A branch of the Historical Museum near the Novodevichy Convent will be built in neo-brutalism style


Back in 2021, 350 million rubles were allocated for the construction of a branch on Luzhnetskaya Embankment. Since then, design work has been carried out, which is now completed and you can see what the branch of the State Historical Museum will be like. The architects promise to build a 4-storey museum in neo-brutalism style. The approach is unexpected, especially in the context of the place – a museum near the Novodevichy Convent, because the exposition will be devoted to its history and the history of the Russian Orthodox Church as a whole. Sergey Kuznetsov explained why the aesthetics of functionality and “rough concrete” were chosen.

“The project is distinguished by innovative ideas,” Kuznetsov immediately pointed out. – The architectural image of the museum is based on the monumental spirit of the brutal walls and towers of the Novodevichy Convent with a characteristic contrasting combination of white and terracotta.

The chosen architectural style of the new museum – neo-brutalism – originated in the 1950s. Its appearance anticipated the ideas of Le Corbusier. It became widespread after the Second World War, when it was necessary to quickly rebuild destroyed neighborhoods and entire cities. For more than half a century, some have been vehemently scolding, others defending the direction, and each of the parties – with the same persuasiveness and passion. The name of the direction comes from the French phrase “béton brut” – raw concrete. It is distinguished by simple design approaches, rough expressiveness of the texture of stone, unplastered brick, wood, and open metal structures.

The building of the branch of the State Historical Museum in Khamovniki, which will occupy a wasteland opposite the Novodevichy Convent with an area of ​​10 thousand square meters, corresponds to the principles of neo-brutalism, however, it will not be completely “naked”. In the decoration of the four-story complex with a six-seven-meter cantilever and a skylight on the roof, they are going to use voluminous glazed ceramic panels of several shades – from terracotta to dark brown, white fiber cement panels and fiberglass concrete slabs with a counter-relief image of the Novodevichy Convent.

Photo: Mosarchitecture.

– The white-stone motifs of the walls and chambers of the Novodevichy Convent are also reflected in the interior solutions of the public areas of the museum – they will be designed in a laconic style, in light colors with color and plastic accents in key places. In the exhibition halls located on the upper floors, it is planned to create the main exposition dedicated to the history of the monastery in the context of the Russian state and church. In addition, a lecture hall for 140 seats and storage facilities for part of the collections of the State Historical Museum have been designed in the center,” Kuznetsov said.

Sergey Kuznetsov is sure that the new building will be quite harmonious against the background of the cultural heritage site, but experts doubt that “the building is too angular”. Rather, we will get a contrast where the monastery in the elegant “Moscow Baroque” style of the late 17th century and the ascetic brutal concrete building of the 21st century adjoin. Moscow, especially from an architectural point of view, is a very contrasting city. Now another one will appear.

It is not yet clear when the project will be implemented. A year ago, Alexei Levykin, director of the Historical Museum, said that they planned to open it as early as 2024. However, now Sergey Kuznetsov did not specify the terms. For the Historical Museum, which has long needed new areas, the appearance of another site with a storage facility is an important event. However, this branch will not solve all storage problems. Only a part of the exhibits can be moved to Khamovniki, and hardly a large one. The State Historical Museum pinned its main hopes on the depository in Kommunarka, which was to become common with many museums, including the Tretyakov Gallery and ROSIZO. It was also supposed to be built by 2024. But this project is currently on hold.

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