ART & SCIENCE MUSEUM
In the autumn of 2016, Almaty Development Center held a competition for the best concept of a new public space on the former Tram Depot territory. The goal of the competition was to create a comfortable, popular and practical space for the city’s residents. Applications were accepted until October 2, 2016. Following that, an online voting took place from October 3 until October 16, and a judgment was made by an Expert Commission, according to the rules of the competition. As the competition’s result, finalist were selected, who later defended their projects in front of the city administration representatives.
Upon its completion, Almaty Development Center, as well as the general public, gave their feedback regarding the running of the competition, and the finalists’ projects were corrected in line with all the suggestions. The competition and the surrounding public discussion revealed a severe shortage of several public spaces at once: cultural and scientific. Due to this, two creative initiatives – Polytechnic Museum of Almaty and ART DEPOT, decided to unite to create a unique public space for Almaty. The new project was named Art & Science Museum and it incorporated all the latest trends in art and science development.
Finalists went through two approval stages: technical and public councils under Almaty city administration. On June 28, 2017, the public council of Almaty chaired by R.A. Alshanov, has decreed that the Art & Science Museum project at the former Tram Depot was not needed, preferring the project that would be less costly for the city, according to their estimations – the DEPO Evolution Park multifunctional complex.
According to Mr. Alshanov, this decision was based on the fact that it would cost less than the Art & Science Museum. However, the circumstances seem bizarre, since the Art & Science Museum project requires only 660 million tenge from the city budget (the remaining funds would be covered by private investments), while the approved project will need more than 1 billion tenge.
While discussing the projects, the Council members noted the acute shortage of museums and museum spaces in our city that bears the unofficial title of the cultural capital of Kazakhstan. In addition, the Art & Science Museum project was lauded for its innovativeness and its concordance with the world’s educational/outreach trends. The council members also noted the relevance of the need to support arts and sciences in accordance with the course set by the head of our state Nursultan Nazarbayev outlined in his recent article: “The Course towards Future: Modernization of Public Conscience”. The president of Kazakhstan urged for a “cult of knowledge” and promotion of “Modern Kazakhstani Culture in the Global World”.
In the recent years, a large number of entertainment, commercial, administrative and residential facilities have been built in Kazakhstan, mainly in Almaty. Unfortunately, there was no place for cultural and scientific objects. Art & Science Museum could have started a new countrywide trend.
Art & Science Museum project was going to propose one of the first instances of crowd-funding for a project of such scale – collecting funds for a museum from the patrons of art. While this is a usual practice in developed countries, it was going to form a new habit for businessmen in Kazakhstan – investing their earnings into the future of the country. A flexible sponsor enlistment scheme involving the government was developed, which would ensure the sustainability of the museum, its development and the attraction of financial resources from Kazakh diasporas from all over the world, not just within the country.
Short description of Art & Science Museum project
on the former Tram Depot territory
Art & Science Museum is:
A place where our country’s scientific and technological heritage in symbiosis with the cultural heritage would be preserved and demonstrated;
A place where the young develop an interest for science and arts;
A place of enlightenment where people of all ages would nurture ideas of beauty and nature of things;
A new, unique and comfortable space in the city available to everyone;
A new tourist attraction on the maps of Almaty;
International prestige: having such a museum would place Almaty on a par with the most advanced capitals of the world.
Relevance of the project
The essence of the concept is improving the quality of life of every citizen of Almaty, and meeting his or her needs. That is why the two components: arts and sciences – complement each other in the best possible way. The new space is designed to address the lack of quality leisure activities in the city, while also creating an infrastructure that would aid the realization of creative and intellectual potential of its inhabitants.
Arts and sciences were born from the humanity’s eternal thirst for knowledge. In essence, they are just different edges of our yearning to discover the world around us and ourselves. Science studies the world through logic, while art – through emotional reflection.
Main scientific and technological exhibition
Main art exhibition
Temporary exhibition and event space
Experimentarium (for scientific and technological experiments)
Sound recording studio
Levelstudio architecture bureau, Bekzat Amanzhol
Aset Nauryzbayev – entrepreneur
Eurasian Cultural Alliance Public Association: Olga Veselova, Igor Sludskiy, Anna Assonova, Vladislav Sludskiy
Zhanna Spooner – architect
Valeriya Sidorenko – architect
Ivan Schreder – architect
CPU – Russian Center for Applied Urbanistics