The decommissioned “GES 2” power station located in the center of Moscow on Bolotny Island, is transformed by Renzo Piano into a center for contemporary art. Behind the project is the V-A-C Foundation, which is seeking to create at the heart of this very lively neighborhood a social and cultural experience focusing on the visual arts, the performing arts, and music, but as well on science and sustainability.
Designed by MDP, the museum's garden is partitioned into two distinct entities: first, a large lawn, functioning as a sort of forecourt to the museum, welcoming visitors and exhibiting works of art; and second, a wooded area of birch trees, whose dense planting recalls traditional Russian landscapes.
The birch afforestation extends over the sloping flagstone that covers the underground annexes of the museum. The birch trees evoke a transposed nature, with six hundred and five of them uniformly distributed, but without apparent order. At ground level, there is continuous groundcover, whose thick texture uniform to the eye conceals a pathway set in counter-relief leading down to the forecourt. From the museum, the surprising impression will be of seeing numerous walkers descending along a plant blanket from all appearances empty of markers and layout. The absence of points of reference to scale reinforces the sense of a mysterious dimensioned landscape.
The concealed pathway has the appearance of having been hollowed out into the thickness of the ground. Its unusual route was determined by several reflections and constraints. The slope develops in successive and regular bends that multiply the number of orientations present from the pathway, prolonging the stroll through the wooded area. The planted embankments that frame the pathway's route are full of a rich, exotic, luxuriant vegetation. Paradoxically, the pathway resembles that of a garden, as it traverses woodland instead.
The V-A-C Foundation
MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste
RPBW Renzo Piano Building Workshop (lead consultant)
( 7500 sqm garden, 7500 sqm parvis)