World’s Largest Jewish Museum To Be Built In Moscow

The Russian Jewish Museum by Graft Architects is meant to bring new life into one of Moscow’s landmark buildings, the Bakhmetevsky bus garage by Konstantin Melnikov.
The museum will be housed in the 154 x 54 meter space that is contained by the garage’s shell.

The renowned German architectural bureau Graft Labs will be in charge of renovation and expansion. The building, which spans 9,000 square meters, will be enlarged by adding underground floors covering 15,000 square meters, making it the largest Jewish museum in the world.

Originally meant to house a number of buses, the exterior of the structure will remain untouched, to make it visible that the building is a monument of Russian heritage. The interior will include an undulating landscape animating the space, offering a highly versatile stage for events of all kinds.


The architectural intervention will illustrate a literal translation between the past and the present – the historical on the outside with the present inside. History is present in a series of underground studios, informing the floor above which houses the activity of today’s Russian Jewish community. The formal contract of the interior surface enhances the architectural space of the original Melnikov building.

October last year, the committee for the Russian-Jewish Museum of Tolerance in Moscow approved a final architectural plan that would produce the world’s largest Jewish museum.


Baruch Gorin, the spokesman for Moscow’s Jewish communities, announced that the museum would be established in a historic building at the Jewish community center, which the community received from the Moscow municipality about five years ago.


The complex of buildings already contains several Jewish institutions, including a soup kitchen, the Shaarei Tzedek health services, a Chabad school, and two buildings – a yeshiva and a university – in the final stages of construction. The new museum is meant to be the complex’s crowning glory.


Gorin said the museum will commemorate Russian-Jewish history and include galleries of Jewish art and Judaica. Another section will commemorate the Holocaust. Plans include the construction of a large library, a center for Judaic studies and conference rooms. Gorin predicts that after the municipality provides technical permits, construction will finish in 2011.

The museum’s building was put up in 1927 by Konstantin Melnikov, a key Russian architect in the early 20th century. After serving for years as a bus depot, the building was renovated last year and now serves as a gallery for international modern art.

The Jewish community recently signed an agreement with the Russian Cultural Foundation to renovate and expand the building and turn it into an international Jewish museum. Taking part in funding are the Russian Cultural Foundation, the Moscow Jewish community and Jewish philanthropists headed by businessman Lev Leviev.


The German architectural firm Graft Labs will be in charge of renovation and expansion, and international design company Ralph Appelbaum Associates will head design.The building, which spans 9,000 square meters, will be enlarged by adding underground floors covering 15,000 square meters, making it the largest Jewish museum in the world.


For further information and more pictures visit the architects’ website.

10 Responses to “World’s Largest Jewish Museum To Be Built In Moscow”

  1. Roman says:

    Thank God Daniel Libeskind is not involved. That clown has done more to trivialize The Holocaust and Jewish history than any man alive. And Libeskind’s devastating effect on urbanism, with his pretentious designs, will leave scars on cities for years. Libeskind’s uncivilized ‘blitzkrieg’ ranks on a par with Hitler’s in terms of the the damage done to cultures, cities and to architecture.

  2. Anton Cobern says:

    Thank you, that wasreally interesting. I was born in Moscow in 1972 but my parents fled the country and came here to England. To be honest, I didnt really care much about my russian heritage until my mother died last month, now I’ve been trying to find out as much as I can. Seemed like food culture was as good a place as any to start ! You dont generally hear much about russian cuisine do you? Anyway, I found a lot of russian recipes here that your readers might be interested in too.

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