Hermitage Museum St Petersburg, Masterplan, Architects, Russian Building

Hermitage Museum Masterplan, St Petersburg, Russia

2014 Vision Russia – design by AMO

25 Jan 2008

The State Hermitage Museum and AMO launch joint venture to create Hermitage 2014 Masterplan

Hermitage Museum St Petersburg

(Rotterdam/Saint Petersburg, 25 January 2008) Think-tank AMO and the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg will jointly develop a visionary masterplan for the Hermitage. The Hermitage 2014 Masterplan marries the extensive knowledge of the Hermitage museum with AMO’s experimental creativity and contemporary engagement.

The Hermitage museum  St. Petersburg, Russia
photography : Chris Mitchell, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The year 2014 marks the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum. In anticipation of this historical moment, the museum – with its two thousand rooms and three million artifacts – offers itself as incubator and laboratory for a defining new vision. Over the next year, the ideas and ambitions of the joint AMO/Hermitage team will manifest themselves in a comprehensive masterplan for the institution – covering not only its global agenda but also its urban and architectural programming and curatorial strategies.

AMO is a design and research studio and a full subsidiary of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). The mutual interest and curiosity between OMA/AMO and the Hermitage began in 2001 upon the commission for the Hermitage Guggenheim exhibition center in Las Vegas. In 2003 AMO’s study for the Hermitage’ extension of the General Staff Building focusing on the ideas of ’modernization-by-preservation’ led to AMO’s commission as consultant. This passed study will now act as a basis for the formation of the collaborative think tank and masterplan project as launched in St. Petersburg today.

The team will also organize four international seminars discussing central issues of the investigation, with leading specialists and cultural figures. The Hermitage 2014 Masterplan will culminate in a final international exhibition and publication.

The Masterplan will be initiated by the creation of a (self-)portrait of the institution – a body of extensive research and critical and comparative analyses. This compilation of distilled knowledge and thought will then serve as the basis from which innovative proposals and experimental case studies will be generated.

The proposals will be centered upon different aspects of the Hermitage: namely its global mission, national position and urban situation as well as its relationship to the city of St Petersburg. The ideas and proposals set forth will be refined and tested through a number of case studies, including an urban intervention, the curation of one of the museum’s permanent exhibitions, and the design of a temporary exhibition.

This project is being sponsored by Mercury, the Netherlands Culture Fund, the Russian Avant Garde Foundation and the Wilhelmina E. Jansen Foundation.

The project is lead by OMA Founding Partner Rem Koolhaas with Talia Dorsey as project architect. Previous collaborations include the architectural and programmatic conception for future development of Munich’s Haus der Kunst, and the editing and development of the forthcoming publication Lagos: How it Works.


The counterpart to OMA’s traditional architectural practice is AMO, a design and research studio based in the company’s Rotterdam office which is supervised by Rem Koolhaas and Reinier de Graaf.

While OMA remains dedicated to the realization of buildings and master plans, its subsidiary AMO is a think tank that operates in areas beyond the boundaries of architecture and urbanism – including sociology, technology, media, fashion and politics. Currently AMO is working for the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg) and for fashion house Prada. In addition it is engaged in studies for the European Union and various OMA projects. AMO’s resume includes work for Universal Studios, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Harvard University, Condé Nast, Heineken, and Ikea. Recent works include the development of in-store technology for Prada, a strategy for the future of Volkswagen, a strategy for TMRW, new organic fast food chain and work for Platform 21, new design institute in Amsterdam.

At Venice in 2005, AMO explored the expansion of the world’s museums and art galleries and investigated whether large extensions were necessary using the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg as example. In 2006 AMO exhibited The Gulf, a survey of key territories in the Middle East. The exhibition allowed them to present the results of their in-depth research into this area which culminated in the publication Al Manakh in July 2007.

State Hermitage Museum

The museum was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great purchased a collection of Flemish and Dutch paintings (225) from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernest Gotzkowski. Today the State Hermitage occupies six magnificent buildings situated along the embankment of the River Neva, right in the heart of St Petersburg. The leading role in this unique architectural ensemble is played by the Winter Palace, the residence of the Russian tsars that was built to the design of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1754-62. This ensemble, formed in the 18th and 19th centuries, is extended by the eastern wing of the General Staff building, the Menshikov Palace and the recently constructed Repository.

Put together throughout two centuries and a half, the Hermitage collections of works of art (over 3,000,000 items) present the development of the world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Today the Museum is creating its digital self-portrait to be displayed around the world. Computer technologies enable the State Hermitage Museum to provide people from all over the world with wider access to information about the Museum and its treasures.

Hermitage Museum Masterplan architects : OMA / AMO

Location: St Petersburg, Russia

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Website: www.hermitagemuseum.org