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Location: Shchusev Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russia.

Year: 2008

Alexander Konstantinov in collaboration

with  Alexei Kozyr, Ilya Babak at the First Moscow Biennale of Architecture.

‘How to live’, the theme devised by Bart Goldhoorn, the event’s curator, for the First Moscow Biennale of Architecture, allowed not only for a multiplicity of interpretations, but also for large differences in the scale of projects submitted – from apartments to entire towns. An exhibition situated in the Grand Enfilade, the principal exhibition space at the Shchusev Museum of Architecture, dealt with the new wave of urban planning in Russia.
The interiors of this extensive enfilade lend a special splendour to events held here – which is wonderful for exhibitions of Classical or Stalinist architecture taken from the museum’s reserve funds, but not so good when it comes to contemporary architecture. The latter either clashes with its surroundings or ends up looking like the poor cousin staying with her rich relatives. Such associations were immediately dismissed by the curators and designer. Instead, they adopted the most radical approach to this space – by deciding simply to ignore it, focusing visitors’ attention exclusively on the exhibits. To this end, the rooms were submerged in darkness and the projects for new towns placed on brightly lit surfaces made of acrylic.

Urban planning is a difficult kind of object to exhibit. Material consisting mainly of plans and diagrams is visually unimpressive, making it difficult to focus viewers’ attention. The new format used here – alternating graphics, photographs, slide shows, and videos – was designed to make the exhibition more attractive, while the fact that all images were converted into ephemeral luminous projections hinted at the slightly utopian quality present in most of the urbanplanning initiatives shown here.


Elena Gonzalez
Project Russia №50

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