Goals and objectives: Formation of a closed space for exhibitions, festivals, fairs. Creation of a new pavilion type in the historic center of the city of Yaroslavl, on the site of the old ravine (protected landscape) according to the development program of the museum complex of the city. The program focuses on local lore and history of the city. A significant portion of the area of the proposed building (80% and more) will be a new exhibition space of the museum of local lore and a museum of history of the city. Until now, these museums are situated in a Holy Transfiguration Monastery.  Note: the maximum height above the existing ground level, the upper edge of the ravine — 2 m.

Studio Name: AMA
Design Team: Andreas Mede
Area: 6262 m2
Year: 2013
Location: Yaroslavl Russia
Consultants: None
Photo Credit: Andreas Mede

Yaroslavl Museum By AMA Andreas Mede Architect - Sheet3
©Andreas Mede



Ethereal glass pavilion: on the edge of having a presence, between reflection and a soft light; set within expanded cultural parkland.

The building as a lens for filtered light; emits a soft glow placing itself confidently, subtly within its surroundings. The outer skin will reflect the sunlight and its’ surroundings, when light is low this outer skin will emit a soft diffuse glow, no other external lighting necessary.

Constructional elements are reduced to what is essential, allowing the objects displayed to have their proper presence. At the same time, the glazed skin, the plastered internal walls, exposed concrete beams and ceilings, have their own materiality and tactile qualities; smooth or textured.

To build in the context of the historical quarter of the city, the new museum is a distinct object which is a product of its’ time; defining clearly what is new from what is of the past. Respect for this past is achieved with the creation of a distance from the historical and a distinct quality of the present through the architecture of this time. Historical resonance is seen in the regular footprint of the new museum and its’ positioning in the park, respecting the established urban pattern. This allows the new to sit comfortably next to the old; there is no questioning of lineage. The linear regular geometric form of the new museum is an outcome of a study of the site conditions and pattern of existing development; the new volume sits comfortably within the existing urban fabric.


The site planning develops several ideas resulting from a study of the existing context. The first idea is that of extending the existing parkland, which contains the Church of Saint Nicholas (to the southwest) and the promenade leading to the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration and the Volga to (the northeast), with the Church of the Savior (to the southwest). This is achieved by eliminating the road dividing the site from the church and extending the parkland connecting these two areas, thereby including this church more naturally within the cultural landscape. The next idea is to raise the primary elevation of the site to 97m to allow for a better transition from the site to the surroundings and placing a lower level to the new building below this new site elevation. A single story pavilion is placed on top of this lower level, with pedestrian access now possible to and through the site, connecting the aforementioned historical locations and the extended parkland. The new museum is entered from either the street (to the northwest) or the park (to the southeast). Service access (trucks) is created to the new building from the (lower road) to the southeast of the site. Existing views across the site are maintained by keeping the building at the height limit of 103.15m. Functional areas benefiting from southern exposure: the Café, Administrative Offices, and the Festival Hall, are located along the southwest-southeast. The new building respects the street edge establishing itself on the site with careful consideration of the distances to existing structures. These measures aim to integrate the new museum into the surroundings, to improve the urban condition, pedestrian access and links, and create more green space.

Yaroslavl Museum By AMA Andreas Mede Architect - Sheet4
©Andreas Mede


Spaces organized on 3 levels. The Ground Floor contains the Entrance Foyer, first Gallery level, the Festival Hall with food service kitchen, Café, related support facilities, and the first level of Administration offices. The First Floor contains additional Administration support facilities. Deliveries and servicing are from the Lower Level, loading dock access from the lower road to the southeast. Museum deliveries, supplies for food service, and Festival Hall delivery access are achieved from this level. Along with Gallery spaces, this level has museum support areas; restoration, archive, storage, etc, along with building services.


The galleries follow a classical plan of an interlocking sequence of rooms of similar character, but with differing sizes and room heights (4.5m, 5.5m, 11m); straight walls, and a combination of top light, sidelight, and artificial light. These galleries are laid out around a central space of 11m height that connects both levels, helps to orientate visitors, and brings natural light into the center of the museum. Spaces form a clear and interesting route that visitors can traverse from start to finish or follow in an independent manner. Gallery spaces have a cohesive character, are flexible and dividable. The Festival Hall can be independently setup and accessed for temporary or traveling exhibits, offering a large sub-dividable space. Permanent gallery space of 1688 square meters, plus 542 square meters for temporary exhibits provided by the Festival Hall, total 2230 square meters.


The concrete structure sits atop a concrete lower level and is completely wrapped in a layered curtain of energy efficient glass. The layering of the glass provides the only solar/glare shading required, wrapping the building in a homogenous skin. Slight variations in the transparency of the glazing allow for views out at various locations while providing the museum with a differentiated yet uniformed skin. At night this “glass curtain” creates a level of privacy by filtering views from the exterior into the interior space. The Foyer is glazed on both the street side and the park side with clear glass signifying the entrance and allowing views through the space.

Yaroslavl Museum By AMA Andreas Mede Architect - Sheet6
©Andreas Mede


Cast concrete structure with pre-cast elements. Planted green roof over both wings on either side of the foyer will integrate the new building into the parkland surroundings and provide for pleasant views from the upper floors of neighboring buildings. Additionally, the planted roof will reduce run off from rain. Above the foyer a lattice of aluminum designates the entrance area and masks the skylights to the foyer below while filtering the natural light to this space.


Internal comfort is regulated through thermally activated building components, namely the concrete structural elements. An internal mechanical plant covers the degree of humidification and dehumidification as well as the pre- or after-cooling of the external air. Heat from exhaust air is removed and used to partially preheat the thermal supply. Heating and cooling by means of low temperature surface systems (floor and ceiling) will ensure a high degree of comfort together with a low consumption of energy. The goal is the use of invisible technology to provide the necessary level of comfort. Air changes are achieved via slits along the base of walls and at the junction of the ceilings with walls. The thermal mass of the concrete structure balances out and moderates temperature changes. Separately adjustable climate controls for museum conditions, with stable room temperatures of 18-21 C. Distribution of mechanical services is via the floor space between the ground floor and the lower level.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

Write A Comment