In the early 1970s in anticipation of the 250th anniversary of Ekaterinburg it was decided to create a historical-memorial complex in the city’s historical centre and to locate there a museum of old metallurgical machinery and the history of architecture of Ural towns. Over several years Sverdlovsk Institute of Architecture (SIA) in cooperation with Sverdlovskgrazhdanproject Institute was engaged in designing documentation and supervising the construction of Historical Square including its museum complex.
On 29 March 1975 the Opening ceremony of the Museum of History Problems and Development Perspectives of Ural Architecture (current Museum of Architecture and Design) took place. The museum was housed in the monuments of 19th-century industrial architecture – the former shops of Ekaterinburg mechanical plant. In the late 1970s after the initiative of SIA great efforts were made to search for some large-scale machinery from the Ural works and install that in the museum’s court yard. Thus an open-air exposition was arranged there. In 1985 the museum was renamed into the Museum of History of Architecture and Industrial Machinery of the Urals.
In 1992 the bust of Peter I, the founder of mining and metallurgy in the Urals, was installed in the museum yard. It was a copy of the pre-revolutionary monument restored by a SIA graduate, sculptor G.Chekhomov.
In the early 2000s the museum’s modernization necessitated a concentration of all the sections of its permanent exposition in the great showroom - the building of the former wood drying factory. The existing exhibits were supplemented by some unique materials from the funds: photos from the late 19th century – early 20th century, drafts of old Ural machinery, models of the monuments of Ural industrial architecture. In this period the museum turned into the Museum-Exhibition Complex of the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Art and proved to be one of the major city expo centres. In 2001 the staff collective of the Museum and the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Art was awarded V.N.Tatishchev and G.V. de Gennin Prize for implementing an international exposition project which united three exhibitions “Searching for an Ideal City”, “World Clock” and “C.-N. Ledoux and Russian Architecture”.
2008 marked the beginning of a new stage in the museum history related with its expansion, upgrading and reconstruction of the existing buildings aimed at housing a new structural subdivision of the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Art – the Ural Centre of Design Development. Exposition activity was stopped for this period. The museum staff focused on popularizing the architectural heritage of the Urals. A unique six-volume series “Styles in Architecture of Sverdlovsk Region” was published on the basis of museum funds. The books profoundly analyze all development stages of the Middle Urals’ architecture from the 17th to the 20th centuries and describe the most significant monuments of Baroque style, Classicism, Eclecticism, Modern style, Constructivism and Neoclassicism. The series was awarded Sverdlovsk Region Governor Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of literature and arts. In 2012 the Museum was renamed into the Museum of Architecture and Design. In accordance with its new conception three exposition sections were developed:
1. “The Stone Belt Architecture”
2. “Ural School of Design”
3. “The Ural State University of Architecture and Art: the history”.
Museum reconstruction was completed in 2015, and the first visitors attended the upgraded museum on the Night of Museums. Today further renovation of permanent expositions devoted to the history of architecture and design is taking place, and exhibition activities are rapidly developing.