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SANAA to Design Extension of Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

SANAA to Design Extension of Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia has announced the construction of the Hexagon pavilion by SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates). The major architectural project will increase the museum’s physical footprint through the reconstruction of the Hexagon pavilion adjacent to its current home in Gorky Park, and will include a new public courtyard, exhibition spaces, and café, all designed around the "organics of presence, loyalty to the principles of sustainable consumption, and the creation of an accessible environment".

Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtCourtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtCourtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtCourtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art+ 4

Formerly known as the Machines and Tools Pavilion, the museum was originally built in 1923 by architects Ivan Zholtovsky, Viktor Kokorin, and Mikhail Parusnikov for the All-Russian Agricultural and Handicraft Industries Exhibition. The project was the only one constructed using a frame of reinforced concrete posts and beams and wooden trussed rafters, unlike others which were wooden and have not been preserved. The original design features double-height central atriums and narrow single-height wings that join to create a low gallery all around the main structure opened towards an internal courtyard. In 2015, the museum debuted its current home in Gorky Park, a Soviet era canteen renovated by Rem Koolhaas and OMA.

Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

The design intervention by the 2010 Pritzker Laureates will transform the architecture into a 9,500 square meter space for social and artistic interaction that features three exhibition galleries, a library, a bookstore, and a café, along with a public open space courtyard. Both the Garage and its new expansion will offer artists a wide range of performative and interdisciplinary display opportunities, exploring research and curatorial investigations of the history of Russian and international art. 


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When we were invited to work on the Hexagon, we immediately began to think about whether we could somehow preserve the original layout and proportions. And whether we could create something that everyone would use. Garage has always had a strong focus on the architecture of public spaces and their history, and this is very much in line with our practice. The Hexagon has a particular charm and we have tried to retain that in our design. -- Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA

Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

Proportions, repetitive elements, and openness shape us the Hexagon's unique architecture, which inspired SANAA's design. To preserve this atmosphere for visitors, the architects based their design on six principles: Geometry + Proportion, preserving the original proportions; Connected Spaces, a visual and physical connection between the pavilions and internal courtyard; Daylight, maximizing natural light; Spatial Organization; Decorative/Interior Elements, facades will be free of decorative elements, restoring the neoclassical identity of the building; and Landscape

Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

In terms of ecological awareness, the new pavilions and underground spaces will be designed in compliance with  contemporary energy efficiency standards. The glass panels used in the project will be large-pane, high-performance glass to withstand the harsh winters and very hot summers. The panels are designed with high transparency and color rendering index to reduce color distortion, keeping a close connection between the interior and the exterior. The project will also use a collective geothermal system that will provide up to 50% of the building’s requirements in cold weather.

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Cite: Dima Stouhi. "SANAA to Design Extension of Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art" 22 Nov 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/972313/sanaa-to-design-extension-of-moscows-garage-museum-of-contemporary-art> ISSN 0719-8884
Courtesy of SANAA/Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

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