The oldest thermoelectric plant in Moscow will be converted into a large cultural and exhibition centre. The plant was built by the tsars in 1907 in the famous Red October district, the rebellious heart of Moscow, within walking distance of the Kremlin. The project, commissioned by Leonid Mikhelson’s V-A-C Foundation and designed by architect Renzo Piano, focuses on redeveloping the building that will become the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, with 750,000 expected visitors a year. The 31,000 sq m square area will be bordered by a small urban forest of birch trees, around which cafés, restaurants, shops, a bookstore, and social gathering spots will be built.
The main building overlooks the Moscow River, and will host exhibitions, educational activities, the admissions desk and the civic centre, in an area of 9,000 sq m. The project maintains the original image of the building, dismantling machinery, but keeping a few pieces as a reminder of its past as a thermoelectric plant. The steel structures will be upgraded to ensure safety and a new glass roof will be installed, with photovoltaic cells producing energy to operate the complex. The chimneys, dominating the neighbourhood skyline, will be maintained as part of the new natural ventilation system.
Photo credits: Renzo Piano Building Workshop