The architectural bureau known for its work on Garage contemporary art museum, will restore a famous modernist building in Uzbek capital. GRACE studio is set to reconstruct an important cultural center in Tashkent. This renovation project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2023, will encompass a French cultural center and an international art restoration department as well as providing new leisure areas for the public.
The restoration is being backed by the Uzbekistan’s Art and Culture Development Foundation. “The uniqueness of the project lies in the scale of the reconstruction, which is unusual for Central Asia. We hope that the project will set a new trend in the architectural development of the region as a whole, and will allow us to take the first step in introducing a competent and modern approach to the preservation of our heritage.
In housing the country’s very first center for the restoration of cultural objects, this building will help revive the restorative traditions lost over the past 20 years, which at one time were among the strongest in the region,” said Gayane Umerova, executive director of the Foundation.
The original structure, built in 1986, is considered a shining example of Tashkent modernism.
On being completed, the restoration will return the building to its original spatial composition, which, alongside the restoration laboratories and public areas, will accommodate a modern configurable hall auditorium for theatrical performances, concerts and film screenings.
“The center’s public spaces will be characterized by complexly organized visual connections, through which they communicate with one another.
During the reconstruction, we will expand on the original site, opening access to the courtyard, lobby, and roof, while dismantling the walls erected in the early 2000s to help recreate a transparent and open architecture,” remarked Ekaterina Golovatyuk, co-founder of the studio GRACE.
GRACE traditionally works with themes of preservation and architectural heritage.
This approach is exemplified in one of Ekaterina Golovatyuk’s standout projects the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, which she worked on as a member of the OMA bureau of Rem Koolhaas. This innovative project involved the reconstruction and conversion of the Vremena Goda restaurant – an example of post-war modernism – into a modern museum space.
“For the last 10 years we have been working with the concept of heritage, trying to rethink its meaning and adapt it to new requirements.
However, this doesn’t mean that we have any set approaches or solutions. We do not work to a rigid imperative, which might require, for example, that all aspects of an original construction must be preserved. With each new project we work out a bespoke philosophy and strategy, depending on the cultural context, the condition of the building, the objectives of the client, and so on.
This involves conducting original research for every new endeavor, upon which we build a distinctive narrative. The only constant for us is a dedication to preserving historical traces – and not just in its monumental, assertive manifestations, but also as an everyday, contemporary historicism which is more subtle, complex and ambiguous.” comments Ekaterina Golovatyuk.
In a 2022 collaboration with the Louvre, Art and Culture Development Foundation is putting on a unique archeological exhibition featuring more than 200 original pieces from museums across Uzbekistan, which will be shown outside the country for the first time.
“When we started thinking about the exhibition at the Louvre and the future of the French Center, the obvious decision was to also create a new Restoration Center in Tashkent, since there are no modern laboratories or young specialists in our country. Bringing the French Center and the Restoration Center together in the same building seemed like the most logical and natural solution.” said Gayane Umerova..
Restoration lab and French cultural center Gallery
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