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The New Mariinsky Theater

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Here's the link to a picture of exterior of the new Mariinsky Theater designed by the California architect Eric Owen Moss:


The rear of the 'old' Mariinsky Thearter is in the background. Also visible is the new structure attached to rear of the old theater which will be connected to the new one.

Here's a picture of the interior:


It's smaller but more intimate, perfect for smaller scale works and recitals.

Here're 2 pictures of another new theater by the same architect, part of the Mariinsky Cultural Center. The design is very striking:



What do you think?

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I think the Maryinsky design looks like the bubble wrap in the bottom of my kitchen trash can.

The interior rendering looks like an interior of a french horn. Without the grace.

I don't dislike the other two building designs.

Have they lost their minds?:rolleyes:

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Bubble wrap? I don't know-- it looks like alien regurgitation to me.

Can't imagine anything that would be more out of place in that neighbourhood (or city, for that matter). As for the last design--wonder what it would look like under a foot of snow. Hmm...

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I am not an expert on contemporary architecture, but the design does look like a bubble wrap to me. Still the important point is that the existing stage will not be touched, and hopefully the building of a second stage will give more flexibility to both the Kirov Ballet and Opera. The Kirov dancers could certainly do with several newer and better-equipped studios, and larger dressing rooms.

Another beautiful theatre in St. Petersburg is the newly restored Comedy Theatre off Nevsky Prospekt, which I visited earlier this year. It is now a second home of St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre of Konstantin Tatchkine. One of the public rooms is as grand as the interior of the Hermitage Museum.

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I am heartbroken! What a disaster. Yes, in deed the dancers need larger dressing room space, larger studios and more up to date backstage area, but that can be accomplished without loosing the charm of the city with a contemporary design. How in heaven's name will they keep all of that clean? St. Petersburg is not exactly the cleanest city in the middle of winter. I wonder if the architect has visited in the middle of February! It looks like he is expecting the California sunshine instead of the darkness that befalls this beautiful city nine months a year.

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Owen Moss is famous for his interest in combining materials and his constant experimenting with complex structures.

This design has some reminiscents to Moss's award-winning fine project for the "Queen's Museum of Art"in New York.

It's difficult to judge a project on so few documents. Plans and sections have to be seen as one entity.

But -from what we are able to see here, it's not very promising to say the least :)

Have a look at another angle :

This one is even more thought-provoking as hiding the massiveness of the building seems to be impossible here !

I've read somewhere : "...Moss intends to 'feed L.A.to the world..." !

Well, I suppose St.Petersburg isn't waiting for this :) And it's not all about the reconversion of the Mariinsky, the project includes the rebuilding of the whole New Holland area across the Krukov Canal. (see the last two pictures in the main-posting)

As so often with Moss, we see an unconventional buildingstructure and a total negation of the -in casu, necoclassical- surroundings with little of no respect for the negative space.

With lots of complicated technical details, I hope they don't forget about the perfect 'machine' a theater need to be.

I have no clue about the phase in which this project is, let's hope the federal government understand the importance

of an international architectural contest.

And why, oh why..are they neglecting the existing Russian creative potential ?

We only can hope for a reaction from the Unesco : the centre of St.Petersburg belongs to the Worldheritage since 1990.

If you are interested in a recent interview with the architect on the St.Petersburg-project, listen here : http://www.savvytraveler.org/show/features...nterview2.shtml

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I'm glad the Mariinsky put their PRINCE IGOR set to use...

Seriously, I don't know if the Russian government or Mariinsky supporters have the resources that are going to be needed for 'this' particular structure. It's not so much that it's 'modern,' it's simply 'bad.' Gergiev has been so placated by his staff and followers into believing that whatever he does is right; that kind of power-trip doesn't last forever in a theatrical - or real - world. Pushkin and Russian history should tell him that. It's ruining his career (even if the answer is 'no,' he should be considered for the Concertegbow but isn't)...and now 'his' theatre might suffer as well along with the rest of us who care about its past, present, and future. The Mariinsky deserves something more than an ugly empty shell. I'm nervous that if the new theatre is built in this form there will be nothing left over to perform. The physical and emotional cost might prove too high. I haven't been to St. Petersburg in a few years but there STILL must be buildings already standing that can be rennovated into a new theatre that won't destroy the city's uniquely beautiful environs.

