This time Design Contract dedicate article for commercial design project, we want to introduce you amazing project- in the summer of 2013 opened Documentary Film Centre in one of the buildings of the former Provision warehouses of Moscow, Russia. Not only is this the first cinema in Russia that exclusively screens non-fiction films it is also a multimedia library that holds a collection of the best documentaries by both Russian and foreign directors. The Centre emerged as a part of the Museum of Moscow and is the first step for the museum to develop into an open platform.

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-Wow-House-Arrcitects

WOW HOUSE architects, responsible for the project, furnished a small area of the Centre with all necessary facilities: an auditorium for screenings, discussions and lectures for 90 people, a multimedia library with access to video archives, and a small cafe – all while preserving the historic building wherever possible.

In order to make the historic building fit for the new services an independent construction was created for the auditorium – an ”egg” in a shell. Open planning coupled with spatial planning made it possible to fit all facilities quite compactly.

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-plan-Wow-House-Arrcitects



To set up the Documentary Film Centre the Museum of Moscow provided a historic building in the former Provision warehouse with a separate entrance from the Zubov boulevard.

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-entrance

To preserve the historic site we suggested a special construction that would not be attached to the interior walls and that would create the ”core” of the hall. The other facilities that enliven the space would be set up around it: a cafe and a multimedia library as well as office spaces near them; the area is designed to be adaptable.

The hall resembles an ellipse that is diagonally inscribed into the trapezium of the warehouse. New walls embody a metal frame panelled with wood. Lights, ventilation and air-conditioning all are attached to a ceiling grid which rests on the walls. To mitigate interaction of the building with the new structure the foundation was covered with reinforced concrete lining.

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-interior

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-WOW-HOUSE-architects

Mirrors on the wall behind the entry door make the narrow entrance seem wider. The entrance is also equipped with screens displaying various non-fiction videos.


To the right of the entrance there is a small cafe which doubles as a place for informal presentations. There is a media-cafe on the raised floor that can be separated from the main part of the cafe with a projection screen, thereby creating an independent space. The furniture emphasizes the different functions of the area: wooden practical furniture is in the bar zone and soft chairs are in the media zone. Behind the cafe stairs lead to work spaces and restrooms on the second floor. Here a more dynamic use of colour prevails.

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-hall

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-cafe

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-interior-design

Cinema auditorium

The size of the auditorium was determined by the distance between the two arched walls of the Provision warehouse. One of them is concealed behind the screen and the other one functions as an elegant framing for the upper row. The client intends to also use the auditorium for discussions, therefore we designed the seats with unusually wide gaps between them so visitors can move around more easily. Since the walls of an ”egg” lean to the outside we have additional room for a film projector on the second floor.

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-room

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-room-project

Library space

A multimedia library behind the auditorium allows visitors to watch non-fiction films and work with the archives. There is a separate zone containing special seats with screens together with a small auditorium for 10 people.

The office of the Documentary Film Centre is behind glass walls on the mezzanine floor.

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-design

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-style

Amazing Cinema and Documentary Film Centre-comfort

 Main info about the project:

Object: Documentary Film Centre
Period: 2012-2013
Address: Zubov boulevard, 2
Supervisors of the workshop: Dmitry Likin, Oleg Shapiro
Leading architects: Victoria Kudryavtseva, Anna Rodionova
Architect: Maria Gulida
Photos: Maria Gulida, Oleg Maidakov.

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