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The Shchusev State Museum of Architecture is presenting an exhibition of the original plans and photos of the Moscow Metro (Метро, March 17, 2016 – August 14, 2016). It will close in less than a month’s time. So go see it or click here to visit the museum’s web site.

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The Shchusev Architecture Museum is celebrating the magnificent Moscow underground system with an exhibition called “Moscow Metro. Subterranean Monument.”

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Visitors can retrace the history of this symbol of Moscow in the exhibition halls of the Architecture Museum and be convinced once again that the metro system is not just public transportation, but a living museum.

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Because it came out of research in their archives, “Moscow Metro. Subterranean Monument” focuses on the first four stages of metro construction, between 1935 and 1954.

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The drawings of such renowned architects as Ivan Fomin, Alexei Dushkin, Dmitry Chechulin, Alexei Shchusev and Vladimir Gelfreikh are exhibited alongside photo chronicles from the TASS news agency, photographs and documents from the Shchusev Museum and the Moscow Metro Museum.

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Not only are the designs fantastic, the draftsmanship on display is superb.

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The exhibition presents the Moscow metro as an architectural and artistic wonder, an important part of Russia’s history and development. The curators hope that the exhibition will aid them in their efforts to include the main stations on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

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“We want to draw people’s attention to unrealized plans and the many variations of architectural design, and we hope that Muscovites and visitors to the city will appreciate our exhibition and see its value.”

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Stations such as Sokolniki, Teatralnaya, Mayakovskaya, Kropotkinskaya, and Komsomolskaya are presented in their first paper incarnations, and you can compare the original ideas to what was eventually constructed. You can also see structures and details that were torn down and lost.

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Many Metro stations and pavilions were erected as the result of architectural competitions, although winning projects were often altered in the building process.

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Particularly valuable in historical terms are original versions of Moscow Metro station plans and decoration designs that noticeably differ from their present-day appearance.

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Unique station projects entered in competitions but never implemented are exhibited here for the first time.

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These rare architectural drawings are complemented by photographs from different years, as well as photographic records of structures that no longer exist and are now lost to posterity.

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Beside baroque and neoclassical styles, the more recently proposed stations are modern and exude an uniquely Russian aesthetics, utopian and futuristic.

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The drawings are behind glass, hence some ghostly reflections in the photos.

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Although there were some English explanations on the wall, I wanted to buy the exhibition catalog. But the catalog was not yet ready.

This youtube video is a true gem – not only are the photos bright and vivid, showing so many of the stations, including the lesser known modern and hi-tech ones, the accompanying lounge-y music soundtrack is also superb. Don’t miss it.

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Going underground …

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