Dance Palace St Petersburg, Russian Eifman Ballet Building, Architect, Project, News, Design, UNStudio

Dance Palace St. Petersburg

Eifman Ballet Architectural Development Russia design by UNStudio, Architects, The Netherlands

4 Feb 2010

Dance Palace St Petersburg

UNStudio signs contract for the Dance Palace in St. Petersburg

Design: UNStudio Architects

Dance Palace St. Petersburg Building, Russia

Yesterday UNStudio and Grigorjev & Partners LLC signed the contract with the client, Petersburg City LLC, for the new Dance Palace in the historic centre of St. Petersburg, following the success of the design competition in July last year.

The project is a 24,000 m2 dance theatre, housing The Eifman Ballet, headed by the prolific choreographer Boris Eifman. The Dance Palace forms part of the European Embankment city quarter master plan for a new urban square in St. Petersburg.

Dance Palace St Petersburg interior design

The Dance Palace in St. Petersburg embraces the rich history of the world renowned Russian Modern Ballet within the historic setting of St. Petersburg. The signing of the contract is a milestone for the international and St. Petersburg teams.

According to Ben van Berkel, “The ambition of the city of St. Petersburg and of our client to proceed with this project is a wonderful example of perseverance. To set up a team with international specialists alongside specialists from St. Petersburg has been quite a challenge, particularly as – alongside all the technical challenges – we have to address the challenges of affordability and sustainability, or what I like to call attainability.”

Dance Palace St Petersburg Russia building design

UNStudio has extensive experience in theatre design, with recently completed projects including the Theatre Agora in Lelystad (Netherlands) and the MUMUTH Music Theatre in Graz (Austria). UNStudio is also currently designing a new theatre for Spijkenisse in the Netherlands.

22 Jul 2009

UNStudio/ Ben van Berkel’s design selected for Dance Palace in the historic centre of St. Petersburg

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.

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.

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.

Dance Palace St Petersburg Dance Palace St Petersburg Russia Dance Palace Building St Petersburg

Ben van Berkel says of the foyer design, “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.”

The stage
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.

“An essential 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.”
Ben van Berkel

Dance Palace St. Petersburg – Design Team

Engineering: ARUP
Theatre consultant: theateradvies bv, Amsterdam

Client: OOO “Peterburg City”
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Building surface: 21,000 m2
Building height: 28 m
Status: 1st prize competition entry

Visualisations: rendertaxi, Aachen

Dance Palace in St. Petersburg Credits

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Christian Veddeler, Wouter de Jonge and Jan Schellhoff and Kyle Miller, Maud van Hees, Hans-Peter Nuenning, Arnd Willert, Nanang Santoso, Imola Berczi, Tade Godbersen, Patrik Noome

Theatre consultant: theateradvies bv – Louis Janssen, Caroline Noteboom

ARUP: Jaap Wiedenhoff (Arup director), Soren Svare (Arup Russia), Arjan Habraken (Structures), Gerard Nouwens (MEP), Pascal Steenbakkers (Fire & coordinator), Helen Butcher (Acoustics), Rudi Scheuerman (Facades), Sergei Nikigorov (Arup Russia), Sam Wise (Acoustics and Costing), Oleg Romashkin (Arup Russia), Stanislav Korulin (Arup Russia), Lyudmilla Jones (Fire), George Faller (Fire), Daan van Konijnenburg (MEP), Christa de Vaan (MEP)

Dance Palace St. Petersburg images / information from UNStudio


Location: St. Petersburg, Russia, Eastern Europe

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