The Greater Hermitage Project.
On 13 April 2005 an exhibition devoted to the Greater Hermitage Project opened in the A.V. Shchusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow. The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Architecture, the State Hermitage, and Studio 44 (St Petersburg), with participation by the PRO ARTE Institute.
The exhibition presents materials from the initial design work and preparatory research used in the architectural plans for restoring and reconstructing the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building, which was designed by Karl Rossi, built in 1820-1830, and transferred to the State Hermitage in 1989.
The project has been developed within the context of the Greater Hermitage program. The program leader is Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky. The project has been drawn up in the Studio 44 architectural workshop in St Petersburg. Its authors are Oleg Yavein (leader), Nikita Yavein, Pavel Sokolov, Vladimir Lemekhov, Varvara Khmeleva, and Irina Golysheva, with participation by Dmitry Kosov and Olga Shorina.
Preliminary research and investigations were performed by OOO “Arkhitekturnaya studia Mikhailova” – namely restoration studies. ZAO “Petro Inzhiniring” did research into the engineering systems and equipment. ZAO “Ekspluatatsionny resurs konstruktsii” (“Erkon”) did the preliminary investigation of the walls and selective verification of the ceilings. OOO “GEYA-BVN” performed an examination of the foundations. ZAO "LenTISIZ" did the exploratory work in geological engineering. The State Enterprise “Trest GRII” was responsible for topographical filming.
The general design work for reconstruction and restoration of the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building has been the task of Studio 44, which is one of the leading architectural workshops of St Petersburg. Among the prizes which it has received for its work are the State Prize of Russia in 1998, the Crystal Daedalus (the highest distinction in the field of architecture) in 2002 and 2004, the gold medal of the Russian Academy of Architecture, and gold and silver diplomas of the Pan-Russian “Architecture” Festivals (at the last of which Studio 44 was acknowledged to be the best architectural workshop in Russia for 2004). In its work, Studio 44 continues the traditions of the St Petersburg architectural school including such fast-disappearing elements as the culture of academic drawing and hand-made graphics.
The project is being developed in close collaboration with curators of the collections and various departments and services of the State Hermitage. The work is proceeding in parallel with elaboration of the Greater Hermitage program. The Dutch design studio AMO, which is directed by Rem Koolhaas, is a consultant to the Hermitage on the program. The Hermitage’s partners in the project for reconstruction are Interros and the Guggenheim Foundation.
A special section of the exhibition is dedicated to the investigations and proposals offered by OMA (The Office for Metropolitan Architecture), a Dutch architectural workshop headed by Rem Koolhaas which since 1975 has been active in the field of architecture, urban planning and socio-cultural analysis. They have offices in Rotterdam, New York and Beijing.
ÀÌÎ was founded in 1999 and unlike ÎÌÀ (which works primarily on traditional architectural design projects) is a studio for research and design. AMO’s interests are not limited to the fields of architecture and urbanism but go further – into politics, technology and sociology. ÀÌÎ’s work includes joint projects with the Hermitage, Harvard University, Universal Studios, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and the companies Ikea, Prada and Volkswagen.
Rem Koolhaas’ work and his architectural office ÎÌÀ have been given many international awards including the Pritzker Prize (2000), the Praemium Imperiale Award (2003) of the Japanese art association, and the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (2004).
The design of the reconstruction and restoration of the Eastern Wing
of the General Staff building has been going on for more than three years,
and the objective of the exhibition is to show off some of the completed
architectural decisions taken along with the detailed plans, and also
to show the ongoing work. At the exhibition one can see various versions
of the project that have been drawn up at various times and stages in
the design process.