for Moscow Contemporary Hermitage Museum Revealed

Update: We've amended the post with new images from Asymptote Architecture and new quotes from Asymptote Co-founder and Design Partner Hani Rashid.

Asymptote Architecture has revealed renderings of their design for a new Contemporary branch of the Hermitage Museum, to be located adjacent to a new residential district in the area of the former ZIL automotive plant in Moscow. Presented at the V Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum by Asymptote Co-founder and Design Partner Hani Rashid, the museum will house a collection of contemporary art from 20th and 21st centuries.

Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

“ZIL will turn into not just a new city district with residential and commercial real estate but will also have a museum as a center of attraction for the city residents,” said Sergey Kuznetsov, Chief Architect of Moscow.

The museum design has been separated chronologically – lower levels have been designated for art from the first half of the 20th century, while the raised-ceiling galleries on the upper floors will exhibit the contemporary collection. Public spaces will include a cafeteria, a gift shop/library, a cinema hall, a rooftop sculpture garden and a wood-clad amphitheater designed for public events.

Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

“The new Hermitage Modern Contemporary Museum will be a groundbreaking venue in Moscow with a multitude of ways to experience art. At some points the ceilings are quite high to allow large-scale works, while other parts promote works that will flow from one level to another. Curators and artists alike can use the spaces we are creating to experiment and utilize in the spirit of tradition as well as in completely new and unorthodox ways. We are hoping the spaces will promote experimentation and will alter the perspectives one has on art and culture,” explains Rashid.

Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

“In the contemporary wing of the building, the spaces will be highly transformable in terms of lighting. There will also be the possibility to black out spaces with curtains and screens to accommodate large scale video and technological works.”

“We sought to create a constant sense of meandering through the gallery and interstitial spaces, to inspire a sense of wonder and discovery, reveling in the idea of ‘getting lost’ within these spaces and the art. We very much want to detach ourselves conceptually from the standard notion of flows and ‘museum experience’ as we know it today. Instead, we want to present an idea of the experience of art and spatiality as the motivation behind the architecture,” the architect said.

Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

The external envelope will consist of a double glazed, UV-resistant facade system, which will give the building a luminous, transparent aesthetic that will transform in different atmospheric conditions. Walls and transparencies have been arranged in a dynamic composition, and will be ornamented with an abstract design.

“Knowing that people visit museums to get in touch with culture, history, and storytelling was the basis for pursuing as many open programmed interior spaces as possible. The idea of visiting the museum to simply get a cup of coffee, for example, puts a person in a cafe that is designed as a physical spatial enactment of Malevich's famous painting of the Black square on the ground floor, visible from the plaza outside. This thereby puts the individual art as an experience tethered to the everyday experience,” Rashid added.

Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

The museum project is latest addition of the “Big Hermitage” project, which was seen the museum open new branches in cities worldwide, including Amsterdam, London, Barcelona, Kazan, Vyborg and Omsk.

“Each branch museum of the Hermitage has its own focus, and we decided that in Moscow it will be contemporary art of the 20th -21st centuries. The concept of this branch museum was developed together with Hani Rashid,” explained Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum.

Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

The Hermitage Modern Contemporary is expected to open to the public in 2020. Learn more about the design, and Asymptote’s residential tower in Moscow, here.

News via Archcouncil of Moscow.

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Cite: Patrick Lynch. "Asymptote’s Designs for Moscow Contemporary Hermitage Museum Revealed" 09 Dec 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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