A team of architects, historians and cultural experts formulated a holistic approach to preserve the distinctive character, authenticity, identity and historic resources around the building of the Center for Contemporary Culture. Having studied the landmark's long history, we designed a concept which overlays the estate's existing shape without breaching the building's historic planning and spatial structure, and also breathing a new life into it, taking into account the needs of the contemporary society.
In all of our decisions we are committed to one concept: to achieve, carefully approaching the city's history, a harmonious combination of the past and the present with minimum intrusions and using the techniques of functional design. Preserving architectural landmarks is a chance for the generations to come to see the heritage bequeathed to us. This is an indicator of our conscious and grateful attitude towards the past; an indicator of the level of our culture.
The building of the Center for Contemporary Culture had been abandoned since the 1990s: no windows, doors or utilities. Joining our efforts with architects and engineers, we designed a detailed project for the building's restoration which includes:
— Roof repairs and insulation of under-roof premises
— Heating and ventilation installation
— Lighting design for exhibition premises, entrances and historic elements together with Expolight
— Masonry repairs and renovation
— Installation of new plastic steel windows
— Installation of elevator equipment
— Pavement construction alongside the building
— Floor concrete casting
— Preparations for a concrete podium in the hall
— Façade restoration
— Installation of electric wiring, water supply and sewage pipelines, and other engineering works
Besides, we proceeded to restore some elements within the interiors. GurinBrothers restoration artists are working to restore the ground and first floor ceilings, Atlases, mirror framings, arches and the plastering along the Blue Hall. The Atlases, as well as the other stucco décor were covered in several coats of later-applied paint and putty. Before, they appeared more even and primitive, less detailed. Restoration works revealed the original, more distinct contours, face and body features which had been "buried" underneath the paint.
Next to the Atlases there is a framing where a mirror had been installed before. Unfortunately, some decoration components had been covered with bronze paint, significantly disfiguring the décor's contour – elegantly weaved laurel leaves. Restoration artists are restoring all those details to their original form. Besides, we plan to preserve the texture of the plasterwork along staircase flights, reinforcing it and insulating against environmental exposure.
It took several months for restorers to clear the ground floor ceiling of oil paint coats – only original elements remain. The situation was different with the first floor: the ceilings are higher, the covering and stucco are different. Overall, the décor is better preserved here – it was not repainted so often because of the ceiling's height.
The basic concept we follow is to keep everything as intact as possible. We want to show each period of the building's life and to preserve some fragments of paint coats added later, thus revealing the transformations of the interior over time. We see various phases of the building's "life" in the course of work: how many times the walls and decorations were painted, which materials were used and how responsibly the work was carried out.