Creative Environment and Urbanism: Art Center at the former Hydropower Plant-2

05 December 2016

Section “Creative Environment and Urbanism” of the V International Cultural Forum in St. Petersburg featured a presentation of the project of the Art Center at the former Hydropower Plant-2 in Bolotnaya Square.

The project was presented by Antonio Belevedere, a partner of architectural studio Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Chief Architect of Moscow and curator of the section Sergey Kuznetsov and director of the Russian foundation V-A-C, Teresa Iarocci Mavica.

“This project is unique in the sense that it is fully funded by a private investor and designed by famous foreign architects — an excellent example of an international cultural dialogue. The museum concept was discussed at the meeting of the Architectural Board of Moscow, as well as the Scientific and Methodological Council of the Department Cultural Heritage and was approved in principle,” — says Sergey Kuznetsov.

Музей современного искусства на месте ГЭС-2 в Москве

In the project by Renzo Piano the power plant building erected in 1904–1907 will be preserved. The central nave or the machine room gallery with the dimensions 100×13 meters and the height of 22 meters — will be fully open and will become an exhibition area as well as other smaller rooms of the power station, which will be turned into a network of expo halls.

Antonio Belvedere: “HPP-2 project is about creating a space for people. We’re not going to do something big and pretentious, we want the building itself to tell its story. We started with the definition of the place, it is important to make the building noticeable, the museum should be clearly visible from the embankment. The power plant is associated with the magic of machines and dynamics. That’s why we wanted the building to continue emitting energy, but rather a cultural and creative one. Now the building inside looks like a huge empty cathedral. We decided to preserve as much as possible from the original building, and create a kind of a street inside it with exhibition rooms clustered along its way.”

Музей современного искусства на месте ГЭС-2 в Москве

As for materials, the architects decided to play on contrasts: the old finish is complemented with concrete to clearly separate the present from the past.

“We want to erase the boundary between the city and the museum, to create a space that demonstrates accessibility, openness, and transparency; to create a sort of a ‘piazza’ in front of the facade overlooking the river, the area from which people will get inside — straight to our symbolical ‘street’. We also open all the windows, so that the whole building is see-through,” — says Antonio Belvedere.

Музей современного искусства на месте ГЭС-2 в Москве

HPP-2 will have a free-access library, a bookstore, a café and an auditorium for 350 seats for various events.

“Our museum is dynamic: when you walk through the building, you see it from a different angle each time. This is not only reflected in the architecture, but also in the exposition. A museum, where you come to just see something is an outdated concept. We a place where young people could try something new, express themselves. A place where a person who avoids museums out of principle could discover something new,” — says Teresa Mavica.

An important part of the project is a small birch forest of 600 trees next to the museum. “The birch grove will harmoniously blend with the environment and will serve as a natural screen that separates this area from the surrounding buildings. We plan to plant 500-600 trees,” — says Antonio Belvedere.

Музей современного искусства на месте ГЭС-2 в Москве

Environment and sustainability is one of the key themes of the entire project. There will be solar panels with a total area of ​​5 thousand sq. m which will enable energy savings of up to a megawatt per day. In addition, the smoke stacks of the former power station will be used — their height after the reconstruction will be 70 meters, which will allow them to carry out the clean air from the atmosphere through special generators.

“I’m following the progress of this project, it is great that industrial areas in the city are being renovated. Toda’s Moscow is a platform for implementation of the most daring and bold ideas. In this project, we have won twice. To create the museum we had to close an existing power station, which provides power to the Central Administrative District. In its place, there is a new compact energy point with cutting-edge equipment. In addition, we are preserving a unique cultural site, fill it with new meaning, thus enriching the cultural environment of the area”, — says Alexander Kibovsky, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow.

Venue: Saint-Petersburg. State Hermitage Museum. Headquarters

Send your inquiries on “Creative Environment and Urbanism” section to or call +7 499 766-21-71.

Images: MKA

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