Utopias, visionaries and creators: new exhibition at the Museum of Moscow

December 8, 2021

The Museum of Moscow offers an opportunity to discover the main utopias of the Moscow urban planning, to see how the city expanded and developed thanks to the ideas of eminent architects, and to dream about the future.  On December 17 the exhibition “Moscow:  Designing the future" will be opened here.

“This is an exhibition about how the actual Moscow plan formed, how it could have been changed if the challenging fantasies of city planners were realized, how and who develops the plan right now and how we, citizens, can participate in the process. The exhibition components form a three-dimensional picture of designing the future,” said Dmitry Likin, project curator.

The exhibition is connected with the past, present and future. This is a unique opportunity to see what Moscow would have been like if dreams of the constructivists and the Stalin general plan came true.  History of Moscow development general plans is presented through a multimedia installation that explains the concepts of complex urban planning documents in simple terms.

A kind of counterbalance is the "Utopia" section, representing the most challenging ideas for transforming Moscow that often had little in common with the reality. Among them are the automobile tunnel under the Red Square, the contest for the development of Moscow in 1932 including proposals of Le Corbusier, the famous "Flying City" by Georgy Krutikov, and much more.

Visitors will also see short documentaries, made specially for the exhibition by Mikhail Zygar creative studio “History of the Future”. They are dedicated to the development of road, social and cultural infrastructure, parks, as well as events that influenced the formation of the city: transfer of the capital from St. Petersburg to Moscow, water supply projects, fires, anniversaries, the 1980 Olympiad, and others.

Touchscreen with interactive games give visitors a chance to create their ideal city, select suitable objects for a built-up area, and also test their knowledge of various topics from the field of urban planning and architecture.

"Moscow: designing the future”— a visionary project, developed by Yuliana Knyazhevskaya, chairman of the Moscow Committee on Architecture, Sergei Kuznetsov, chief architect of Moscow,, as well as specialists of Moscow Committee on Architecture, Moscow General Planning Institute, Museum of Moscow and other organizations.

“I don’t believe in any “grand style” that we have to follow in the Moscow architecture,” said Sergei Kuznetsov, chief architect of Moscow. “Moscow is a very eclectic city. From the historical point of view each style is modern, be it white-stone churches or the Stalin Empire style. Each layer was created by the best architects of their time, and many of them were foreigners. Today, we should not stay away from the international agenda, from globalization, too. We should not avoid inviting foreign architects and holding international contests; being in search of new forms and ways of expression."

According to him, the very idea of choosing one style and preserving Moscow within it, is a big mistake. Art Nouveau, avant-garde, classicism, baroque — all styles corresponded to their time. Architects work in a city that was forming for a very long time in the past, and will be built for a long time in the future. Modern architects need to do their job as efficiently as possible. Thus, the city of the future will be as beautiful as today's Moscow.

According to Tatiana Guk, director of the Moscow General Planning Institute, the exhibition provides an answer to the question of what the today’s concept of a city is.

“Once, the general plan of 1935 was a guideline for implementing an ideal city idea as the capital of the world proletariat. And this idea was quite viable thanks to the planned economy. Now the situation is different. Russia is not isolated from the rest of the world and is highly dependent on global trends: when the situation in the world is changing, the situation in the country is changing too. In addition, one more component is included — residents, citizens, the real beneficiaries of the Moscow general plan development. Now the main value is the human capital. Therefore, there should be no prescriptive ideas, but only strategic ones,” she said.

One section of the exposition is dedicated to the architects of Moscow, where visitors will be acquainted with people who created the image of Moscow.

“They both looked into the future of Moscow and were creating it day after day: planning, designing, and building the city of their dreams. They were able to realize the most daring plans, giving the fragile images the correct forms, said Yuliana Knyazhevskaya, chairman of the Moscow Committee for Architecture and Architecture. “Such people held rank of the main architects of Moscow and the heads of the architectural and urban planning bodies in the 20th century. Among them are Vladimir Semenov and Sergei Chernyshev, the developers of the general plan of Moscow 1935, Dmitry Chechulin, the ideologist of monumental architectural works — the famous skyscrapers that determined the image of the post-war Moscow, and many others.”

According to Anna Trapkova, Director of the Museum of Moscow, the exhibition speaks about Moscow city planning in all aspects. Utopia is an integral part of urban designing and concept. At all times the ideal city creation was the goal of architects and city planners, but each period of time featured different ideas of the city of the future image. Visitors will discover the urban planning approaches during the past 100 years and the results of innovations at the Museum of Moscow exhibition.

Source: mos.ru

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