Museum of Modern Art in Ufa

Museum of Modern Art in Ufa

Address: Russia, Ufa, the bank of the Belaya River

Client: Directorate for the Construction of the Contemporary Art Centre in Ufa

Design: from 2021

Project team:

Architects: N. Yavein, E. Novosadyuk, B. Nemtsev, Y. Pyatkina, A. Syzranova with the participation of A. Pokatovich, visualization by A. Patrikeev.

Structural engineers: D. Kresov, M. Novoselov

The museum building is designed in an extremely picturesque location, on the high bank of the Belaya River. Four rectangular blocks grow out of the folds of the terrain, rotating relative to the vertical axis following the direction of the sun, which gradually fills the exhibition halls with natural light. The concrete parallelepipeds, at first glance solid and brutal, look airy and translucent due to the panoramic glazing. The building seems to sprout out of the rock on one side, while on the other, with its turning cantilevers, it floats weightlessly over the slope.

The structure of the building is related to the planning framework of the city, so that it is firmly rooted not only in the landscape, but also in the urban planning context of Ufa. The cantilever soaring over the slope completes the axis of Sovetskaya Street and the eastern alley of Nuriev Park, while the block perpendicular to it follows parallel to the Belaya River embankment and Tukaya Street. Two more blocks, rotating successively at an angle of 30 degrees, form an open fan, whose "plates" are oriented towards the city's dominant landmarks: the monument to Salavat Yulayev and the building of the Government Office of the Republic of Bashkortostan.

The structure of the museum complex distinguishes two types of interior spaces: cut into the slope spaces that do not require much light, and airy panoramic spaces in the cantilevered part of the 'steps'. The interior space of each console is subdivided into two levels, expanding the design possibilities for exhibitions and allowing large-scale art objects to be accommodated in the two-light spaces. In addition, the halls are equipped for black box exhibitions with total darkening of the space and artificial lighting of exhibited items.

The link between the blocks of the museum complex and its main communication hub is a central hall illuminated by overhead light well with escalators that cross-connect the floors. At nightfall, a powerful column of light erupts from the central hall, piercing through it, marking the museum's place in the panorama of the city. The light is a landmark for walkers on the promenade and a kind of beacon for ships sailing along the Belaya River.

The main entrance to the museum complex is organised from the roof of the upper console. The observation deck that frames the entrance group on the roof becomes the main view point of the entire city. A wide grand staircase leads up to the central hall, from where you can walk to the congress centre, to the restaurant with a panoramic view of the Belaya River, or to the temporary exhibition hall. On the floor below, we continue our acquaintance with temporary expositions; there is also a multifunctional auditorium. The foyer of the theater flows into the winter garden, integrated into the relief of the slope. Third level from the top is devoted to the permanent exhibition; next to it, at the back of the building, is the storage room. Finally, the lowest "step", which has an entrance to the museum from the embankment, is occupied by administrative offices and residences with studios for invited artists. The operable roofs of all four blocks serve as additional exhibition areas, where art objects are presented to the audience against the background of natural scenery.

The metal beams of the floor slabs, which cross at an angle of 30 degrees, refer to the "kerege" construction, once used in the construction of houses in Bashkortostan. The rhombic pattern is also used in the landscaping of the panoramic areas on the roofs of the buildings. A geometric pattern of paving slabs and skylights covers the building in a patterned carpet.

This 'fifth façade' of the museum complex will look most spectacular from a bird's eye view: its picturesque fabric will be appreciated by passengers of an aircraft taking off or coming in for a landing.


Total building area - 10 000 m2 ( gross internal area)

Footprint– 4500 m2

Approximate volume of excavation - 38 000 m3

Approximate volume of concrete (foundations and retaining walls) - 9,500m3

Glass area - 2,757.8m2

Weight of metal structures–3,000-3,200 tonnes