Moscow is experiencing a boom in public and private museum construction: in the early 2020s, the city will see the Hermitage at ZIL, the cultural space of the VAC fund at HPP-2, the Tretyakov Gallery will appear in a renewed form and with a new building in Lavrushinsky, and at the Pushkin Museum them. Alexander Pushkin will realize the dream of the founder of the museum, Ivan Tsvetaev, to create a “museum town”. True, it is unlikely that even in the wildest dreams, he could imagine the grandeur of the plan, which is being implemented right now before our eyes. ARTANDHOUSES met the deputy director of the Pushkin Museum Anna Trapkova at this construction site and learned about how the museum will change depending on the season, the importance of private investment, a restaurant with the best views in Moscow and underground treasures.
When will your visitors see the first signs of the future Museum City?
The content of the article:
- 1 When will your visitors see the first signs of the future Museum City?
- 2 In this case, can graffiti appear in the Pushkin Museum? Not on the walls themselves, but, perhaps, as it was in our pavilion in Venice, when for the project of Irina Nakhova its walls were sewn up with plywood and repainted.
- 3 Will the existing fences prevent the perception of the quarter as a single space and will they be preserved?
- 4 Please tell us what this building is and what will be there?
- 5 On which objects is work already underway?
- 6 Did you find anything interesting when these buildings were surveyed?
- 7 Will they be visible to visitors after the reconstruction is completed?
- 8 How will you show the impressionists of your collection and post-impressionists, and what will this building look like?
- 9 What will be in the buildings of the Museum Town in addition to the permanent exhibition?
- 10 What will it be filled with?
- 11 That is, they will be thematically connected with the expositions in the buildings above?
- 12 It was reported that a little more than 22 billion rubles were allocated for the creation of the Museum City. Has this amount been adjusted in the course of work and do you plan to attract private investors to implement the project?
The first new building will not open until 2019 at the earliest. But we expect that the changes will be noticeable at the end of next year, together with the reconstruction of Volkhonka according to the project of the Meganom bureau, which we are doing within the framework of the Moscow government's program “My Street”. The pedestrian zone will expand, trees will appear on Volkhonka, and the street will look more like a boulevard. In order to visually unite a block of buildings of different styles and eras, and create a sense of a single space for visitors, design and navigation elements that unify it are required. Crossing the border of the Museum Town, a person should feel that he is in the space of the museum. In the warm season, we plan to actively use the territory for our events – lectures, concerts, film screenings, master classes. It will also house art objects. In Moscow, there are practically no sites for permanent exhibiting of public art.
In this case, can graffiti appear in the Pushkin Museum? Not on the walls themselves, but, perhaps, as it was in our pavilion in Venice, when for the project of Irina Nakhova its walls were sewn up with plywood and repainted.
This is a great idea for our construction site! We already have one building covered with plywood. The problem is that most of the buildings under reconstruction are located in the depths of the block, so such interventions will be invisible to visitors. Therefore, for now, we are using our numerous building fences to tell about the museum, its future, and current exhibitions.
Will the existing fences prevent the perception of the quarter as a single space and will they be preserved?
There are many historical fences on the territory, and we keep them as much as possible. The Megan bureau, which designs the territory of the Museum Town, faces a difficult task – to find a compromise between the need to preserve every historical stone and at the same time create a permeable environment inside the Museum Quarter. In particular, the project provides for the restoration of the outline of the old street, which ran parallel to Volkhonka, it starts from Kolymazhny lane between the Department of Personal Collections and the House of Graphics.
The preservation of the historical environment has become one of the priorities of the new architectural and urban planning concept, with which Meganom and Yuri Grigoryan won the competition in June 2014. Therefore, we try to consistently follow this priority. I would like to note that Grigoryan designed a new building, is engaged in the formation of a common ground and underground public space, as well as overseeing all projects – they are made by different architects. A scientific advisory council on cultural heritage has been established at the museum. It includes the best restorers in Moscow, who coordinate projects and monitor the progress of work on the territory of the quarter. And, for example, when designing the depository, restoration and exhibition center – the only new building in the Museum Town – we decided not to dismantle the old buildings that are on the territory of future construction, but do not have a conservation status, but completely preserve them and include them in this complex.
Please tell us what this building is and what will be there?
This is the most important building in the quarter. It will house our entire collection, restoration workshops, new showrooms. The area of the depository, restoration and exhibition center is 20.5 thousand square meters. m. Construction “from scratch” in the very center of Moscow imposes great restrictions on the height of the building, so the main part of the building will be underground. Two buildings, exhibition and technological, are connected by an underground space where storage will be, including open storage, allowing our visitors to gain a broader view of our holdings and learn about the inner life of the museum.
The Museum of Fine Arts was designed as an educational museum of casts, therefore storage in the historical building was not envisaged. At the same time, over a hundred-year history, the collection of the museum has significantly expanded and now numbers seven hundred thousand items. In fact, the entire project of the Museum City is connected with the need to adequately present our collection to visitors and provide conditions for its preservation.
On which objects is work already underway?
