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OMA completes Moscow's Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

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Rem Koolhaas’ practice OMA has completed this new modern art museum in Moscow

The 5,400m2 art museum was built in a renovated 1960s prefabricated concrete pavilion which was previously home to a restaurant and had been derelict for more than two decades.

The scheme preserves the building’s original Soviet-era elements including mosaic wall tiles and bricks

The new art space includes exhibition galleries spread across two levels alongside a creative centre for children, a shop, café, auditorium, offices and roof terrace.

The existing concrete structure has been enclosed with a new translucent double layer polycarbonate façade.

OMA Garage Museuum of Contemporary Art

The architect’s view

Exposed to snow, rain, and sun since it was abandoned in the 1990s, the former Vremena Goda restaurant – once a popular destination in Gorky Park – has become a ruin without facades. Even as a ruin it preserves the “collective” aura of the Soviet era: it is a sober public space adorned with tiles, mosaics and bricks.

The building offers two levels of unobstructed open space that will be dedicated to exhibitions, organized around two circulation and service cores. Museum programs occupy three levels, adapting to spatial and structural possibilities of the existing structure. The more fragmented spaces in the North Eastern part of the pavilion surrounding the main core primarily accommodate education and research programs. The large open spaces in the South Western part are dedicated to exhibitions, projects and events.

The building offers a wide range of interior conditions for the exhibition of art beyond the ubiquitous “white cube” and provides innovative curatorial possibilities, such as hinged white walls that can be folded down from the ceiling. They provide an instant white cube when an exhibition demands a more neutral environment, while the existing walls retain their brick and green tile cladding.

OMA Garage Museuum of Contemporary Art

Project data

Location Gorky Park, Moscow
Type of project museum
Architect OMA
Local architect Form Bureau (concept phase) and Buromoscow (construction phase)
Engineer Werner Sobek
Area 5,400m2

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