Engineering and economical performance:
The Government of Saint-Petersburg assigned a plot for the construction of the Ballet Academy of Boris Eifman in 2008. The governor of Saint-Petersburg Valentina Matvienko has signed the act «About the creation of the Saint-Petersburg state institution of vocational education – Ballet Academy of Boris Eifman» on January 24, 2011. Ceremonial laying of the foundation took place on May 19, 2011. Ballet Academy comes as socially focused project having certain high value for cultural life of a city and the whole country. The prestigious educational institution, organized on a principle of imperial ballet schools, will prepare dancers not only for Petersburg, but also for other cities of Russia. The idea of Academy creation belongs to Boris Yakovlevich Eifman, the worldwide known choreograph and laureate of prestigious prizes.
«Our Academy is not only a cultural, but also a social project. We want to elect talented children from all across Russia, and to give them a chance by state care to make their way in life, and then to create something for the country. We believe that our ballet school will give a new impulse to the development of the cultural life of the city, and also will contribute to find new opportunities of social assistance to our little citizens.»
The Academy is a state institute of social approach, for this reason the election of talented children is to be held under special attention to the children from disadvantaged families and orphans. The aim of the Academy is to preserve the traditions of the classic Russian ballet school, integration of the world experience into the national choreographic education and creation of a social system that could render assistance of social adaptation and cultural growth of children, as well as professional teaching of creative specializations with the prospects of future competitiveness at the labor market. The Ballet Academy is at some point a kind of laboratory of creativity, oriented to the development of modern choreography concepts. On one hand, the Eifman Academy is a custodian and follower of the original choreography traditions of classic Russian ballet and, on the other hand, it is a school of excellence for young dancers, experimental ground where novelties and innovations are elaborated for education and development of young dancers of the 21 century, who master diverse techniques, styles and aesthetics of the contemporary choreography art together with the achievements of the modern sports.
The Academy has a status of institute that combines vocational and basic education with social orientation as well as one of the major Russian searching and development systems for talented children. The building of the Academy is situated in the ancient part of the city, boarded by Bolshoy avenue from the side of Petrogdradsky avenue, Bolshaya, Lizy Chaikinoy and Vvedenskaya streets. It used to be the house of cinema company «Assambleya». Apart form «Assambleya», the complex included the houses of Y.K.Dobert – I.B.Steichman. The total scale of the project is 12,000 sq.m. Inside the block, some buildings were demolished, and brand-new corpuses for hostels were erected. The south part of the arc-form facaded building hosts the schools’ hostels and medical centre. The north part of the building is intended for the sport complex, classrooms, administrative premises and two ballet halls. The largest of the halls is presupposed to fit the performance and demonstration of the school spectacles. The halls and play rooms are interconnected by the system of stairs, elevators, and galleries. The space between the living hostels and education buildings is facing a glass atrium. The atrium cover is conceived as a ridge of low roofing forming a «harmonica» folds. Not only does this architecture gimmick creates an effective natural ventilation system, but also an artistic interference of light and shade.
The key-point of the project was to design as light spaces of the Academy as possible. Considering internal street location of the complex and sophisticated functional aims, the architects had to squeeze design into a dense structure. The problem of lightning was eliminated by the transparent wall solution for all the ballet halls. The floors of the halls are finished with stage linoleum Harlequin of different pastel colours. Light interior decoration together with the half-transparent walls converted the building into a gentle airy structure. According to the architects’ point of view, and the idea of the famous client, this character belongs to the art of ballet itself. The facade of the former «Assambleya» was restored according to the original concept of 1911. Besides the main decorative solution – portal exedra – a bass-relief was added with the Academy emblem. The Academy was designed for 80 teachers and 228 students.