Opening of new Russian Pavilion for Venezia by studio KASA

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Architects
Studio KASA.- Alexandra Kovaleva, Kei Sato.
Curators
Pavilion's commissioner.- Teresa Mavica. Pavilion's operator and co-founder of Smart Art.- Anastasia Karneeva. Pavilion's curator and founder of 2050+.- Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. Curatorial team.- Giacomo Ardesio and Erica Petrillo. Committee of Russian experts.
Dates
May 22 to November 21, 2021.
Location
Pavilion of Rusia at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2021. The Venice Giardini, 2169/f, 30122 Venice, Italy.
Photography

Alexandra Kovaleva, Kei Sato. KASA

KASA (Kovaleva and Sato Architects) is a young Russian/Japanese architecture office based in Moscow and Tokyo, founded by Alexandra Kovaleva and Kei Sato.

In 2019, KASA won one of the Japan’s memorable architectural awards "SD Review Kajima prize" for their pavilion project for the Buddhism temple. In 2020, the atelier has been selected as a winner of an open competition for the renovation of the Russian Pavilion in Venice.

The team has been selected out of an open call with over 100 submissions to set up their temporary office inside the Rusian Pavilion, where they worked on the reconstruction of the building during the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2020. Working together with local architects and engineers, KASA responded to a series of structural issues while also reviving the spirit of Shchusev’s architecture.

Alexey Schusev

Alexey Viktorovich Shchusev (October 8th 1873 — May 24th 1949) was a Russian and Soviet architect born in Chişinău (Kishinev), whose architectural style bridged several epochs. His works cover the restoration of medieval buildings, Russian Imperialist and Constructivist designs as well as Neoclassical and Stalinist architecture.

Shchusev embarked upon his most wide-scale project in 1913, when his design for the Kazan Railway Station won a contest for a Moscow terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway. This Art Nouveau design fused elements of the Kremlin towers and traditional Tatar architecture in one of the most imaginative Revivalist designs ever put to execution. The construction of the railway station, however, was not finished until 1940.

After briefly experimenting with Neoclassicism, Shchusev turned to Constructivism in the 1920s. He taught at Vkhutemas from 1920 through 1924. Upon Lenin's death in 1924, he was asked to design a mausoleum for him. It took him just several days to come up with an original architectural solution blending Constructivist elements with features taken from some ancient mausoleums, i.e., the Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Cyrus. Other notable Constructivist designs of Shchusev were the Ministry of Agriculture or Narkomzem in Moscow (1928–1933) and the Institute of Resorts in Sochi (1927–1931), considered to be a major source for Alvar Aalto's Paimio Sanatorium.

After the mausoleum commission, Shchusev was cherished by the Communist authorities. In 1926, he was nominated director of the Tretyakov Gallery. He was appointed head of the group that designed major bridges and apartment complexes in Moscow. His name was attached to the luxurious designs of the Hotel Moskva just a few steps from the Kremlin (1930–1938) and the NKVD headquarters on Lubyanka Square (1940–1947). Some say that he was the first to come up with the idea of Gothic skyscrapers in Moscow.

In 1946, Shchusev established the Museum of Architecture, which helped to preserve remnants of demolished medieval churches and monasteries and was later renamed Shchusev State Museum of Architecture. His last works of importance were the Komsomolskaya station of the Moscow Metro, whose decoration was stylized after 17th-century Muscovite churches, and the plan for reconstruction of Novgorod after the ancient city had been destroyed by the Nazis (in recognition of that, one of Novgorod's modern streets was named after him). Shchusev died four years after the end of the World War II and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery.

Shchusev was awarded the Stalin Prizes in 1941, 1946, 1948, and posthumously in 1952; the Order of Lenin and other orders and medals.

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