Farming tools line clay walls of Museum of Rural Labor in Russia

Farming tools line clay walls in Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

This museum by architects Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova contains a single room inside a silo-like structure in a Russian potato field (+ slideshow).

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

Designed by Russian architects Tchoban and Sterligova to honour to the region's agricultural history, the Museum of Rural Labor is built from compacted clay and straw – a traditional construction method in rural Russia.

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

The building sits among crop furrows in a potato field near Zvizzhi, a village located around 120 miles south-west of Moscow. It was designed as part of Archstojanie, an annual land-art festival hosted in Nicola Lenivets, a local artist community founded by Nikolay Polissky.

Polissky recently covered a dilapidated building in the village in timber offcuts to create a walk-through sculpture for the event.

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

Tchoban and Sterligova's cylindrical structure is topped by a one-metre-thick square capital, which forms its roof.

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

"Visually, this structure calls to mind all kinds of associations – from a banal water tower to the last surviving column of a no longer existent acropolis," said Tchoban and Sterligova. "With its silhouette of a silo tower, the object is implemented artfully to the landscape of the village."

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

"An outside observer would find it quite difficult to evaluate the structure's true scale," they added, "being clad with clay, the tower seems to merge with its earth base and with its surroundings in general; you might easily think it has been here forever."

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

While the outer walls of the eight-metre-tall museum are free from ornament, the inner walls are embellished with agricultural tools and artefacts collected from nearby villages and settlements that pay tribute to the area's rich farming history.

"Positioned in a spiral, these artefacts seem to be rising into the sky, underlining the sacral importance of work on the land, work which has always been the basis for man's wellbeing," said the architects.

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

A wooden door at one side of the tower opens directly from the field into the single-room museum, which is just 3.2 metres wide and is lit by a circular skylight in the thick roof slab.

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

The yellow-tinged glass is intended to bath the interior in golden light, enhancing the earthy tones of the clay.

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

Sergei Tchoban is also the architect behind Russia's pavilions for this year's World Expo in Milan and for the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012. The former features a vast 30-metre-long mirrored cantilever hosting a roof garden, while the latter had surfaces covered in QR codes that visitors could use mobile phones and tablets to read.

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova

Among his permanent buildings are a hotel in Berlin that also features a mirrored cantilever containing its upper storeys and a museum for architectural drawings, which has walls decorated with architectural motifs.


Project credits:

Client: Archstoyanie
Architects: Sergei Tchoban, Agniya Sterligova
Construction: Martin House
Rooflight: Velko-2000

Museum of Rural Labor by Sergei Tchoban and Agniya Sterligova
Sections – click for larger image