Pushkinsky Cinema occupies a unique place in the cultural and architectural history of Moscow. On the one hand, the Cinema is symbolically linked to annual events, such as the much celebrated Moscow International Film Festival, as well as ‘first-nights’. In addition to this, we understand that the Cinema is spatially and culturally tied to Pushkin Square. Its namesake, Alexander Pushkin, is an important cultural figure. Perhaps not coincidentally, Pushkin Square and Cinema are located at what is considered the geographic and social center of the city of Moscow. In approaching the problem of ‘façade’ we have considered that all of the cultural information is as important as the architectural. Our proposal considers not a new face for the Cinema alone, which is symbolic of a cultural institution; but instead to propose a new face for the ensemble which makes Pushkinsky square.
To achieve this ‘new face’, we first propose to restore Pushkinsky Cinema back to its original façade vis-à-vis the removal of all attachments and advertisements. By doing this, we celebrate the former and future glory of the building as well the cinematic arts. Only after ‘undressing’ the old building will the public be able to admire the beauty of it’s naked and original form.
Following this ‘undressing’, we propose a 50 meter tower at the head of Pushkin Square. The tower serves multiple functions.
1)Through its skin, which is composed of micro-perforated Corian Panels which have integrated fiber-optic cables, information can be conveyed to the public at varying scales of engagement. These fiber-optic cables transform the normal and simple state of Corian into a dynamic surface much like a computer screen. Perforations in the Corian never penetrate the surface so as to retain the monolithic quality of the material when panels are turned ‘off’. Because of its height, the tower is able to communicate from a great distance and from very near. This skin is divided into 4 tiers which have specific scales of engagement. The top tier, which is dedicated to audiences from affair, consists of the lowest resolution of fiber-optic cables, at approximately 1 pixel per inch. Each tier down increases in resolution and as such is dedicated to audiences at a closer range. The lowest tier consists of the highest resolution Corian ‘screens’, and are conceived as interactive displays.
2)By locating the tower at the other end of Pushkinsky Square, we help to define the space between the Cinema and the tower. The current composition of the square is without formal definition, and the addition of this tower as a marker as well as a spatial container will help define public spaces of varying scales and uses.
3)The tower is also centered around the Pushkin Statue. This serves 2 purposes – first, as the namesake of this square and cinema, we are obliged to take measures to preserve it. Adding to this preservation is the heightened experience of visiting the statue. The interior of the tower is composed of an intricate web of fiber-optic cables which also double as structure. At the top of the tower is a small oculus which provides natural light. It is a contemplative space – a homage to the institution of cultural arts.