Moscow Chamber of Commerce
The Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, located in the heart of the city’s historic downtown, plays a vital role in bringing commerce and community together. Unfortunately, the organization’s existing building was not effectively facilitating this role. Instead it was a mishmash of past uses, dating back to the 1920s, ranging from a utility company, to private offices, to a bank. The studio partnered with the Chamber to renovate the 3,150sf building. The renovated facility better aligns visitor and staff experience with the organization’s core mission.
Each aspect of the design was viewed as an opportunity to connect building to place. This was accomplished by mapping material histories, phenomenological qualities, and cultural iconography onto specific project needs. Students investigated the incorporation of multiple streams of waste material from sources of local cultural significance. The design focused on surgical interventions during the demolition process; moving and reusing existing building elements. The project also recalls Moscow’s well-regarded history of brick making through the development of a mortar-less compressed earth block partition wall system that challenges conventional office wall assemblies.
Through research, collaborative discussions, experimentation, prototyping, and construction students were able to provide a flexible and adaptable home for the Chamber. Integrating project responsive applied research and regenerative approaches resets the boundary for both students and the community of what architecture can be - both as a process and an outcome.
* Teaching Assistant