The Hexagon

The Hexagon will become a space for social interaction and the display of a variety of art practices.

It will have three exhibition galleries (two in the facets of the building and one on the underground level), a library, a bookshop, and a café. The internal courtyard of the building will be a public space. The functional floor space of the Hexagon will total 9,500 square meters.

Dasha Zhukova
Dasha Zhukova
Co-founder of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Garage continues to champion work that is contextual, contemporary, and collaborative. The Hexagon, originally designed by legendary Russian architect Ivan Zholtovsky, will be revived by SANAA’s thoughtful and sensitive design, allowing Garage to ground itself in Russian history while expanding into the current global conversation. We want to ensure that our building reflects our ongoing inquiry into the function, purpose, and responsibility of the modern-day museum.

The architects

SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates)

SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) is a Japanese architectural firm founded in 1995 by Kazuyo Sejima (b. 1956, Hitachi) and Ryue Nishizawa (b. 1966, Yokohama). In 2004 the firm received the Golden Lion at the 9th Venice Biennale of Architecture and in 2010 Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa were awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In 2010, Kazuyo Sejima was curator of the 12th Venice Biennale of Architecture. Private and public buildings by the firm are located in Australia, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, and the USA. They include numerous museum buildings, such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japan), Louvre-Lens (Lens, France), and the New Museum (New York).

Kazuyo SejimaRyue Nishizawa
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa
When we were invited to work on the Hexagon, we immediately began to think about whether we could somehow preserve the original layout and proportions. And whether we could create something that everyone would use. Garage has always had a strong focus on the architecture of public spaces and their history, and this is very much in line with our practice. The Hexagon has a particular charm and we have tried to retain that in our design.

The principles behind SANAA’s architectural concept

The Hexagon is unique thanks to its proportions, its repetitive elements, and the open nature of the building in relation to the courtyard. To preserve this atmosphere for future visitors, we based the design on six principles.

The specific proportions conceived by Ivan Zholtovsky should be preserved.

Geometry + Proportion

The specific proportions conceived by Ivan Zholtovsky should be preserved.

The six pavilions open inward to create a shared courtyard space.

Connected Spaces

The six pavilions open inward to create a shared courtyard space. The visual and physical (passages) connections between the pavilions will be preserved, ensuring the integrity of the entire architectural plan.

The natural light in each pavilion will be preserved, with the possibility to control lighting based on the Museum’s requirements.


The natural light in each pavilion will be preserved, with the possibility to control lighting based on the Museum’s requirements.

The proportions and heights (single or double) within the pavilions will be preserved, providing a large and versatile space for the Museum’s programs.

Spatial Organization

The proportions and heights (single or double) within the pavilions will be preserved, providing a large and versatile space for the Museum’s programs.

The facades will be cleared of later decorative elements and the neoclassical outline of the building will be restored

Decorative/Interior Elements

The facades will be cleared of later decorative elements and the neoclassical outline of the building will be restored. Later additions or details will be considered distinct from or secondary to Zholtovsky’s design.

The new landscape will underline the geometry and proportions of the pavilions and visually connect the Hexagon to Vremena Goda.


The new landscape will underline the geometry and proportions of the pavilions and visually connect the Hexagon to Vremena Goda.

Anton Belov
Anton Belov
Director of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
By preserving the historical aspects of the building (its spatial organization, location, column materials, and the arrangement of the fountain basin), the Museum will expand and clarify its architectural program. With each of its buildings (Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, Vremena Goda café) Garage has opened a new chapter in its program of reviewing and repurposing architectural heritage and, in the end, returning it to the contemporary context.

History of the Building

The building was constructed is 1923 as the Machines and Tools (Mechanization) Pavilion of the Machine-Building Section at the First All-Russian Agricultural and Handicraft Industries Exhibition. The Machines and Tools Pavilion was the only one constructed using reinforced concrete (the other pavilions were wooden and have not been preserved).

Its structural layout is formed by a frame of reinforced concrete posts and beams and wooden trussed rafters. The interior of each facet pavilion has a double-height central part and narrower single-height wings that join to form a low gallery enveloping the entire building on the outside. The structural frames of the single-height spaces consist of thin vertical supports for the outer walls covered with horizontal beams that form the rafter girder supporting the reinforced concrete roof beams with diagonal ribs. Originally, the six double-height spaces and the single-height galleries that connected them opened toward the internal courtyard and were not separated from it by walls.

When in 1928 the city government decided to transform the territory of the former Agricultural Exhibition into the Park of Culture and Leisure, the building was converted into its main canteen. Three of the six facet pavilions were separated from the internal courtyard with light walls and two of them became kitchens and had stoves installed. Toilets were built between the pavilions on the outside.

Initially, the canteen, like the park itself, was open only in the summer. In the late 1930s, when the Central Park of Culture and Leisure became the first in the country to feature a winter theme park and several ice rinks, the canteen was reconstructed once again. Its six pavilions were covered with brick walls and re-equipped to work all year round. In 1935 the canteen was renamed the Hexagon.

In the early 1960s, part of the building was repurposed for lemonade production.

In the past few decades, it served as a café, a restaurant, and a discotheque, among other things, until it was eventually abandoned. After a number of fires, the Hexagon was partially ruined.

In 1999, Moscow City Government declared it a protected monument of garden and park design. The Machines and Tools Pavilion (the Hexagon) became a listed building.

Избранные пресс-материалы
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