Constructivist heritage

Exhibition halls, library, lecture hall, and coworking space in an iconic Constructivist building




NWDS designed a new multifunctional structure within a Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage by Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Shukhov. They were both prominent figures in the Russian avant-garde movement, and their collaboration on the bus garage was a groundbreaking example of combining artistic and engineering principles. The building's innovative design, which included a unique honeycomb-shaped roof structure, was intended to optimise natural light and ventilation, while also providing efficient storage and maintenance for the buses.

Bakhmetevsky Garage now houses the Jewish Museum, an important institution hosting permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as cultural events. The structure NWDS designed brings in an array of additional public functions. The approach that the team had chosen was based on the conscious attitude towards the architectural heritage: the new structure was to keep a respectful distance from the historic walls and not to intervene with the load-bearing elements. It became a stand-alone architectural object integrated into the Garage’s interior space as a building would be integrated into an urban environment. Like an external building, the internal construct has windows and doors — huge doors of stainless steel and glass which serve as portals to a sculptural space defined by planes.

The complex geometry of the structure alludes to the graphic experiments of Lissitzky and Malevich with its spaces defined by a variety of planes — parallel, perpendicular, inclined, or rotating. The choice of details and materials makes it not just a functional addition to the museum's interior space, but a fully fledged architectural gesture. The colours used — white, grey and red — serve as a direct reference to the pure avant-garde palette. Finally, the most distinctive detail of Melnikov's building — the spiral staircase — is repeatedly integrated into the structure in the form of installation.