The Kind Museum
The Kind Museum

The Oleg Klodt Architectural Bureau is working on modernising a cultural centre in Tolmachi in Moscow, where annual exhibitions, master classes, concerts and other events have been held every year since 2016 and are aimed at people with special needs. The key tasks for the bureau’s team were the creation of a barrier free environment and friendly atmosphere.

Oleg Klodt: “For our bureau this type of project of creating an inclusive cultural centre is the first of its kind and very important. Not every project brings quite as much moral satisfaction as this one does. I am sure that having been created on the foundations of such an amazing place – the Tretyakov gallery – this project will become an iconic place not just in Moscow but in the whole of Russia. Right now, this humanistic story is capable of creating an impulse for the development of similar projects in other Russian cities. We have put so much love and understanding into designing this project, wishing to create a feel-good space for everyone. An accessible architectural environment is a future that is essential for us all.”

Planning solutions were determined by the functional requirements of the centre. The space of the “kind museum” has three main areas: Exhibition space, workshop and a spacious hall that houses the cloakroom and WCs. On the first floor there is also a sensory room, equipped with professional tools for relaxation and development, multimedia room, separate offices, canteen, and kitchen. Staff offices are on the first floor.

It is very important for children with special needs to avoid overloading their visual and other sensors, so the designers chose a light palette based on detail and adding colour accents. The distinctive colour of the Tretyakov Gallery is terracotta and it can be seen in some parts of the interior. For example, in the exhibition hall one of the walls is the historical façade of the old stables, where the brick wall was hidden behind many layers of plastering and paint. It was decided to restore it, removing the paint from the brick and make the wall part of the space where exhibitions, meetings and plays would be taking place.

The main difficulty while working on the project was the need to consider the wide array of requirements for the interior which was being designed to suit visitors with many different mental and physical special needs, such as a barrier-free environment, neutral colours and dissipated light, large and clearly visible signs, comfortable door handles and safe sockets. It was very important to not just fulfil the technical requirements but to also create the unique environment of the “kind museum” which would invite people to communicate, opening up their true potential. Mobile painting exhibition panels were designed especially for this project so they can be easily moved while entirely transforming the space depending on the use.

In the centre of the hall there is a tactile island that features a model of the Tretyakov gallery and the museum quarters. The model is not just a beautiful ornament, but a multifunctional art object that children can touch and find out what is inside the museum.

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