Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, Moscow | Московская Высшая Школа Социальных и Экономических Наук, Москва

RIBA stages 0-4
Year 2016-2017
Project area 4000 sq m
Project budget £3 million

The double height volume of a disused Brezhnev-era cinema, grafted above a pre-revolutionary building close to Red Square, presents the opportunity to create a suite of new library, research and teaching spaces for a young and progressive university as part of wider refurbishment project. A two-storey and structurally ambiguous intervention, defined by a reading of the layout below, organises the primary volume with informal study spaces and meeting rooms sheltering below a more introspective research suite above. The library will be complete for the 2018/19 academic year.

The positive constraints of project budget and procurement methodology demands emphasis to the formal and spatial relationships between constituent parts rather than a concern for material or construction detail. Existing structural elements are retained and integrated within a new design language of simple fabricated steel components and furniture. Above the chaste perimeter shelving and hard plastered window reveals a thick application of acoustic plaster recalls the ambiance of Asplund’s Stockholm City library.

The concealed suite of reading spaces, almost Baroque in layout, is formed by large bookshelf elements that are given a homogeneous and indistinct materiality with a thick application of gloopy epoxy paint.

A generous research room holds the threshold between the reception spaces and reading room. Beyond this a steel framed staircase resolves the change in level to the adjacent teaching building.

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