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Iris Foundation Visit New spaces Gorky Park Temporary pavilion

“In my daydreams I picture the Leyland bus as a thoroughbred horse who has found his perfect spot in the stable.”  Konstantin Melnikov

Garage is housed in a landmark of early 20th-century Russian architecture. Designed in 1926, the former Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage was the brainchild of two of the most radical thinkers in their field at the time: the architect and artist Konstantin Melnikov and the structural engineer Vladimir Shukhov.


Often associated with Constructivism, Konstantin Melnikov was in fact a fiercely independent thinker who refused to conform to any one style or discipline. Despite drifting into obscurity after the rise to prominence of Stalinist architecture in the 1930s, his work during his most creative years – the decade between 1923 and 1933 – earned him a place among the top avant-garde architects of the period.

It was during this time that Melnikov was commissioned to design a bus depot by Moscow’s Committee for Urban Planning, which had purchased a fleet of 104 British-made Leyland passenger buses and urgently needed a garage in which to house them. Drawing on progressive architectural principles and techniques, Melnikov set to work creating the ambitious structure.


At 8,500 square meters, Melnikov’s bus depot is a vast building, covering almost three times the area of the Parthenon. One of its most distinctive features is its parallelogram-shaped floor plan. This allowed for an ingenious parking system created by Melnikov called free-flow, whereby all of the fleet’s buses could enter, park and exit the depot without ever having to reverse.

The depot’s monumental proportions were offset by Vladimir Shukhov’s delicate structural design. Known for his innovative methods of analysis for structural engineering, Shukhov used only 18 narrow columns and a minimal amount of metal supports for the roof, which was modeled on that of Melnikov’s Paris pavilion.


The four façades of the building have distinct profiles, giving each the personality of a separate structure. With its Roman numerals and fluted portals reminiscent of a Greek colonnade, the design of the main façade alludes to classical architecture: a utilitarian temple in the middle of the city.