Designed by Adjaye Associates, the Moscow School of Management brought an architectural work of art to the technical park of Skolkovo. Visitors can expect perfect ergonomics inside and a breathtaking view from any angle outside. Russia’s architectural past is full of massive, imposing shapes and raw materials. By breaking up the mass, creating a dynamic exterior, and designing modern, light-filled interiors, the building came to life. Adjaye Associates’ design shows that these colossal buildings can be softened and live with the existing landscape.
Adjaye Associates’ Inspiration
Just beyond Moscow’s outer motorway ring in a wooded area, the Moscow School of Management sits near an advanced technology park. The area’s six-month winters were a factor in avoiding a traditional campus design. “I fundamentally wanted to disrupt the old order of a school as a series of houses and instead to prioritize student interaction and reflection” says David Adjaye. In addition to the modern and constructivist styles of Russia’s past, David Adjaye was also inspired by the work of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich. The artist’s work showed colored shapes arranged in a deceptively random way that belied the artist’s attention to detail. True to the inspiration, the disc and rectangular volumes at the Moscow School of Management reflect the influence of Malevich’s work.
Traditional campus design typically reflects groups of buildings and outdoor campus space, however the outdoors in Moscow are harsh. The main elements of the Moscow School of Management stand together in clearly identifiable volumes, forming a single development. In an effort to give back the land on which the building sits, the top of the disc is open and landscaped. The circular shape minimizes the footprint of the structure, and only a small part of it is visible at any time. Above the disc, the colored aluminum-composite panels covering the volumes create ever-changing views. Since the campus does not have traditional outdoor areas, the upper levels have a gymnasium and fitness center for athletic activities. The athletic volume stands out with golden aluminum panels. Construction of the school took four years, reaching completion in 2010.
Said to be the Silicon Valley of Russia, Skolkovo dedicated 988 acres of land to start-ups and innovation. Within Innovation City, goals for the future included less water consumption and buildings that produce more energy than they consume. Transportation would prioritize walking and cycling. In addition to these goals and Russia’s future, Adjaye Associates also looked to Russia’s past. The geometric exterior is reminiscent of Modernism and Constructivist architecture. Inside the disc, wedge-shaped sections bring light and views to the center. Each functional space in the school owns meaningful real estate. The upper volumes also hold the residential spaces. There are 123 dorm-style suites for students and 126 hotel rooms for visitors. The design earned Adjaye Associates first prize of the IX International Architecture Award in 2011.
Ready for more awe-inspiring modern projects from Adjaye Associates? Check out Pretty (and Brutalist) in Pink and Adjaye Associates’ design of The National Museum of African American History and Culture.