GES-2 house of culture opens in moscow
renzo piano building workshop (RPBW) has realized a new arts center in moscow, russia, called ‘GES-2 house of culture’. the project, which took six years to complete, involved the transformation of a historical power station that was first built between 1904 and 1908.
commissioned by V-A-C foundation, RPBW has redesigned a 150 x 150 meter site on the banks of moskva river in moscow’s red october district. the huge overhaul included the restoration of four brick chimneys, turning them into blue steel chimneys that capture clean air at a 70 meter altitude, activating natural ventilation and reducing energy consumption.
images by michel denancé
A DIVERSE PROGRAM AND an intuitive design
the 20,000 sqm building hosts a diverse program organized into four major ‘poles’: civic, welcoming, exhibition, and education. features include an indoor plaza, 5,500 sqm of varied exhibition space, a 420-seat auditorium, a library and media hub, a restaurant, and 1,000 sqm of educational facilities including a school of art and workshop spaces for both the general public and artists in residency.
when designing the new spaces, the design team at RPBW was guided by two main concepts. firstly, they sought to create an intuitive building that can be easily understood and navigated. the architects explain, ‘when entering and reaching the ‘welcoming’ area, it is sufficient for them to turn their eyes right and left, up and down, to understand what is inside, where to go, and how to move. ideally, they don’t need any plan to visit the entire center.’
the second idea was to create a fluid and visible ‘circulation web’. conceived as kind of spatial sculpture, this ‘web’ comprises all the stairs, lifts, corridors, canopies and platforms and connects all the spaces and activities of the arts center, as well as highlighting the entrances from street and from the pedestrian bridge.
the old brick chimneys have been transformed to capture clean air
the development also encompasses a public square in front of the southeast façade and a sculpted landscape on the western part of the plot, which comprises a ‘forest’ of 624 newly planted birch trees. this extensive landscape gently rises up to the rear of the site to accommodate underground car parking.
the new GES-2 house of culture opened on saturday, december 3, 2021. the multifunctional building hopes to become a cultural destination for locals and international visitors alike. admission to all the events is free.
the central nave measure 23 meters in height
view of the roof
the front of the building opens out to a public square
the development includes a sculpted landscape with 624 birch trees
an upper level deck looks out over the ‘forest’
renzo piano at the newly opened GES-2 house of culture in moscow
name: GES-2 house of culture
location: moscow, russia
client: the V-A-C foundation
architect: renzo piano building workshop (RPBW)
design team: a.belvedere (partner in charge), p.carignano, m.daubach, d.maïkoff, m.pimmel, a.prokudina with a.artemeva, d.franceschin, b.grilli di cortona, d.karaiskaki, v.lucchiari, k.malinauskaite, b.millonzi, j.pattinson, d.pomponio, p.ogonowska, v.shabelnik, f.tessitore and b.billi, l.de capitani; a.bagatella, d.tsagkaropoulos (CGI); o.aubert, c.colson, y.kyrkos (models)
consultants: milan ingegneria, metropolis (structure); arup, metropolis (MEP, façade); arup (sustainability); faros (restoration project); SK-orion AV (fire prevention); m.desvigne, peverelli (landscaping); APEX project bureau (executive architect)
design year(s): from 2015 to 2016
construction year(s): from 2016 to 2021
site area: 2 ha
building area: 20,000 sqm + 15,000 sqm parking
exhibition: 5,500 sqm
auditorium: 420 seats
education: 1,000 sqm
fabbrica (vaults): 1,500 sqm
landscaped area: 6,800 sqm
planted area: 5,100 sqm
the forest: 624 birches
chimneys: 4 units, 70 m high
surface of photovoltaics: 5,000 sqm