Steven Holl Architects

NCCA National Centre for Contemporary Arts . Moscow

Steven Holl Architects . NCCA

We have designed a building that holds the exhibition of art as its first priority. The orthogonal galleries with natural light are organized horizontally. Having designed more than ten art museums, it is our experience that the very best circulation for an art museum is horizontal circulation.

These are open ended spaces allowing for multiple gallery routes. We free the ground plane for public space. A feeling of levitating volume is achieved by a cable stay structure common in bridge construction. We had great success employing this structural type in the Vanke Center in Shenzhen, China. Our project has an intentional ambiguity of scale - allowing the big levitating elements to define an iconic presence without sacrificing human scale in the materials and details. The unique programmatic aspect of the new NCCA – to include artists’ studios and residences – is expressed by placing artists at the top of the composition. A “flying beam” contains the art club café which is “not just a café of the center, but a new urban landmark in its own right,” as stated in the program. The nearby artists’ studios have north light as well as outdoor work spaces on the roof below. Finally, this new museum will be understood by all as an “ecological place”. Advanced solar PV technology will be employed in the south-facing facades to support 100% of the electrical needs of the museum. A system of geothermal wells will supply all cooling and heating needs to the super-insulated construction. Due to the thin building sections, all spaces receive natural light. We look forward to the possibility of realizing an excellent facility for Moscow that will serve as an example of 21st century architecture.

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