Designs revealed for a new cultural quarter for the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
Transforming the site of the Pushkin Museum, Foster + Partners’ bold masterplan will encompass the sensitive refurbishment of the museum itself, as well as the subtle treatment of the listed villas around the site to create a new cultural quarter in the heart of Moscow. Connections between the buildings will be reinforced with extensive landscaping and the creation of a new below ground circulation route, so that the site is reinvented as a world class year-round cultural and civic destination, anchored by the Pushkin Museum.
The museum building, itself, completed in 1912, will have its original grand entrance reinstated, its spectacular glazed roof restored and its gallery space considerably increased. Two existing courtyards within the footprint of the building will be glazed to provide year-round spaces and the west courtyard becomes a new focal point with access to subterranean exhibition spaces that lead to other parts of the quarter.
The scheme also reinvents the diverse collection of buildings owned by the Pushkin Museum across the site to increase exhibition and archive space. In addition, Stulov’s Lodging House will become a boutique hotel. Four new buildings include an exhibition building, a 600-seat multi-functional concert hall, a library and a new administration building.
Characterised by lush tree-lined boulevards, the site will be pedestrianised, with new gardens to complement the existing courtyards. During the colder months, the network of routes below ground creates a sheltered ‘winter route’ and an alternative means to move between buildings. Light wells allow natural light to filter down while also creating a strong relationship to the above ground environment. The light wells also mark strategic points to move between levels.
The site is near a number of urban landmarks, including the Kremlin and the renowned Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The scheme celebrates connections to this wider urban context, improving accessibility with the nearby metro station feeding directly into the below ground circulation route. There is also new underground parking for visitors and staff, as well as discreet servicing for vehicles below ground.
Norman Foster said:
“I am very excited by this extraordinary project to create a cultural quarter for the Pushkin Museum and for Moscow. It is a true masterplan in the sense that it is less about individual buildings and more about the coherence of the site in its entirety, with an emphasis on landscaping and public spaces. It is also about enhancing connections – both above and below ground. Improvements to the historic buildings and better provisions for back-of-house facilities will make the Pushkin’s magnificent collections more accessible and part of a wider destination.”