Contract for designing new Mariinsky theater building to be signed on May 29

A state-sponsored contract for designing a new building for St.Petersburg's famous Mariinsky opera and ballet theater (also known as the Kirov theater) is to be signed Saturday on the theater's current premises.

A spokesperson for the City Hall's architectural committee announced that the contract will be signed by architect Dominique Perrault, head of the Dominique Perrault Architecte agency (Paris, France), and head of Russia's Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography Mikhail Shvydkoi. Earlier, the contract was officially approved by Mariinsky artistic director Valery Gergiyev, a great Russian musician of our times.

Pre-project documentation shall be finalized before December 2004. The area allotted for development of the project will be ready for construction work by January 2006. According to the work schedule, the new Mariinsky building shall be in place by August 2008.

The new building's gross floor area will total about 39,000 sq. meters. The audience space will be able to sit as many as 2,000 spectators. The City Hall has allotted the so-called Lithuanian Quarter, located on the opposite bank of the Kryukov canal to the west of the theater's historical building, for development of the project. Passageways shall link the old and the new buildings for transportation of stage scenery and passage of staff and public.

The design and construction of the new Mariinsky theater building is sanctioned by a decree of the Russian Government of June 26, 2002.

Among other things, the state program for restoration, reconstruction and expansion of the Mariinsky theater also provides for restoration of the theater's historical building, restoration of its fa§ades and the audience area, improvement of the latter's acoustic parameters, modernization of the existing engineering systems and stage equipment. In addition, the program envisages land improvement of the surrounding territory.

The international architectural contest for best design of the new Mariinsky theater building took place in summer 2002. The contest was won by the Dominique Perrault Architecte agency of France.

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