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Monday, May 13, 2013

New Mariinsky Theatre opens in St. Petersburg, Russia


By IAnD Team
Photography: Courtesy Diamond Schmitt Architects

New Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Mariinsky II

The beginning of May saw the opening of Mariinsky II – Russia’s much acclaimed opera and ballet cultural centre  just across its old 19th century, and radically different Marinnsky I...


Designed by Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt architects, the new theatre stands across the old in the historic district centre of St. Petersburg, Russia. One look at the much acclaimed architect’s work in the cultural arena and the massive 851,580-square-foot (79,115 sq m) facility with its glass, onyx and dynamic ambience leaves one gazing in awe. Yet, the facility is facing much flak for its contrasting structure (to the old) and is being termed by some as an unnecessary modern intervention in a cherished historic area.

New Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Onyx Wall in Lobby 

Won through an international competition, the project shines bright on the architectural and design fronts – with Jura limestone fenestrated masonry base, the height of which is consistent with the existing historic buildings; large structural glass bay windows that artistically frame the streetscape; and a gently curving roof enlivened by a glass canopy – a striking contemporary expression rooted in St. Petersburg’s exceptional architectural heritage.

New Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Auditorium from 3rd Balcony
New Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Auditorium from Stage

The main auditorium designed in the tradition of 18th and 19th-century opera houses, accommodates a 2000-seat opera and ballet house with a very large back of house with six stages and rehearsal rooms, amenities for the company's large staff and other support facilities. The auditorium has been carefully designed with respect to acoustics, sight lines and audience comfort to provide both artists and audiences alike with an unparalled experience to compliment the international stature of the Mariinsky Opera, Ballet and Orchestra.

New Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Helical Stair

“Extensive public space with dramatic staircases connects multi-tiered lobbies that heighten the sense of occasion of attending the opera and ballet for spectators,” says Gary McCluskie, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. The highlight of the magnificent building is a large illuminated onyx wall encasing the auditorium together with lobby chandelier lighting that creates an effervescent beacon enlivening both, the theatre and its surroundings.

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