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The metamorphosis of a forecourt

Anja Koller

In Moscow the territory around the Polytechnic Museum will be transformed into Museum Park – a new public space for vibrant urban life.

Made by award winning Japanese architect Junya Ishigami: The concept of the new Museum Park of Polytechnic Museum in Moscow. (Picture: Junya Ishigami / Polytechnic Museum)

In Moscow the territory around the Polytechnic Museum will be transformed into “Museum Park” – a well thought out public space, whose structure answers the needs of the Museum and its visitors, as well as intensive transport and pedestrian flows.

How to turn the forecourt of a museum into a vibrant and busy place of urban life? Think of a place that competes on equal terms with parks, cinemas and restaurants. The new Museum Park (‘Muzeiny Park’) – based on a concept of the award winning Japanese architect Junya Ishigami – is a pedestrian zone and public space that will help to draw city dwellers into the Polytechnic Museum. The concept connects Metro exits, Museum building entrances, routes followed by both Polytechnic Museum visitors and regular pedestrians, transport flows and the logistical requirements of the Museum.

The new Museum Park

The idea itself is simple and groundbreaking at the same time: Ishigami’s proposal is based on activating the semi-subterranean basement level of the Museum by inclining the ground level around the building and planting the slopes and courtyard spaces with trees. As a result, a park would be formed both within and around the Museum, increasing the total area to 12 000 m².

An amphitheatre for urban life

In 2017 on this basis the architectural bureau Wowhause and therewith the development team directors Dmitry Likin and Oleg Shapiro will create  a park-amphitheatre, an open-air foyer that will become an extension of the spaces inside the building, to which it will form a prologue. The concept aims to unite the new pedestrian zone in the building’s basement level with the outdoor area alongside Lubyanka Square, attracting pedestrians and providing them with a convenient and pleasant route into the Museum complex. During winter time the entire subterranean level will be covered with a roof and provided with heating to ensure that Museum Park will be used all year long frequently as a place that invites both museum visitors and strollers to stay.