Evening “under the dome”: a report from the life of the Zaryadye pavilion

22 August 2014

An interactive pavilion at the site of the future Zaryadye Park was opened at the end of April this year. It was just in time for the summer season when the center of Moscow becomes the main strolling area of the city. A correspondent of the Archcouncil portal spent an evening in the pavilion and questioned visitors about their impressions.

Over the past nearly four months the glass dome near the Kremlin was attended by many people from all corners around the world. And today, even on a weekday, there is almost always someone in the pavilion of the future park.

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

Muscovite Dmitry is here for the second time —he has brought a friend on a tour. For the first time he got acquainted with the future park by accident: the outlandish dome in the center of Moscow, literally woven from QR-codes, was shown to him by a friend.

Dmitry looks around for the most part: he examines the structure and the surroundings of the pavilion. His friend meanwhile intently reads all fifteen presentations.

The presentations are “encrypted” in the very QR-codes which light up in sequence. You can see them when you move the tablet over a lit up code. The tablets are issued to everyone right at the entrance, and those with their own devices are able to download a special app for iOS or Android.

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

This original and “architectural” manner of presentation was first thought up for the Venice Biennale in 2012 — the unusual design of the pavilion was developed by the Russian team with the current Chief Architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov for the presentation of the Skolkovo innovation center. The world community praised it: the pavilion received a special prize at the Biennale and caused heated discussion in the professional environment.

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

The reaction of Muscovites to the remake of the Venetian pavilion is varied. The building staff say that in the dome space with the QR-code ornaments some spend more time photographing, while some closely read supporting materials. First they walk around the gallery around the central dome, where there is a timeline of the development of the Zaryadye region, and then sequentially they open up all encoded presentations.

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

Some come more than once in order to study everything. Others ask for help to find a specific code — usually it’s the winning design competition created by the international consortium led by the bureau of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. In the presentations there are many historical materials related to the history of this territory, which has seen in its lifetime merchant yards and proletarian “slums,” as well as the ambitious project, “the world’s largest hotel.”

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

“People here are very different, — says a staff member. — Often former employees of the Rossiya Hotel that stood on this site come. It’s of course very interesting for them what will be here. One time a delegation from the Old English Court Museum located next door came. They also deal with the history of this area and even found some inaccuracy, and asked us to fix it.”

According to the staff, people usually learn about the pavilion from Instagram: someone photographs themselves here, posts the photo, and then others too want something like this and also come. However all the visitors that came tonight came by other paths.

Ekaterina and Yana for example, just walked by, they saw the interesting structure and looked in. They did not know anything about the park and at first for a long time photographed on the background of the lit up QR-codes. And only then started looking around with the tablets and reading.

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

Nikita, a student of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, who came with a friend, on the contrary knew about the park. “We had walked by many times, and for some reason did not go in — he says. — We thought that we would see a model of the future park. Turns out modern technology allows for something completely different to be realized. Frankly, most of all it reminds me of Cerebro’s telepathic machine from the X-Men. But in general, of course, it’s interesting. We did not expect to see something like this.”

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

According to the staff of the pavilion, it’s always different amounts of visitors: “Sometimes there are so many people that we have to get additional tablets. And sometimes it’s calm and steady. The most come during the weekend of course. On weekdays, we have a rush after six in the evening when people are coming in after work. And there are also many foreigners who walk around Moscow in the summer.”

The most knowledgeable visitor this evening was Roman, who specially came to the center with his young wife Olesya to look at the area of ​​the future park. Roman works in the construction industry, so he follows the Zaryadye project, as well as the fate of other parks in the capital. But the pavilion was a surprise for him.

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

“We knew about the park under construction and specially came to look at it, — says Roman. — But we did not hear about the pavilion. At first we thought that inside was some gallery but we have seen something completely different: something modern and interactive. We are following the development of Zaryadye and are looking forward to the appearance of the park. After all, a unique walking area should result! And right by the walls of the Kremlin.”

They say that modern man’s attention is so defocused that he cannot focus on one thing for a long time. However, the experience of the Zaryadye pavilion suggests otherwise.

There is really a lot of text and visual information here. And each visitor has a choice: either to read and to look at all the details, or flip through while enjoying the game of opening up the QR-codes.

Инфопавильон в Зарядье

But more and more, the people that come here refer to the interactive game seriously, going into every detail and reading all the texts. In the pavilion book of reviews, there are a few detailed comments — both enthusiastic and radically critical. And if a thing of the modern world receives such attention and heated debate, it means that it is far from being uninteresting for people.

We remind you that the interactive pavilion of the future park is open daily, on weekdays from 11:00 to 20:00, on weekends from 10:00 to 19:00. Admission is free.


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