At the beginning of the 20th Century, Nikolai II became friends with the Italian King, Victor Emmanuel III, through which Russia, for a nominal rent, received a piece of land on the main avenue Giardini, with a great view of the lagoon. The Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna chose the plot itself, and she also opened the pavilion. The construction of the pavilion was commissioned to the young Academician Alexei Schusev. The Pavilion project, like the Kazan Railway Station, on which Schusev also worked, was executed in the neo-Russian style, influenced by Naryshkin baroque. Construction was completed in 1914.
Between the 1960s and the 2000s, the Pavilion was repeatedly reconstructed, resulting in the building losing some decorative items, several windows were walled up, and new openings were created. After the revolution, the double-headed eagle was removed from the glass dome, and was only restored in the 2000s during a major renovation undertaken with the assistance of the Russian Ministry of Culture, and through funding from Alfa Bank.
In 2000, the Russian architect Ilya Utkin was awarded a special prize for the best architectural
photography; the exhibition's curator was the architecture critic Grigory Revzin. In 2012, the Russian
Pavilion’s exhibit, which is now featured in the information centre of Zaryadye Park in Moscow, was
conferred a special mention by the Biennale’s jury (curator - Russian architect Sergei Choban,
commissioner of the pavilion - Grigory Revzin).
COMMISSIONERS AND CURATORS
From 2011 to 2014 the Commissioner of the Russian Pavilion was the architectural critic, historian, and
art critic Grigory Revzin (in 2000 and 2008, he was curator of the Pavilion). In April 2014, Revzin was
replaced by the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, Semyon Mikhailovsky. The curators of the Russian
Pavilion were the architects Yuri Avvakumov (1996), Evgeni Asse (2004, 2006), Sergei Choban (2010,
2012), and artist Pavel Khoroshilov (2008, 2010).