Information Point


Location: Moscow
Programme: Commercial
Cost: Confidential
Status: Completed
Client: Private Developer
Designers: erm.


This ancient Russian tradition dictates that when embarking on a long journey, all members of the travelling group will sit for a moment in silence before leaving. Inherited from a time when pagan ancestors believed that good and bad spirits surrounded every human and their home, this ritual allowed the traveller a moment to pull their thoughts together and trick domestic spirits into staying at the home rather than follow them on their journey.

Although the sacred meaning of this phrase has dissipated over time, the ritual remains. Allowing travellers a calming moment to clear their minds of negative or chaotic thoughts before a long trip. Encouraging an opportunity to both reflect on where you have come from and contemplate the journey beyond. 

As an antidote to Siberia’s variable (but mostly cold) climate, our approach in part has been to focus on both the necessity and inherent allure of fire and warmth. Drawing reference from traditional Russian stoves we have created an interior environment that incorporates comfortable seating built around an integrated wood burning stove. Not unlike a Siberian yurt, this cosy snug will provide travellers with a small but comfortable communal space to converse with others, to share information and ideas, or to sit and take a moment to consider the next step on their way.

Retaining a modest footprint for the cabin will not only allow more effective heating of the interior space, but also externally provides room for a steel fabricated stairwell leading up to a 360 degree viewing platform above. From this elevated vantage point our travellers will be able to fully take in their surroundings. Be it rural areas looking back at the Trans Siberian Railway disappearing off into the distance, or in built up areas taking in some of Russia’s architectural delights. Whilst digesting some of the tourist information obtained inside, the projected front elevation of the viewing platform and roof will also provide people at the entrance to the cabin with a degree of shelter and protection in harder climates.

In order to outwardly extend this warm invitation, the external cabin walls and chimney cladding are fabricated with a tinted duel skinned polycarbonate facade system. When internally lit it will radiate a warm glow from the building, like a bright beacon or open fire. This will both help notify our travellers of the pit stop’s location and act as a draw both during the day and at night, its translucency also allowing passers by to glimpse silhouettes of the goings on inside.

Drawing influence from the distilled geometry of Russian Constructivist art and architecture, the exterior composition of the pit stop exerts a simple strength of form. This combined with the use of a bold colour palette inspired by the train carriages active along the route, will help travellers to identifying it amongst variable rural locations and urban landscapes.

Designed within erm. designs, an interdisciplinary collaboration with theatre designers Ruth Hall and Max Jones.

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All contents © Elena Thatcher. 2018, except where noted.