NU cultural and historical center of Yaroslavl

NU cultural and historical center of Yaroslavl / BIT Architecture Group : Shervin Azadi, Parmida Razavi, Alireza Taghipoor / Iran, Tehran

NU cultural and historical center of Yaroslavl / BIT Architecture Group : Shervin Azadi, Parmida Razavi, Alireza Taghipoor

The Concept

In most buildings many limitations are defined on your path and circulation as you visit them. But our design represents multiple aspects of choice to our visitors, depending on their targets and demands in the building. These different features can act separately and connected at the same time. Therefore we create a transparent space for the visitors, letting them move in the complex from one place to another. This variety of aspects is beyond variety of circulations. It provides a space with several levels which are defined and fulfilled by what the visitors tend to do. This quality revises the building from an unacquainted public place into a hospitable and intimate space adapted with the visitors’ desires and personal perspectives.

NU cultural and historical center of Yaroslavl / BIT Architecture Group : Shervin Azadi, Parmida Razavi, Alireza Taghipoor / 2

The expected aspects of visitors:

Some visitors might be just passersby going from one side of the site to another, not planning to visit the social or cultural places of the building. We have designed a corridor placed inside “the wall” acting as a bridge for these passers. But as passing through the bridge they would experience glances of the building like a live catalog, maybe deciding to visit it some other time.

Some people would come for a drink or some good food with friends at our food court and coffee shop with a great view of the landscape and historical skyline of the city. 

Visitors who need a quiet and calm cultural space for reading books can use the library.

Some people can walk on the roof at our maximum height (+2 meter) to view the landscape and the historical buildings around the site.

There would also be visitors who’ve come to visit the main parts of the complex like the fair hall, the exhibitions and the gallery. We’ve considered a unique intellectual experience for our main visitors.

The apparition of an artwork is only by having its own viewer and audience. “The artwork” is the effect of the piece on its viewer. So we also define a real artwork by giving our visitors the self‐awareness of knowing that their expression and impression while seeing a piece of art is the phenomenon.

The answer we have found to this quest is to show our visitors the others visiting the complex, or as we would like to call it, “observing the observance”. At this point we would have two different levels of visitors: the ones who are observing the complex or the “objects” and the ones who can observe the “objects” as well as the building, or the “subjects”. Therefore we have defined the two levels of our design as objective and subjective levels.

General Explanations

Our design is consisted of two “U” shaped parts, each of them answering some of users’ requests. Each part has its own individual functions and circulations, but at some points they also meet.

One of the “U” shaped parts includes the main spaces which are the lobby, the gallery, the exhibition and the fair hall, located at a lower altitude. The other one includes an inner yard, the library’s entree, a smaller gallery, the food court, and an exclusive entrance for the staff, located at a higher altitude.

The galleries and exhibition spaces entail three parts which regarded to the need can be used separately for individual museum functions or all together as a whole exhibition program. There is a smaller gallery in the upper floor and two other galleries in the ground level.

Meeting point of the two “U” parts shapes a central void above the lower yard that can be defined as a virtual heart of the building, which joins the two “U” shaped parts giving an identity to their connection. In the upper level, the void also provides a perspective of the lower yard and the lobby from the food court, the small gallery and the upper yard.

Our fair complex includes a large hall designed for exhibits and gatherings and social happenings. The longitudinal wall in the design, divides our space in two, giving us a space for the lobby and a gift shop.

The wall plays a key role in our design which is consisted of two levels. The second level is actually acting as a bridge connecting the two ends of the site. At this level as you walk through the corridor inside the wall you would see gaps in its wall encouraging you to visit the roof and its view of the city. There would be no connection from this level and the interior spaces, but from the first level you can enter the food court and it’s in this level that you can experience the concept of “Observing the Observance” as the corridor crosses the fair hall. The two levels are also connected at some points, one of them being the access to the first level corridor.


The site’s extensive dimensions and our limitations in altitude give the design a potential of becoming a torpid mass. To prevent this we encouraged our design with the idea of action and stimulation. Variety of heights in most interior and exterior spaces was found as one of the answers to this problem. Also the inclination of the upper “U” shaped part’s roof was designed to reach the maximum altitude (+2 m) and preventing a monotony of the design, which would be used as a terrace with a great view of Yaroslavl and its historic skyline.

We have tried to have a design that would be coordinated with its surrounding environment and could be a part of the landscape in which it’s placed in and would not seem as an excess element to the environment.


In the gallery and exhibition spaces we have used back and forth fragments of wall which transit enough indirect light, as well as shaping a corridor that separates the gallery from the exterior space, giving it some hierarchy.

Another answer for having enough light in the spaces could be the yards. Other than one side of each which is used as an entry, our spaces are designed at the other three sides. This is the same in the lower and the upper level and spaces are transparent where they face the yards.

Circulation flow of the visitors:

The fluidity of the visitors in the space has come in hand via the vast horizontal and vertical circulations and exits and entrances in the space. The space orientations and light contrasts are also in a way which can lead the users to their desired functions.

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