2020 Architecture – On September 2020, Renzo Piano is set to inaugurate GES-2 a former power plant redeveloped into a vibrant open venue for visual and performing arts. Commissioned by the V-A-C Foundation by billionaire Leonid Mikhelson, the enormous 20,000 sqm new art centre hosts an artist residency block, an amphitheatre, an education centre and a library. Artists in the V-A-C collection include Wassily Kandinsky, Gerhard Richter and Christopher Wool.
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“When thinking about what kind of building would be perfect to create a space for contemporary culture, a power station comes to mind immediately!” Says Italian architect Renzo Piano, head of RPBW.
The magnificent historical power station built between 1904 and 1908 is located on the Red October island that has been redeveloped into a cultural space for new generations and already hosts a factory turned into a container for start-ups, cafés and restaurants, the Strelka Institute, the redeveloped historic Udarnik Theatre and more.
Inside GES-2, the spaces and functions are organized into four major poles: The Civic pole consists of a combination of free access spaces and activities, and is open to the outdoor piazza to catch and bring in street life.
In the center, the “indoor Piazza” acts as the entrance and the beginning of the V-A-C experience. Connected to that, to the North stand the Library and media hub, and to the South, there are a free art installation space and a restaurant.
The Welcoming pole is located in the center of the main building and is accessible from the “indoor piazza”. This space contains multiple informal activities like ticketing, information, orientation and shop at the ground floor level.
Above, an open performance area with a seating deck is watching the “forest” and an enclosed auditorium is located in this area with a separate access. The area includes also amenities like a café and snack bar on a mezzanine.
The Exhibition pole welcome all the exhibitions. It is a combination of spaces of different sizes and heights, offering a multiplicity of space conditions to host any kind of artwork.
The Education pole takes a glimpse into the exhibitions, which includes the School of Art, dedicated to grow a new generation of art curators, critics and historians; and the Lifelong Learning, with classrooms and workshops oriented to a general public.
Some artists’ residences with workshops located on the North tower are also part of this pole.
GES-2 will restore the 4 brick chimneys currently present on the site into steel chimneys. Thanks to a conscious sustainable approach, the new chimneys, from four polluting pipes, will become four essential sustainable devices, catching the cleanest air at a 70 meter altitude, activating natural ventilation and reducing energy consumption.
Nature will also be part of the project. Indeed, a “forest” of birches will be planted inside the museum. Thus, on the West portion of the site, a sculpture garden will progressively leave the place to hundreds of trees planted on a sculpted landscape.
All GES-2 images: courtesy of the V-A-C Foundation.
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