Renovation Concept of the Dostoevsky Drama Theatre

2020, Finalist, Veliky Novgorod, Russia

Renovation Concept of the Dostoevsky Drama Theatre
The contest for the renovation concept of the Dostoevsky drama theatre in Veliky Novgorod was launched on August 12, 2020 with the aim to develop an architectural concept for the integrated renovation of the building that would enhance its iconic features with state-of-the-art solutions and a range of new cultural and leisure functions. The idea is to transform the theatre into a cultural cluster, expand its functional program, provide for the most advanced equipment and turn the complex into a vibrant hotspot popular with the locals and the tourists alike.
Project team: Tamara Muradova, Lisa Shuvalova, Marinika Sadgyan, Svetlana Vasileva, Vyacheslav Ermolenko, Yaroslava Komissarova, Dara Varga
Our project is aimed at rehabilitating the theatre: returning it to a status of a majestic object on the map of the city. The second goal is to highlight the intrinsic value of the modernist architecture of the late 20th century.
The proposal is focused on creating a harmonious complex, an open and attractive venue welcoming the locals and the architecture lovers from around the globe. The project rehabilitates the theatre as one of the iconic attractions of the city, provides it with advanced new features and functions and makes the monument relevant and resilient for the next generations.
The fundamental idea of the project is to switch the building from a rigid format to an elastic, charging its powerful volumes with creative energy. Our architectural approach is based on preserving the authenticity of the building and creating emotional landscapes. After a thorough inventory of the existing textures and elements, we came up with an updated palette of materials which coexist in harmony with the historic ones.
Our project consists of many references to the original sketches and unrealised ideas of Somov. By rethinking some of those ideas, we put them at the heart of our design solutions. It allowed us to preserve the immaterial memory of the space and evoke a genius of the place. We tried to create an amical architectural ensemble, where all the elements are in concord and understandable for every visitor. We have rid the theatre from its formidable mask and let it become an accessible and welcoming centre of gravitation. Veliky Novgorod acquired an updated landmark that attracts architecture enthusiasts from all over the world.
Vladimir Somov envisioned the Veliky Novgorod Drama Theatre to be an attractive and inspiring place for all citizens.
The Russian and international jury members have shortlisted three practices, namely Archiproba Studios (Moscow), FORM bureau (Moscow) and Rhizome group (St. Petersburg). The finalists had to create a concept design for the renovation of the theatre under the guidance of Roger Watts, director of Haworth Tompkins studio (UK) who has been involved in a dozen completed performing arts projects, including the Royal Court theatre in London. The three architectural practices were chosen out of 16 participants that had submitted their portfolios and visions.
Our approach attaches the greatest importance to the original architectural structure with an open space design resulting in an attractive environment for the public.
This way, the intangible heritage of the building is preserved and the unique atmosphere of the place is enhanced.