Exhibition of Most Daring Ideas for Transforming the City Opened at Museum of Moscow

18 December 2021

The Museum of Moscow offers to reflect on the main utopias of the capital’s urban planning plans, to see how the city grew and developed thanks to the ideas of the brightest personalities, and to dream about the future. On December 17, exhibition «Moscow: Designing the Future» was opened.

Utopias, visionaries and creators: the exhibition will tell you whether the hopes of the ancestors for the appearance of the city of the future came true and what the city could have become if the dreams of the constructivists had come true and the Stalinist master plan had been put into practice. The exhibition space passes through the timeline of the past, present and future.

The history of the master plans for the development of Moscow is presented with the help of a multimedia installation, which in an accessible form presents the concepts that underlie the complex urban planning documents. The Utopias section will present the most daring ideas for transforming Moscow: an automobile tunnel under Red Square, the houses of Georgy Krutikov soaring in the air and others.

In the section of the exposition dedicated to the creators of Moscow, you can get acquainted with the people who created the image of the capital. On touch tables with interactive games, visitors will be offered to create their ideal city, select suitable objects for a built-up area, and also take a test on their knowledge of various topics from the field of urban planning and architecture.

The guests will also see a cycle of short documentaries made especially for the exhibition by Mikhail Zygar’s creative studio «History of the Future». They are dedicated to the development of road, social and cultural infrastructure, parks, as well as events that influenced the formation of the city: the transfer of the capital, watering, fires, anniversaries, the Olympics-80 and others. For the exposition, the Museum of Moscow has provided more than 200 objects — archival photographs, negatives, lithographs, prints and postcards of the 19th-20th centuries, as well as maps and plans for the development of Moscow from the 17th century to the 1960s. Some of them were used in multimedia videos, and some are presented at the exhibition.

At the exhibition you can see a series of postcards «Moscow of the Future» made in 1914, photographs by Boris Tombak, Alexander Kapustyansky, Emmanuil Evzerikhin and other famous artists and correspondents, as well as books from the collection of local area expert and historian Pyotr Vasilyevich Sytin. «Moscow: Designing the Future» is a visionary project, which was worked on by Yuliana Knyazhevskaya, Chairman of the Moscow Committee for Architecture, Chief Architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov, as well as specialists from Moscow Committee for Architecture, the Institute of the General Plan of Moscow, the Museum of Moscow and other organizations.

«In short, the idea of ​​the exhibition is to show what is behind a popular saying „Just draw it and live in it“. What exactly you need to know in order to be able to draw the future. Because many people take things for granted: houses are built by themselves, rivers are flowing by themselves. In fact, designing a city is an extremely complex set of different competencies. The exhibition is dedicated to the story of what was the administration of the city under Elizaveta Petrovna, under Catherine II, under the tsars, when Moscow was not the capital, as the capital was in St. Petersburg, what then became of the administration of the city when the capital returned to Moscow, what ambitions and challenges the city had, what tasks the city solved, — says the curator of the exhibition Dmitry Likin. — The main thing for the city now is the same as in the last enchanting general plan of Moscow in 1971, namely, people. While the Stalinist master plan saw serving ideology, especially the ideology of the vertical system of command, as the main value, Khrushchev’s master plan had exactly the opposite task — first of all, the people who live in this city. »

Yuliana Knyazhevskaya: «2021 has been declared the Year of Architecture and Urban Planning in the CIS. And it so happened that in 2021 Moskomarkhitektura celebrates its anniversary — exactly 30 years ago, by order of the Mayor of Moscow, the Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning was created. But this is not the only anniversary date — this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the Moscow General Planning Institute. In honor of our anniversary, we decided to create this unusual exhibition, it shows the history of the development of Moscow from an unusual angle — from the side of officials, from the side of designers, architects who at one time created and developed Moscow. We can say that the exhibition is dedicated to the evolution of management mechanisms and a variety of urban planning solutions, even those that had nothing to do with reality, but which together formed the image of our beloved Moscow, which we admire, love and are very proud of. »

Sergey Kuznetsov: «Creation of the Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning of the city took place at a rather difficult time: everyone remembers this period of the early 90s, the transition from the post-socialist city, the center not only of the Soviet Union, but in general the Eastern bloc, a completely different state, a different structure , other values. But over the 30 years that have passed since the creation of the Committee, the city has changed in an absolutely dramatic way, we see a colossal difference since the beginning of the 90s, which is noted by both Russian and international experts. And it so happened that this year I defended my dissertation on a very similar topic — the development of a city from the point of view of making administrative decisions: who, when, and why, took responsibility for them. Because behind any development there is some kind of personal story — any success, any failure always has a first and last name. This is a very important thing, much, oddly enough, more important than the quality of planning, master plan, etc. And we decided to make this project dedicated to such aspects that, perhaps, do not often immediately come to mind when they talk about the development of Moscow. This exhibition is not about dates, not about square meters and changing borders. We tried to make a very fresh, witty exhibition that would be interesting for all ages and, first of all, perhaps for schoolchildren, who are just forming their idea of ​​what the environment in which we are in general is, how the city turns out».

Tatiana Guk: «Having come to this exhibition, you will find many unexpected things for yourself. Perhaps someone will say that there is a lot of science, or a lot of popular things, or a lot of multimedia, stories, or something that does not fit into the format of a standard exposition. Our task was to give everyone the opportunity to learn something new and unexpected about our city in the format that is most convenient for them. Only in this way, looking at the history of Moscow through these numerous prisms, looking at the not always obvious circumstances, people influencing urban planning decisions, you can see the city in which we all live. »

The exhibition «Moscow: Designing the Future» is open from December 17 and will be working until mid-May.

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