Mariinsky Theatre, Russia Arts Building Project, Architecture Photos, Design News, Feature Stairs Images

Mariinsky Theatre Russia : St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg Development, Russia design by Diamond Schmitt Architects, Toronto

19 Nov 2013

The Structural Awards 2013

This project is one of the winners of The Structural Awards 2013.

Award for Small Practices
– The Feature Stairs for the New Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Structural Designer: Malishev Wilson Engineers

Mariinsky Theatre, Russia - St. Petersburg building interior stairs Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg stairs
photos from Structural Awards 2013

The Structural Awards 2013 – winners

29 Apr 2013

Mariinsky II St. Petersburg

New Performing Arts Complex Building in St. Petersburg

Design: Diamond Schmitt Architects


Canadian-designed opera house completes Performing Arts Complex

TORONTO – The stage is set for one of the largest performing arts facilities in the world to open on May 2nd in St. Petersburg, Russia. Mariinsky II designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects is the new home of the acclaimed Mariinsky opera, ballet and orchestra.

Located in the historic centre of St. Petersburg across the Kryukov Canal from the original Mariinsky Theatre (1860), the new opera/ballet house is a structure of authentic contemporary architecture that pays homage to its setting with a 21st-century sensibility. The state-of-the-art facility enables one of the world’s most prolific performing arts companies to dramatically enhance its repertoire and to create new works and innovative productions.

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“Mariinsky II embraces the themes and forms of St. Petersburg and contains a jewel of an auditorium that is based upon the successful configuration of past houses, and one in which the social aspects of attending opera or ballet performances have been enhanced for every member of the audience,” said Jack Diamond, Principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects. The Toronto-based firm is well versed in theatre design, with major halls completed in Montreal, Washington, D.C. and Detroit – and won the international competition for Mariinsky II on the strength of its acclaimed Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

The 851,580-square-foot (79,115 sq m) facility fills an entire city block and consists of a masonry base of Jura limestone, large structural glass bay windows and a gently curved metal roof with a glass canopy to give a contemporary expression rooted in St. Petersburg’s architectural heritage. The design intent is to provide a frame for the original Mariinsky theatre from the streetscape and allow extensive views of the landmark neoclassical theatre from within Mariinsky II.

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

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The main auditorium, designed in the tradition of 18th- and 19th-century opera houses, features a horseshoe configuration with three balconies, offering superb sightlines for an audience of approximately 2,000 people. Acoustic treatments are integral to the wood-lined hall, which is shaped to provide an outstanding acoustic experience for both performers and audience alike.

The 567,700-square-foot back-of-house accommodates full stage-size rehearsal rooms for the Mariinsky Opera, Ballet, Orchestra and Chorus as well as dining and production facilities for 2,500 staff. The new theatre is the production centre for the Mariinsky Cultural Complex, including a nearby concert hall, the Music Academy and the original Mariinsky Theatre, which will soon close for renovation.

A distinctive feature of Mariinsky II is a rooftop amphitheatre for performances during the Mariinsky’s White Nights summertime festival when the sun barely sets on St. Petersburg.

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For Mariinsky Artistic and General Director Valery Gergiev, the opening of Mariinsky II marks a moment to reaffirm the long and great heritage of an institution that has witnessed the premieres and works of some of the most recognizable names in classical music – Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov – and paves the way for the next generation of Russian composers, musicians and dancers.

“Mariinsky II has been designed with the strength, confidence and functional clarity that a building requires if it is to become a lasting part of the life of its city,” said maestro Gergiev. “I feel certain that 25 years from now, Mariinsky II will be seen as a St. Petersburg landmark in its own right, recognized for its superb acoustics, dazzling production facilities and unsurpassed level of audience comfort.”

The realization of this significant project brings more than a sense of accomplishment to Diamond Schmitt Architects. “This commission sends a strong signal that Canadian architects can work on the most demanding projects on the world stage. We are enormously grateful for the confidence the Russian Federation put in our ability to produce a landmark for the new Russia and for the performing arts everywhere,” said Diamond.

Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg

Mariinsky II will open to the public with three celebratory days of star-studded musical and dance performances from May 2 through 4, featuring excerpts and full productions of opera and ballet. The black-tie Opening Night Gala concert conducted by Valery Gergiev features renowned vocalists and instrumentalists, including Ildar Abdrazakov, Yuri Bashmet, Olga Borodina, Plácido Domingo, Ekaterina Gubanova, Leonidas Kavakos, Alexei Markov, Denis Matsuev, Anna Netrebko, Yevgeny Nikitin, René Pape, Mikhail Petrenko, Sergei Semishkur, as well as the Mariinsky’s acclaimed ballet dancers Yekaterina Kondaurova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Vladimir Shklyarov and Diana Vishneva.

