UNStudio: dance palace, st. petersburg
jul 22, 2009
UNStudio: dance palace, st. petersburg



UNStudio‘s design has won a competition to build a 21,000 square meter dance theatre in the historic centre of st. petersburg.
the new complex houses the eifman ballet of st. petersburg, headed by choreographer boris eifman. from the four projects presented
(jean nouvel, UNStudio, snøhetta & zao), UNStudio’s design was yesterday unanimously chosen by the jury for realisation.



following text from UNStudio / ben van berkel:



the dance palace forms an integrated part of the european embankment
city quarter masterplan for a new urban square in the historic centre
of st. petersburg.


the urban context of the building is essential to the design. the dance palace is positioned on the square
in such a way as to allow for unrestricted visibility towards the
nearby prince vladimir and peter and paul cathedrals, thereby framing
some of the most exceptional buildings in st. petersburg. the
sculptural qualities of the dance palace reflect those of the
surrounding buildings in the masterplan, providing a connection to its
surroundings yet still retaining saliency. a central main entrance is
incorporated into the façade design in order to fully integrate the
building into this lively public square.





UNStudio’s design for the dance palace presents an open and inviting
theatre building with provision for 1300 guests (large auditorium 1000,
small auditorium 300). programmatic considerations focus on the
spacious circulation of the public foyer and the transparent
relationship to the surrounding public square and the city. integration
with the existing neighbouring buildings is achieved by both the scale
of the building – which in elevation follows and respects st.
petersburg’s typical 28m roofline and the transformative transparency
which is introduced by a facade system of triangular cladding panels.
the variation between opaque and perforated panels creates a controlled
openness, depending on programme, views and orientation.





‘the vertical foyer provides a
high level of transparency from inside to outside, whilst also
presenting a kind of stage for visitors to the theatre; a place to see
and be seen. the open arrangement and balcony structure in the foyer
provides plateaus for its own choreography of both intimacy and





essential to UNStudio’s design for the main auditorium in the new dance
theatre are both the acoustic considerations and the proximity of the
audience to the stage. for this reason the horseshoe form was chosen.
this form is considered to be one of the most successful forms
acoustically in ballet and musical theatre for both performer and
audience, whilst the proximity it affords to the stage ensures an
intimate and collective experience for the spectator.



a mandatory requirement when we were designing the auditorium was to
make it possible to see the dancer’s feet from every seat in the hall
at all times, no matter where the performer was positioned on the stage.



project info:


engineering: ARUP
theatre consultant: theateradvies bv, amsterdam

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