The Skolkovo innovation centre’s iconic Matrex building is currently representing Russia at the Venice Architecture Biennale that opened Saturday.

The real Matrex building at Skolkovo. A model of it is currently on show at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo:

The building, also known as the Matryoshka (Russian nesting doll) in Russian, was designed by Boris Bernaskoni, and resembles a giant truncated pyramid inside of which the outline of a Russian doll can be discerned. Now a model of the building, whose exterior has been completed and which is due to house the offices of startups as well as a multipurpose events venue, is on show at the world’s biggest architecture exhibition.

“The pyramid as a global symbol of power, rational, with harsh geometry and functionality, is combined with the Matryoshka – a national art motif, irrational and soft,” Bernaskoni said in a press release issued by his bureau.

Bernaskoni also built Skolkovo’s Hypercube, which was completed in 2012 and is used as a venue for conferences and events, as well as housing the offices of major international partner companies of the Skolkovo Foundation such as EMC Corporation.

The architect’s other projects include the Arc in the Kaluga region village of Nikola-Lenivets, built in 2012 for the annual Archstoyanie land art festival.

The Venice Architecture Biennale runs through November. This year’s theme is Reporting from the Front, focusing on the public benefit that buildings can bring. The event’s Chilean director Alejandro Aravena called on participants to explore “the social, political, economic and environmental end of the spectrum.”

As well as a central pavilion, individual countries have their own national pavilions at the biennale. The Russian pavilion is this year showcasing new buildings at Moscow’s VDNKh – the Soviet-era Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy.

This is not the first time Skolkovo has been represented at the Venice Architecture Biennale. In 2012, the Russian pavilion housed the i-city project devoted to the new innovations city and curated by Moscow’s chief architect Sergei Kuznetsov. That project showed plans for Skolkovo, which had been founded just two years previously, and also had a separate section devoted to the Soviet-era science cities, Skolkovo’s predecessors.