UNStudio’s design has been selected in the competition for 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 the prolific choreographer Boris Eifman. From the four projects presented (Jean Nouvel (FR), UNStudio (NL), Snøhetta (NO), ZAO (RU)), UNStudio’s design was yesterday unanimously chosen by the jury for realisation.
According to Ben van Berkel, “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.