Today Russia’s New NCCA (National Center for Contemporary Art) announced the shortlist in its tender for a new building. From over 200 submitted proposals, the contest was structured to include two categories: Dossier, which allows established architecture bureaus could put their name in the hat for consideration, and Preliminary Concept, which is open to a wider public, allowing contenders to directly submit a draft of their proposal. The shortlist selected five from each category (from a total of 68 Dossiers and 175 Preliminary Concepts.) These ten will go on to the second stage of consideration, resulting in a winner to be announced in December 2013.
If the building project itself is something of a litmus for the reformulation of the institution as a whole, so far the signs look quite positive indeed [Full disclosure: Baibakov Art Project’s Maria Baibakova is one of the jury members, but she’s keeping mum for now]. Rather than default to the flashier starchitects Russians were known to hanker for earlier (see any of the multiple projects – including most recently the Pushkin Museum – which Sir Norman Foster has left behind), the jury chose the nominees for Preliminary Concept on a blind basis. Rather encouragingly, three of the five shortlisted entries happened to be Russian (one of whom – Perm-based practitioner Anton Barklyanski – entered independently of any firm.) While the prevalence of young and emerging talents is certainly something to cheer, we were personally particularly delighted to see our former neighbors at Red October, MEL Space, on the list.
So here goes the shortlist:
In the category of Preliminary Concept:
In the category of Dossier:
As we said, the final proposal will be announced in December, but we’re quite proud at how the NCCA has moved this building from the point of conflict into a truly creative endeavour, providing both the Moscow scene and the international art community a chance to benefit from the wealth of young talent.