Jelzin Presidential Center, Yekaterinburg

Boris Bernaskoni
Yeltsin Foundation
Interior architecture
RAA Architects, Ralph Appelbaum
Ekaterinburg, Russia
Completed 2017

Yeltsin Museum

In the end of 2015 has opened the centre of the historical heritage of the first Russian president Boris Jelzin, the so called Jelzin center in Ekaterinburg. The centre has a annual budget of 1,225 billion Rubel because of support funds. It is a museum with children and training centre, an art gallery, a cinema, a bookshop, a library, a restaurant and other public institutions.


The two principles of freedom and openness was which Boris Jelzin wanted to strengthen in the Russian society. Building up all our ideas and concept on this guiding principle we have contracted the design of the living facade skin. It came up a new place for interaction in between the visitors of the museum and the media facade.


In cooperation with the architect Boris Bernaskoni the perforated facade skin developed which is nearly invisible behind the perforated facade.


The facade has a surface of round about 2.500m2 with a pixel pitch of 100 to 100mm completely deposited with video capability LED-RGB pixels. The color shade, the speed this had to be adjust correctly. The media facade should neither blind the passers-by nor exhaust. Due to this the speed had to be timed, so its neither running too slow nor too fast, so that the people want to look away.


There are five overrating topics which are the base of the staging. Architecture, nature, urban space, culture and art. In the topic "culture and art" regional motives of native embroidering and ornamentation will be interpreted, as well as pictures of the worldwide famous Russian artist Kasimir Malewitsch and Ljubov Popova will be staged.


The base was to give the inhabitant of Ekaterinburg something what they own and by which they can identify. We worked with topics of their world and of their culture. We wanted to set them into a direct or indirect connection to the media facade.


By using unfamiliar methods to create familiar impressions. In an oil bath dipped gold pigments create a magical picture and seem like the hovering stardust of the universe. As well as the pleasure of drinking tea which is a ritual indispensable in the Russian nation. We filmed with a high speed camera the discoloration of hot water when dipping a tea bag to reproduce it on the facade.The poetical and romantic disposition of the Russian soul is expressed in the process in an non kitschy way.

Jelzin Presidential Center, Yekaterinburg