Now construction is underway at four sites. Since mid-2014, the reconstruction of the Vyazemsky-Dolgorukov estate has been going on; in 2019, the Gallery of Art of Old Masters will open here. In the summer of 2015, the reconstruction of the apartment building of the Stulov brothers began, which we plan to open in 2019 as the House of Text. Now we are working on the interior of this house together with the Russian-Dutch bureau SVESMI. In September of this year, we held a ceremony to commence construction of a depository, restoration and exhibition center designed by Yuri Grigoryan and Project Meganom bureau. According to plans, the commissioning of the facility will take place in 2020. And all this time, the construction of infrastructure for the Museum City continues – the main work should be completed by the fall of next year.
A month ago, the Glavgosexpertiza received a positive opinion on the project for the reconstruction of the Golitsyns' estate under the Gallery of 19th-21st century European and American art designed by architects Yuri Avvakumov and Georgy Solopov together with the Central Scientific Restoration Design Workshops. Construction work there will begin in mid-2017 and finish in 2021.
After the Gallery of Art of Old Masters, the House of Text and the Depository-Restoration and Exhibition Center are opened, the main building of the Museum will be closed for reconstruction. But this will not happen until 2020-2021.
Did you find anything interesting when these buildings were surveyed?
Yes. When the project for the restoration of the Vyazemsky-Dolgorukov estate was being developed, the researchers knew that the bulk of the chambers of the 17th century formed the basis of the building, but this fact was not confirmed. During the construction process, many finds were discovered: vaulted ceilings on the ground floor, numerous fragments of interiors and even facades. Now we are preparing to re-enter Glavgosekpertiza in order to approve the project that has changed in connection with these discoveries.
Will they be visible to visitors after the reconstruction is completed?
The interiors of the first floor with vaulted ceilings and brick walls with stoves will point to the 17th century. And the facade, facing Bolshoy Znamensky Lane, was decided to be preserved as much as possible in order to show the entire 300-year history of the building. I must say that in the coming months, until it was dragged into the woods, you can see traces of platbands, cornices, half-columns from the alley.
How will you show the impressionists of your collection and post-impressionists, and what will this building look like?
She will move to the main house of the Golitsyn estate. This is symbolic, since it was in this mansion in 1865 that Prince Sergei Golitsyn Jr. opened the first public museum in Moscow. After the revolution, the building was added on two floors and in this form in the 1960s it became a cultural monument. Until recently, the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences was located here, and a year and a half ago it moved to a new mansion on Goncharnaya Street.
The project of architects Yuri Avvakumov and Georgy Solopov involves careful preservation and restoration of the facade of the estate at the level of the first and second floors with the restoration of the pediment and balustrade. In order to separate the later superstructure from the historical building, a translucent screen is mounted between the risalits on the third and fourth floors. The interiors of the first and second floors are being restored. Dismantling the load-bearing partitions on the third and fourth floors makes it possible to create spacious exhibition halls there. Natural light on the upper floors is provided by the translucent roof. In total, the exhibition halls will occupy 3000 sq. m, which will allow visitors to pay attention to each masterpiece. We expect that the first few years we will show the collection in full, and then rotation will follow, things will go to exhibitions, as this is the most popular part of the collection.
What will be in the buildings of the Museum Town in addition to the permanent exhibition?
There will be spaces for temporary exhibitions that are most attractive to visitors, lecture halls and educational areas, as well as convenient services – cafes, recreation areas, shops. Everything without which a modern museum cannot be imagined. This set of functions will be in every building of the Museum City, but at the same time they will be different in content. For example, in the Stulovs' house there will be a large bookstore with a second-hand book section. And in the Golitsyn estate there will be a restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Moscow River. Each courtyard in the Museum Town has its own character and a special program will be developed for it. And for the winter season, such a giant courtyard will be an underground space.
What will it be filled with?
Below the Main Building there will be a large hypostyle hall, illuminated by overhead lighting through the courtyards of the museum. The main building has always been and remains the main point of attraction on Volkhonka, therefore it must be there that there must be a large space to receive all visitors, and therefore the main buildings of the Museum Town must be connected there. A multifunctional auditorium for three hundred and fifty people will appear there, which the museum has needed for a very long time. We are also planning to create open storage units in this ticketless public space that would help the visitor navigate underground. It is important to go beyond the exhibition halls and create a sense of presence in the museum environment for visitors.
That is, they will be thematically connected with the expositions in the buildings above?
Yes, that is right. Open storage is a separate subject of conversation. Now the world's leading museums are thinking about making such an internal museum function as storage more transparent for visitors. This is especially important because we are building a depository in the city center and have no right to make it completely closed to visitors. It's not an easy experience for a traditional museum, but I don't think you need to be afraid of openness.
It was reported that a little more than 22 billion rubles were allocated for the creation of the Museum City. Has this amount been adjusted in the course of work and do you plan to attract private investors to implement the project?
The project for the development of the museum complex is fully funded by the state. Over the years, the amount has been adjusted, but essentially has not changed. But I think it's important to remember that the Museum of Fine Arts was almost entirely created with private donations. Yuri Stepanovich Nechaev-Maltsov alone, according to our department of manuscripts, donated 1 million 800 thousand rubles at the cost of building a museum and purchasing collections at the time of opening more than 3 million rubles. Patrons contributed money with the right to name the museum halls. For me, the creation of the Pushkin Museum is a story about the influence and possibilities of pre-revolutionary Moscow patronage. This is a very important argument for working with private sponsors, especially since there is not enough public money to build a world-class museum. It is good that such sponsors appear today and support us.