A new modern art venue has been opened in Moscow in September 2008. It is called the Garage and is literally an old Bus garage which has been renovated and bought by the Russian billionaire, Abram Abramovich as prohect managed by his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova. However it is not simply an old garage for buses but one of the most outstanding industrial architectural projects of its day. The arage was designed in 1925 by Constantine Melnikov who was one of the most innovative architects of the post revolutionary period of the 1920s and 30s.
In 1999 The film “Architecture and the Russian Avant-garde” was shot in Moscow and is part of a series of six films by Copernicus Films about the Russian avant-garde of the 1920s an 30s. In the film I devote a large portion of time to this artist and architect along with Malevich and Tatlin whose artistic innovations and experiments contributed to the devlopment of Russian and Soviet architecture.
After I filmed the somewhat down at heel exterior of the building I could never of imagined that it would eventually be used as an art gallery in Moscow, especially for a gallery which will display wooks of art by artists who previously had to present their work through underground channels or abroad.
When I was filming it was still being used as a garage for the municipal transport system. I desperately wanted to film inside but was denied permission by the authorities. However the unique and innovative design was there for anyone to see. It is built in a series of parallegrams to maximise the use of space in combination with ensuring a high level of functionality. The growth of car and petrol driven transport required new and bold design answers to cope with the new technological phenomena. Melnikov designed several other garages in Moscow which still exist today and are still in use. Below are pictures of the Intourist Garage (below) with a sweeping circular window which houses a ramp leading to the various stories.
Other architectual projects include “Club Rusakova” (below) . Melnikov was against the use of flabby weak architectual design and prefered load bearing structures with a clear functional aspect but at the same time aesthetically coherent.
Melnikov also built his own house(below) in the centre of Moscow in order to demonstrate his design for circular homes. These buildings and many others also appear in the film by Michael Craig “Architecure and The Russian avant-garde”
For a review of the film “Architecture and the Russian Avant-garde” click here