New museum on the Red Square
1. Public buildings
2. Public interiors
А joint project of Meganom and NOWADAYS office
The new museum — part of the UNESCO protected ensemble of Moscow Kremlin Museums — brings the Armory collection outside the Kremlin walls, making it publicly accessible and open to the city.
The new museum consists of two parts — historical and modern. The former is located in the reconstructed historical building of the Middle Trading Rows between Red Square and Ilyinka, while the latter occupies a new modern building, erected within the historical one. The new building is completely hidden behind the 19th century facade and does not interfere with the historical composition of Red Square, which is a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site. The two buildings are interconnected by enclosed bridges, and the classical carved facade looks out to the vast windows of the modern building.
While 19th-century museums tended to resemble spatial catalogs or three-dimensional encyclopedias, the 20th and 21st brought the logic of narrative to the museum exposition. Therefore, to proceed with the project, it was first necessary to establish a strong image or series of images that would combine architecture, design and communication. In this case, it is the architectural form — the new building, enclosed within the perimeter of the historical — that carries a symbolic relevance for the museum’s image.
The layout, pertaining to the structure of an egg, relates to the folk sequence “hare — duck — egg — needle”, portraying the image of a chest with a treasure chest inside and even more precious contents. However, despite the fact that one part of the museum is physically placed within another, the basis of their relationship is complementarity, not hierarchy.
The tightly gridded rooms of the historic arcade contrast with the single exhibition space of the new building, which consists of successive spacious halls united by a high arch. This high-vaulted volume — the core and central space of the museum complex — is framed by the stone facade of the new building. Thanks to the principle around which the new facade is organized — the maximum window size, transparency and permeability — it itself becomes a kind of showcase in which the treasures of the new museum are displayed.
All exhibition spaces are located on the same level, parts of which are interconnected by glass bridges, which are elevated to the second floor providing ground-floor space for public functions. The ring of the historical facade is permeable at ground level: the public space of Red Square flows through the arches into the courtyard, and further on to the basement of the new building, connecting the museum to the city.