3A Vvedenskaya St., St. Petersburg, Russia
Client: Committee for Construction, St. Petersburg City Administration
Realization: 2017-2019 | Total area: 8,800 m2
Team of authors: Architects: N.I. Yavein, A. Yar-Skryabin, E. Kosacheva, V. Kulachenkov with the participation of E. Fedotova, Ya. Reut, S. Nogotova Constructors: V. Ioffe, D. Kresov, E. Silantyev, I. Shustova, A. Krivonosov, S. Shvedov, S. Bogdanov, A. Levshina, A. Korovaev, M. Kerdol, A. Agashkov
Boris Eifman Dance Academy takes up almost a whole city block, comprising historic buildings adapted to the Academy’s needs and newly constructed buildings. The complex was divided into several scheduled projects. In 2012, a former movie theatre was replaced with the Education and Administrative Complex and Halls of Residence. In 2015, the restored 19th-century wooden mansion was adapted to house the Museum of St. Petersburg Ballet. Finally, in 2019, the 1930s school building was modernized and the new Children’s Ballet Theatre was built.
The adaptation of the 1938 school building was limited to altering the floor layout and modernizing the engineering systems. The structure of the building and its main entrance from Vvedenskaya Street remained unchanged.
The new theatre building inside the city block comprises two cylindrical volumes. The shape is a reflection of what we find inside: a 450-seat amphitheatre and a large rehearsal hall under a semi-circular roof. Just as in a traditional theatre, there are stalls, a dress circle, and first- and second-tier boxes. The stage is almost the same size as the ones in ‘real, grown-up theatres’, but the auditorium is rather small. The combination of a full-scale stage and a more intimate auditorium was commonly used in home theatres of Russia’s noble houses. It helps create a special and cosy atmosphere and a closer connection between the performers and their audience.
A multilevel glazed atrium brings the theatre and the school together and remains the main recreation space for the students throughout the year. Before a performance, it turns into a theatre lobby. Filled with people, it brings to mind a small city plaza. Indeed, there is a front staircase, a clocktower wrapped in flights of stairs, and a round tower with belvedere halls. This space is an architectural prelude designed to introduce the young spectators to the magical world of ballet and create a festive atmosphere.