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Armenian Architecture Firm SNKH Wins Competition to Design Next Summer’s Garage Screen Cinema

The winner of the architectural competition to design the next Garage Screen summer movie theater near the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow has been announced, with an expert jury selecting SNKH studio from Yerevan.

The design of 2020 Garage Screen summer cinema by SNKH.

The competition, organized by Strelka KB for the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, received 136 applications from architects across Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Each application was reviewed by a technical commission which considered factors including ecological sensibility and spatial, function, construction, and engineering solutions. Once the review process was completed, the jury chose six finalists.

“The team from SNKH came up with an unusual idea of turning the pavilion inside out. Such innovation is the very purpose for which the competition was organized,” Garage director Anton Belov said.

That idea features a complete absence of walls and hard barriers, instead boasting a cloth covering and a light, built frame which resembles the architectural traditions of nomadic peoples. As such, the winning project fits organically and seamlessly into the Gorky Park space.

Influences behind the project span from Bedouin tents to Shigeru Ban and Ivan Leonidov, SNKH director Ashot Snkhchyan explained.

The jury of the competition. Photo by Mark Seryy / Strelka KB

“We chose a project that will open a new chapter in the history of Garage’s summer cinema,” said Varvara Melnikova, Strelka Institute CEO and Strelka KB partner. “With its external supporting structure, the project by SNKH studio from Armenia is radically different from the projects presented by other participants for any past pavilions. The architects were able to create an expressive, realistic project.”

The structure will be built in spring 2020 in front of the main building of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, which was designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas and completed in 2015. It will screen premieres and special programs and collaborate with Russian film festivals.

SNKH’s winning application follows in the footsteps of the Moscow-based architecture firm Syndicate, which designed last year’s Garage Screen summer cinema.

Resembling a flat-topped pyramid, Syndicate’s open and translucent cinema also lacked traditional walls, instead featuring red velvet curtains which created the illusion of a cozy, enclosed chamber.

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