News - 22 July 2009

UNStudio selected for Dance Palace St. Petersburg

UNStudio’s design has been selected in the competition for a 21,000 m² 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.

The 21,000 m² Dance Palace forms part of the European Embankment city quarter masterplan for a new urban square in the historic centre of St. Petersburg.

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.”

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.

"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 exposure.” Ben van Berkel