Strategically located on a geological outcrop where the city meets the valley, the new theater, and park of Tchaikovsky Academic Opera and Ballet Theater in Perm is at the center of the major cultural revitalization initiative led by the city’s mayor, Dmitry Samoilov.
wHY’s specialization in designing for the arts – with projects including the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and Grand Rapids Art Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan – has allowed the firm to develop creative new approaches to revitalization.
Their design strategy will radically reincorporate both the river and the landscape into the city’s cultural identity, creating a flowing, dynamic space that places art and nature at the center of urban life.
As a cultural landmark overlooking the city, the building has all the hallmarks of a monumental icon to the arts – however, wHY plans to explode the existing typology of the closed-off theater structure, creating a building which is porous and open to all, with views of the city on all sides.
The form of the building mimics the movement of dance and music, and the palette of materials references ancient geology of the region and the legacy of copper mining. The square plaza of a traditional theater becomes an organic curved surface that sweeps visitors up into the building and invites them to explore the sculptural diversity of the structure.
Ramps and walkways create a sense of flow throughout the building, and visitors are encouraged to explore the outdoor spaces in all seasons. These formal elements of the theater extend to the surrounding park, where a series of dancing paths and terraced landscapes create a sense of continuity between the built and natural environment.