Garage Museum finds permanent home in derelict Soviet restaurant as renovated by OMA
The first permanent space for Russian Garage museum opened its doors this June in Moscow’s Gorky Park. The contemporary art venue is housed in the concrete pavilion of a former soviet restaurant. The renovation was led by Rem Koolhaas and his international architecture office OMA, mostly Russian-born associate Ekaterina Golovatyuk. What they had as a base was a derelict, ruinous building that had no facade thus has been exposed to weather conditions for the past 20 years or so. Erecting a new, polycarbonate facade was obviously a sensible and essential choice, but the architects intended to save as much as the original structure and interior as possible. They renovated the huge, typically soviet mosaic wall, and also kept most of the authentic tiles and bricks.
The museum stretches on 3 levels and 5400 m2, and incorporates exhibition spaces, as well as a screening room, an auditorium, education and research spaces, a rooftop terrace, a bookshop, and a cafe - services that by now are inherent part of such institutions. The walls of the gallery are adjustable, allowing for a wide range of installation possibilities from the now-traditional white cube to contemporary solutions requiring more flexibility.
After its temporary spaces, the new building by OMA will be a permanent home for Garage. Koolhaas was more than happy to accept the invitation, as he felt that while the renovation of early 20th century buildings is in full swing, remnants of the 60s-80s are often overlooked by conservatory brigades. The institution is not new to architectural ventures: they previously renovated an old bus garage that functioned as their former home, and were also involved in pavilion-building projects. Now, with the involvement of one of today’s starchitects and restoring a Soviet relic to its old glory with a contemporary twist, they managed to create something that is here to stay for the future.
Pictures: Yuri Palmin & Garage's website
Courtesy of OMA
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