As many museums of the world the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center is located in the symbolic for the world history of architecture building. The Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage is an undeniable architectural masterpiece of the 20th century designed by two innovators of the Russian Avant-Garde: Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Shukhov.
Regular buses started to shuttle around the city in 1924, and for them this symbolic to Moscow garage was built. The Moscow communal services bought Leyland buses in Great Britain for the first historic “dacha” route; in three years there were already 16 routes, and the city bus depot counted already 130 buses.
The traffic infrastructure was rapidly growing, and that led to the appearance of a completely new type of the city architecture – those were garages of the open-plan car park type. Konstantin Melnikov made a sculptural revolution; he refused the existing model, and instead the architect developed a brand new building which had the shape of a parallelogram and outstretched from East to West, that allowed to park buses in one line, angle-wise to each other. Thanks to that buses could freely pull out without any use of backward motion which was still not available during that period. The project of the architect, who had returned from Paris the other day and whose wooden pavilion had been a great success at the Exhibition of Modern and Architectural Industry (1925), was confirmed by the experts, and from then almost a century-old history of the Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage started.
Following the functional requirements of the building Konstantin Melnikov developed different architectural solutions which matched each of the four fronts of the building from the practical point of view, he designed six resembling an opened book central entrances-ports and created the unique designer typeface for their titles.
To create metal constructions inside of a huge garage – more than 8500 square meters – the architect personally contacted Vladimir Shukhov, an acknowledged engineering man of genius. The latter developed and built a visually light delicate three-nave construction meant to carry the gigantic roof with the help of 18 elegant columns and only few necessary metal elements. The union of these two men of genius gave birth to the Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, which exceeded the limits of functional city buildings, it became the monument of Constructivism incorporating scale, innovative sculptural ideas and history, it became iconic for the architecture of the Russian Avant-Garde.
Alas, the Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage shared the destiny of many architectural masterpieces, by the end of the 20th century the building was under critical conditions and on the verge of vanishing. In 2002 the Jewish community, the year before the city authorities had handed over its premises to it for free use, initiated large-scale restoration works under the supervision of Alexey Vorontsov Architectural Bureau. The stage-by-stage and delicate restoration with the utmost attention to the saved historic details allowed to leave uncorrupted the internal layout of the building, partially rendered finish and the main entrances from the Eastern front. All this allows to speak about the revival of the Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage and its former architectural grandeur, and now it is a home for the modern hi-technology cultural and educational complex of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.