Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Voshod

1. Public buildings

9. Reconstruction



Winner — Reconstruction and cultural reprogramming project for suburban mass-produced Soviet cinemas ‘Varshava’ and ‘Voshod’.

In consortium with Aventica

A year ago an ambitious competition for the architectural renovation of 49 standardised cinema buildings, that, thanks to the planned economy and socialist urbanism, were evenly sprinkled all over the city in the course of the Soviet era, was held in Moscow. The competition task was to renovate a mass-produced movie theatre of unknown authorship set in the periphery. The ultimate goal was to create a model for reviving and reprogramming a standardised cinema that could be applied to the remaining buildings.

‘Voshod’ cinema is a classic representative of a ‘decorated shed’ typology: a square box made of cheap materials comprising mainly a screening hall and a foyer, with removable film adverts as the only decorative and communicative element. Such economy of means is accounted for the location in the very outskirts of Moscow, in a former workers’ neighbourhood. The commercial aesthetics of overgrown signs and inflated figures is native to peripheral and planting a refined and elegant piece of contemporary architecture into such an environment would be a baseless artificial gesture.

The principal idea of the renovation project was to create an expressive landmark in an unsightly environment completely stripped of any kind of attraction. The typology and the location of the building in question prompted us to remember the lessons taught by Las Vegas and let the commercial vernacular logic define the aesthetics of the new project. A distant and deserted periphery needs landmarks of different quality and character, in comparison to what the city center would naturally accommodate. Something less disciplined and tasteful, more unruly and fauve.

And so, the plain brick box is getting encrusted with signs, lights, sculptures, posters and other advertising materials that are, without a doubt, kitschy yet carefully measured out to produce just the right amount of shock to cheer up the sleepy hollow of the Soviet era workers’ residential area. The insides of the buildings are turned into a flexible multi-use public space that, with a help of portable facilities can be transformed into a backdrop for a theatre a play, a cinema, a playground, an indoor beach or even a portal to another dimension. In other words, to create a completely different, nonordinary, uncommon place to give people a break from the mundane environment.

You can get more information on the project if you follow this link

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