On September 15th 2014 Dasha Zhukova (Founder, Garage), Rem Koolhaas (Founder, OMA), Anton Belov (Director, Garage), and Kate Fowle (Chief Curator, Garage) presented the plans for Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s new building and program, scheduled to open in 2015.
Garage Museum’s new space will be housed in a stunning renovation of the famous 1960s Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) restaurant, a prefabricated concrete structure that has lain derelict for more than two decades in Moscow’s Gorky Park. The transformation of the building has been entrusted to Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), a leading international architectural firm practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. OMA’s design for the 5,400 square-meter building includes five exhibition galleries, a mediateque, education spaces including a creative center for children, a screening room and auditorium, as well as a bookshop and café.
The building will feature a state of the art façade consisting of a translucent double-layer of polycarbonate that is elevated two meters from the ground to visually reconnect the Museum’s interior to the park. The structure will be immediately recognizable worldwide by its unique silhouette, produced by two 11-meter wide, vertically sliding panels that rise seven meters above a rooftop terrace. The ground floor will function as a flexible space for both exhibitions and public events and will include a double-height atrium space, which has been especially designed to accommodate Garage Museum’s new commissioning program. The first floor will be entirely dedicated to exhibitions, utilizing elements of the building’s existing structure to enable innovative curatorial approaches and offer a wide-range of opportunities for the display of art that challenge the global onset of the ubiquitous «white cube».
OMA’s concept is pioneering in its approach to the renovation of a building from the late Soviet period by making very little intervention into the original concrete structure, as well as preserving of a number of Soviet-era elements such as mosaics and brickwork that have, until now, been accorded little architectural value or historic relevance. Rem Koolhaas commented: «We were able, with our client and her team, to explore the qualities of generosity, dimension, openness, and transparency of the Soviet wreckage and find new uses and interpretations for them; it also enabled us to avoid the exaggeration of standards and scale that is becoming an aspect of contemporary art spaces.»
The new building will provide Garage with inventive opportunities for programming and support the institution’s continued plans for development. The Museum will open with the first in a series of Garage Atrium commissions, featuring a monumental installation by Eric Bulatov, one of the most important living Russian artists. On the first floor, five exhibitions will feature Russian and international artists, including a major project by New York-based Rirkrit Tiravanija, widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of his generation. During the press conference Chief Curator, Kate Fowle announced that in September 2015—alongside the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art—Garage will present the first retrospective in Moscow of the work of the renowned, French-American artist, Louise Bourgeois, organized by Haus der Kunst, Munich in collaboration with Garage.