Treivas Architecture Buro

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art


A renovation of the famous 1960s restaurant into museum of contemporary art.

Garage Center for Contemporary Culture was founded in 2008 at the Konstantin Melnikov designed Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage. In 2012 it relocated from a semi-industrial neighbourhood in the north of Moscow to one of the city’s best known public spaces, The Gorky Park.

The bulding chosen for relocation was a former pavilion of Four Seasons restaurant. Exposed to snow, rain, and sun since it was abandoned in the 1990s, the former Vremena Goda restaurant – once a huge attraction in Gorky Park – became a ruin without facades. Yet it was structurally sound. Even as a ruin it preserves the “collective” aura of the Soviet era: it is a sober and rigorous public space adorned with tiles, mosaics and bricks.

The building offers two levels of unobstructed open space dedicated to exhibitions. They are organized around two circulation and service cores.

The existing concrete structure is enclosed with a new façade consisting of a translucent double layer polycarbonate that accommodates a large portion of the building’s ventilation equipment, leaving the exhibition spaces free. This facade is lifted 2.25 metres from the ground in order to visually reconnect the pavilion’s interior to the park.

The entrance to Garage Gorky Park is marked by two large facade panels that slide upwards to create a view through the building from the park and frame the art in the lobby’s double height space.

The ground floor, with a height of 5.65 metres, will function as an experimental zone, where exhibition programs will share space with public events in the lobby, as well as with educational and recreational facilities, and storage spaces. The upper level, with a height of 3.7 metres, is conceived as a more conventional exhibition space for paintings, sculptures, video, photography and other media.

While the existing walls in the upper level keep their brick and green tile cladding, OMA has designed hinged white walls that can be folded down from the ceiling, creating an instant white cube when an exhibition demands a more neutral environment.

A 9×11-metre opening in the floor of the upper level creates a double height space (10 metres) for the lobby, allowing extra large sculptures to be displayed. During exhibitions that don’t require a double height space, the opening can be covered by a light metal grid that can be walked on, otherwise hoisted up to the ceiling.

A public loop on the lower level will connect the bookshop, mediatheque, auditorium and café, which is envisioned as an informal living room.

Project authors