A new design plan for central Moscow’s Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts will culminate in 2019 with a totally rennovated and rejuvenated museum. The plan will “visually unify its structures” and help increase visitor footfall.
The museum is the biggest museum of European art in Moscow. The aim of the ambitious building program is to create a “Museum Town”.
The Museum Town project will more than double the footprint of the Pushkin Museum. The Museum currently attracts over 3 million visitors a year. Museum management expects this figure to triple as a result of the redevelopment.
The creation of such a museum complex was a dream of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts’ founder, Ivan Tsvetaev. The plans involve completely redesigning the museum complex and adding additional galleries underneath the existing museum structure.
The Pushkin State Museum and a 100 year History
The redevelopment became necessary because of the growing size of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts’ collection. Throughout its 100-year history the museum has looked to expand and enhance its collection.
The Pushkin houses Russia’s biggest collection of Western European art. Together with masterpieces by Rembrandt and Tiepolo, it also has a world-renowned collection of impressionist and 20th Century art. This includes work from Picasso, Gauguin and Derain.
Notable is Van Gogh’s “La Vigne Rouge”, (right), the only painting sold during the artist’s lifetime. The museum is also the main depositary of Troy’s so-called Priam’s Treasure gold hoard removed from Troy by the German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann
The developing collection outgrew its main building. In the 1980s, Irina Antonova, museum director at the time but now its president, started to add buildings to the territory.
Since then and Antonova’s leadership, the museum has added nearly 30 buildings close to the main structure within a six hectare footprint. A key goal of the Museum Town project is to “conceptually unify” these diverse buildings.
Meganom and Museum Town
Although british Architect Norman Foster was initially attached to the Museum Town project, the firm pulled out in 2013. After this, the museum held a new competition to choose a new architecture firm.
Yuri Grigoryan and the Meganom design firm were chosen the following year. Their concept involves unifying the museum buildings into a general park zone. They also plan to turn part of Volkhonka Street into a boulevard. Furthermore, their concept involves creating underground galleries.
The Avesta consulting firm worked with Meganom in developing the concept for the Museum Town. Avesta has worked on projects for Punta della Dogana Museum in Venice and the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Further features of the plan include linking the daily life of the museum to the seasons of the year and making the museum accessible to disabled visitors. They also plan to develop a specific “Pushkin design.”
Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts’ deputy director, Anna Trapkova, says that the designers will put the space inbetween the museum buildings to good use. It will be used for exhibiting public art and holding festivals and concerts in the warmer months. In autumn and winter these type of events will be held in an auditorium underneath the main building.
Image source: Architectural bureau “Project Meganom”