Kengo Kuma wins Tartar theatre competition with frost-flower-inspired design

Images courtesy of Atchai/Brickvisual/Kengo Kuma
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma & Associates has won a competition to design the Kamal Theatre in Kazan, about 1,380km east of Moscow. The firm is working in conjuction with Moscow architect Wowhause, Stuttgart engineering firm Werner Sobek, UK consultant Arup and local architect Bakulin German Alekseevich.

The theatre, named after playwright Galiaskar Kamal, was founded on the banks of Lake Kaban in 1906 and has become the main showcase for Tartar drama. It is this playhouse that the Kengo Kuma design is to replace.

The winning concept was of a shifting triangular silhouette that shows different profiles when viewed from different sides. According to the architect, the inspiration came from “frost flowers”, a rare natural phenomenon that occurs on the surface of water in cold weather. The overall aim is a building that appears to merge with the lake in winter.

The interior features Tatar crafts and ornaments to create a welcoming atmosphere, and the building’s foyer will act as the city’s “family room”. A floor will be dedicated to artists, administration and workshops, and the basement to access and maintenance. Pedestrian routes and recreational areas are integrated into the lake embankment.

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