Coloured majolica and glass dome: Kazakhstan Pavilion at VDNKh restored

Coloured majolica and glass dome: Kazakhstan Pavilion at VDNKh restored
Photo: Press Service of Moscow Mayor and the Moscow Government. Denis Grishkin
Soon, it will house the trade and exhibition centre of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the first President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Kazakhstan Pavilion at VDNKh, accompanied by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

They have been informed of the restoration of facades and interior decor of the Pavilion. They have also visited a traditional Kazakh yurt, a handicrafts exhibition and an agricultural fair. The main exhibition presents exhibits from the National Museum of Kazakhstan's holdings totalling some 30 unique items. The new exhibition centre boasts cutting-edge multimedia appliances. It is designed to be quickly transformed for current displays and events.

Pavilion No.11, listed as a cultural heritage site of federal significance, was built in 1949-1954 by architects Petrov, Kupriyanov and Basenov.

The original architectural appearance of the Pavilion embodied Kazakh national motifs and resembled Central Asian mausoleums. This domed building covering 4,800 sq m was a highlight of VDNKh's Central Alley.

The very first exhibition of the Pavilion was dedicated to the history and culture of Kazakhstan, its achievements in agriculture, with industry (metallurgy, coal, oil and gas) added later in 1959.

However, the Pavilion was renamed to Metallurgy in 1964, with its exhibition subject changed. In 1966-1967, the building was reconstructed. However, the new facade made the Pavilion unrecognisable. It looked like a concrete box, with Kazakh motifs hidden behind stainless steel shields. In the 1990s, the Pavilion was occupied by shops, offices, displays by commercial museums and cafes for almost 20 years.

In 2011, under the Intergovernmental Agreement, the Pavilion was transferred to a long-term (50 years) lease to the Republic of Kazakhstan to turn it into a trade and exhibition centre. The work launched in August 2017 after the approval of the restoration project.

Current progress

The historical appearance of the building was restored to look like in 1954. Experts recreated its facades, the glass dome with a spire, the national pattern made of coloured majolica, the granite staircase of the central entrance, as well as sculptures of a steelworker and a collective farm woman.

Bas-reliefs of cattle breeding of Kazakhstan and agriculture mechanisation made by sculptor Hazbulat Askar-Sarydzha in 1954 and discovered during the restoration have been recreated. Sculptures by Dzambul Dzhabayev and Shiganak Bersiyev have been restored, too.

In addition, experts have restored the interiors of the historic part of the building, including rooflights, chandeliers and sconces, marble on the columns, floors and plaster decor elements.

What's next

The Pavilion is to house a trade and exhibition centre of the Republic of Kazakhstan, aimed at the development of friendly relations and cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia.

The historical part of the Pavilion will feature multimedia presentations about the history, culture, science, art, education, tourism opportunities and business potential of Kazakhstan.

The building's extension will have two spaces for changing and permanent exhibitions and fairs, a Conference Hall, an office space and a Russian cuisine restaurant.

The pavilion's restoration is funded by the Republic of Kazakhstan. The updated monument is expected to open late in 2019.