Perhaps individually nothing can be done; maybe the World Monument Fund (www.wmf.org) can. Caring about the Mariinsky is difficult when they live on reputation and play dangerous games of 'catch up' with the rest of the world.

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Well, if that stuff is built and looks like what is on the pictures, then by comparison the Opera Bastille will look positively lovely! :eek: :(

Also I wonder if they have considered all the technical aspects of what's inside. A lot of mistakes were made when the Opera Bastille was built, making the jobs of the technicians more difficult and requiring some further repairs (and some of them had been noticed by the technicians before it was built, but nobody listened to them).

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Architectural projects have always been used to express power.

And a lot of the top-architects are such big 'ego's' that they are more than willing to work out these alarming ambitions.

Indeed Patricia, it's not the fact that it is a modern design that causes the problem here. More, I'm convinced that when building in 2002, you have to express your own period, but with respect for the build-environment and history of the site.

I've read that execution has to start next year ! :(

I really hope some people overthere will realize that they certainly need more time for a definitive decision.

A decision that will mortgage this special place for the ages to come !

Estelle's example of neglecting the study about the specific required techniques, is another major problem in that kind of 'statement'-architecture and the hustle to get the project ready before a third dog runs with the bone !

I'm eager for reading some Russian thoughts about this project !

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I'd call it radical. It always matters to me if the new designs, instead of balancing the old and the new, destroy historic character of the city. Call me conservative. I'm usually (and strongly) against the idea of importing foreign architects to design urban architecture. They know very little about the spirit of place. I call those who can harmoniously integrate modern design into the old fabric of the city great architects.

Well, in this case, E.O.Moss is not the one to blame, I think. Perhaps the Kirov management could reconsider the design. Unless they only want to create a building that attracts million of tourists to come to see it (but not ballet and opera perhaps!).

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N07, how right you are. Surely there must be some eminent Russian architects in St. Petersburg, more in tune with the spirit of the city than foreign architects, who are capable of designing the second stage of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Viviane, I doubt very much if the execution of the plan will start next year, as 2003 will be the 300th anniversary of the city, and I think that the Mariinsky Theatre will be busy enough already with the festivities.

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Well, in this case, E.O.Moss is not the one to blame, I think

NO7, sorry but I can't follow you on this.

I always consider it one of the tasks of an architect to 'educate' his clients ! And -to be honest- this is not the best we have seen from Moss so far ?!

Unless they only want to create a building that attracts million of tourists to come to see it

Think that's a major problem here ! The aim to create a building with a Bilbao-effect, one that need to be 'the talk of the town' (read : world). Mr.Gergiev even mentioned somewhere that he hoped to attract investments by choosing an architect with international fame.

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Viviane, in reality an architect these days needs to please the clients and fulfil their requirements set, and has no scope to 'educate' them. I know because I have some friends and relatives who are architects.

I think that Mr. Gergiev is trying to create a major new landmark in the historic city of St. Petersburg to attract attention from arts lovers all over the world. But I too have my doubts if this is really what the Kirov Ballet needs, besides better and more spacious studios and dressing rooms.

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Kevin, I still consider the job as an independent one and an architect need to act like that too ! With 'pleasing clients' only, you're walking on a very dangerous path...most of the televisionstations are doing that aswell :)

I do agree though -never bend for money- is not the easiest way !

There is nothing wrong with trying to attract arts-lovers and creating a new landmark ofcourse, but on this scale things can run out of hand. And you need a designer who has a subtle sensitiveness towards the existing environment, a profond knowledge of the history of the site, a master in jugling with proportions not someone who simply wants to impose his own mark.

And I want to add : 'pleasing clients' can't be a good excuse to make a bad design !

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