Hodja Ahmed Yassaui Museum
According to the latest state plan, the city of Turkestan on the south of Kazakhstan is destined to become the new cultural capital for the Turkic world. However, as of now, there exists only one museum dedicated to the philosopher named Hodja Ahmed Yassaui who founded Turkic Sufism branch. Thus, in 2018 a competition was announced asking to design new cultural establishments, including the renovation of the Yassaui museum, Scholar’s Palace and the Nazarbaev-Kazakhstan center (‘Museum of the Great Steppe’). Architects from ATRIUM won two of these nominations.
Hodja Ahmed Yassaui is one of the most prominent adepts of Islam in Turkic world. Yassaui’s mausoleum is Turkestan’s most important cultural site, therefore the new museum building must respect the architectural tradition of the historical town center and have an educational and cultural identity of its own. The concept for the museum was inspired by two key objects of Islamic Turkic culture which are the scroll and the mirror.
The basis for the formal design of the museum is the “Cosmic mirror” – a vital metaphor of Sufism philosophy. The mirror facade of the building symbolizes the soul mirror of Hodja Ahmed Yassaui, ‘so clear it could reflect the beauty of Allah himself’. In the polished metal exterior finish the constant flow of time, Turkestan’s growth and flourishing of its people will be constantly reflected.
Spatial organization of the museum is structured similar to an unfolded scroll which gradually unravels the life of Hodja Ahmed Yassaui, as well as his cultural, literature and educational activity. An elongated curved wall forms interconnected halls with a coherent exposition together with acting as the main structural element of the building. While moving through the exhibition, the visitor will constantly pass by narrow streets of an Old Town merging with interiors of mosques and madrasas, enter a square, walk on balconies and then make his/her way down to the underground library.
Accessibility, low entry fees, and relevance of the museum are aided by contemporary educational formats, such as interactive and multimedia expositions, open-space library with an auditorium and a mini cinema theatre.
|Total Area||2 970 sq. m.
|Site Area||1 Ha