Diamond Schmitt Architects ( is among the world’s top ten design firms for the cultural building sector. An award-winning portfolio of opera houses, concert halls, galleries and libraries includes the recently completed Maison Symphonique in Montreal, the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, and Ryerson Image Centre and Daniels Spectrum in Toronto. The firm is also recognized for its portfolio of academic, research, healthcare, commercial and residential buildings that include the recently completed Bridgepoint Health and the Sick Children’s Hospital Research Tower in Toronto.

Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg

New Cultural Building in St. Petersburg

Design: Diamond Schmitt Architects


The new Mariinsky theatre (Mariinsky II) scheduled to open Thursday 2 to Saturday 4 May, 2013

Mariinsky Theatre

18 December 2012 – The Mariinsky Theatre’s 2012/2013 landmark season, which includes an extraordinary schedule of tours, performances, recordings and events, will see the inauguration of Mariinsky II in St. Petersburg on 2-4 May, 2013. The new opera house will join the legendary Mariinsky Theatre and the Mariinsky Concert Hall to further the transformation of the Mariinsky’s complex into one of the world’s premier centres for classical music, opera and ballet.

The milestone marks the 25th anniversary of the leadership of Artistic and General Director Maestro Valery Gergiev, taking the Mariinsky Theatre from the closing years of the Soviet era, when it had been renamed the Kirov, to a modern 21st-century lyric arts company, enhancing and underlining the Mariinsky as a centre of artistic excellence and innovation and creating one of the largest, most acclaimed and most dynamic performing arts institutions in the world.

Mariinsky II St. Petersburg

Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in collaboration with acousticians Müller-BBM, Mariinsky II is situated on Dekabristov Street and connected to the historic Theatre by a pedestrian bridge over the Kryukov Canal. Mariinsky II, which is designed to complement St Petersburg’s 19th-century architecture while adding a distinctive element to the region around Theatre Square, will have state-of-the-art facilities that will enable the Mariinsky to present the most ambitious, technically-demanding productions, beyond what is currently possible on the historic stage.

The opening weekend will include a gala concert and ballet and opera performances, followed by Mariinsky’s XXI ‘Stars of the White Nights’ Festival which will run from 24 May to 14 July with performances in all three venues—the Mariinsky Theatre, Mariinsky II and the Mariinsky Concert Hall.

Mariinsky II Joining the historic Mariinsky Theatre, which dates from 1860, and the Mariinsky Concert Hall, which was inaugurated in 2006, the Mariinsky II will expand the Mariinsky’s cultural complex on legendary Theatre Square and enable the institution to offer the public a greatly increased schedule of presentations. Mariinsky II, funded by the Russian Government, is designed by the Toronto-based firm of Diamond Schmitt Architects in conjunction with the Russian firm KB ViPS. The 851,580-square-foot Mariinsky II will be one of the largest lyric arts facilities in the world.

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Jack Diamond, Principal Architect of Diamond Schmitt Architects, stated, “When I was approached by Valery Gergiev to enter the international competition to design the new Mariinsky Theatre, he presented the opportunity to work in one of the world’s most magical architectural settings, not to mention with a Maestro who is justifiably renowned as one the world’s most respected leaders in the performing arts. I am very proud of Mariinsky II and trust it will achieve our design intent, which is to channel the immense creative spirit that is at the heart of the Mariinsky Theatre and its Maestro.”

Mariinsky II is designed to complement St. Petersburg’s beloved 19th century architecture while adding a distinctive new element to the landscape of Theatre Square. Dramatically large glass facades and bay windows set in the masonry exterior will provide panoramic views of the city and the adjacent historic Mariinsky Theatre, while fulfilling the traditional role of colonnaded porticos. A gently curved metal roof will be enlivened by a glass canopy, giving the building a contemporary identity that is nevertheless rooted in St. Petersburg’s architectural heritage.

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The auditorium, designed in the tradition of 18th and 19th century opera houses, features a horseshoe configuration with three balconies, offering optimum acoustics and sightlines for approximately 2,000 opera goers. Capacious backstage facilities and advanced technological capabilities, and acoustical design by Müller-BBM, will allow for the production of the most elaborate and demanding works. An additional orchestra shell on stage and an orchestra pit with platforms that can be raised and lowered will enable Mariinsky II to function as an ideal hall for symphonic concerts as well as opera productions. Other facilities of Mariinsky II include a rooftop amphitheatre (soon to be a principal space of the ‘Stars of the White Nights’ Festival), a lobby amphitheatre, multiple rehearsal rooms and backstage space that allows multiple productions to be performed in repertoire.

The details of the events and festivities that will surround the 2 to 4 May opening of Mariinsky II will be announced in early 2013.

Mariinsky Theatre St Petersburg images / information from Diamond Schmitt Architects

Mariinsky St. Petersburg

New Cultural Building in St. Petersburg


Canadian firm chosen from among five international and Russian competitors.
Mariinsky’s General Director Valery Gergiev hails Diamond’s ‘superb work’ on Four Seasons Centre in Toronto, home of the Canadian Opera Company.
Construction to begin immediately on Russia’s first new opera house since the Czars

Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – [July 28, 2009] – Russia’s world-renowned conductor Valery Gergiev confirmed today that Diamond and Schmitt Architects of Toronto has been selected to design the new Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, which will add 2,000 seats to the growing Mariinsky complex. The existing Mariinsky Theatre, opened in 1860, has been home to premieres and residencies by composers such as Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovitch, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.

The New Mariinsky Theatre is funded entirely by the Russian Government, and administered by the Ministry of Culture, which hosted the design competition for architects earlier this year. Diamond and Schmitt will be working closely with the St. Petersburg architects KB ViPS.

The budget for the new Theatre is €295,000,000, with a projected completion date of 2011. The New Mariinsky will complement both the existing Mariinsky Theatre located in Teatralnaya Square directly across the canal from the site of the new theatre, as well as the new Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, a 1,200 seat facility two blocks west which opened in 2007.

Said Valery Gergiev: “This is an important day for the Mariinsky which will contribute to the miracle of architecture that is St. Petersburg.”

“When the late Richard Bradshaw toured me through his new Four Seasons Centre in Toronto in 2007, I was struck by its beauty, its practicality and friendliness with neighbouring buildings, its superb acoustics and of course, its budget.”

“Clearly, the architect knew what was needed and delivered on all those large challenges. Today, the Four Seasons is one of the finest opera houses in the world, and we are delighted to be working with Jack Diamond and Gary McCluskie in creating what I’m confident will be Europe’s greatest new opera house.”

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Said Jack Diamond: “This commission sends a strong signal that Canadian architects can work on the most demanding projects on the world stage. We are enormously grateful for the confidence the Russian Federation has put in our ability to produce a landmark for the new Russia and for the performing arts everywhere.”

In addition to his conducting positions as the Musical Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, Valery Gergiev is the General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, which includes the world-renowned companies, the Mariinsky Ballet, the Mariinsky Opera and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Until recently, these organizations were known as the Kirov Ballet, Kirov Opera and Kirov Orchestra. However, just as St. Petersburg reverted to its original name after decades of being called Leningrad, so too are these seminal artistic companies now using their centuriesold names.

Diamond and Schmitt Architects is a 150-person firm with an international practice. In addition to the 2,000-seat Four Seasons Centre in Toronto, its most recent achievements include the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem and Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, D.C. All three of these projects were chosen by Architectural Record and Business Week as among the best buildings in the world in the years 2007, 2004 and 2008 respectively. The award is given for ‘high design’ buildings that advance the mission of their clients and users.

Recent Diamond and Schmitt projects include concert halls for Denver, Colorado and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; the Kinnear Centre for Creativity and Innovation at The Banff Centre; and research and academic buildings for many universities. These include the Universities of Michigan, Toronto, British Columbia, McGill, Western Ontario, Windsor, Ottawa, Drexel, York, Ryerson, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The full Diamond and Schmitt Architects portfolio is at:

Dominique Perrault won a previous competition to design the New Mariinsky Theatre. A new competition was launched earlier in 2009 and this is the competition that Diamond and Schmitt won.

Mariinsky Opera House – Theatre Mariinsky II, Saint Petersbourg, Russia
Dominique Perrault
Theatre Mariinsky
picture from Dominique Perrault

New Mariinsky Theatre video

Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg images / information from Diamond and Schmitt Architects

Diamond and Schmitt

Location: Mariinsky, St. Petersburg, Russia

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