The cultural centre in Kaluga is a building with a rich and flexible programme suitable for cultural and educational projects of different formats. From modern art and dance to concerts and film screenings it can become a new landmark of a small city while being organically integrated into the existing environment.
To develop a structure which combines the interests of fundamentally different users and different recreation formats - from a concert to a philosophy club.
We created a hub of two intertwining spatial 'strips'. One carries educational functions, the other - public. Outdoor spaces are integrated between the strips. They include a courtyard with an amphitheatre and a film screen and an inner green courtyard.
The complex descends following the terrain and doesn't interact with the Space Museum visually. The Tsiolkovsky Park is connected with the complex via a stairway/ramp which leads from the park to the second level of the complex.
Kaluga is a small but vibrant city, the capital of the region, leading in Russia in terms of economic growth. The decision to build an Innovative Cultural Centre in Kaluga was made in 2013. The new complex was assigned the site on the Yachen reservoir slope. The primary task of the predesign project research was to determine the programme of the complex. It was to become the unifying cultural centre, a place for major events and a platform for alternative urban communities such as Parkour admirers.
The programme determined the first key decision: to divide the building into two parts. One part hosts professional educational programmes for artists, designers, dancers, directors, actors, photographers, etc. The other part of the complex holds open programmes for people with different interests (a talk, a screening, a theatre production or an exhibition). These two parts are designed as intertwining strips guiding the movement of the visitors inside the building. This three-dimensional composition allows for open public spaces to exist in the complex: a courtyard with an amphitheatre facing the reservoir and a small courtyard with a pocket-park next to classrooms. The composition of the complex also included the place of the existing trees of the site which found themselves in the inner green courtyard.
A white strip surrounds the amphitheatre and continues towards the reservoir with a console. The main foyer of the centre, rehearsal and dance spaces, an exhibition hall, a buffet and bookshop are located here. A panoramic cafe is situated in the console part. The complex is connected with the Tsiolkovsky Park via a stairway/ramp which leads the visitors from the park level to the second level of the centre. The amphitheatre descends from the second level to the public square suitable for film screenings and outdoor events.
The second black strip follows the terrain along the reservoir and includes spaces for educational programmes: a lecture hall, a media library, a photo and recording studio, a ceramic workshop. The spaces are connected by a system of ramps for pedestrians and people with limited mobility. The green courtyard can be accessed through the educational area and can host events related to the educational programme.
The public area of the complex is adjacent to a multifunctional hall for 250 people. The hall and the educational area separate the green courtyard from the rest of the complex, thus creating a more intimate green space.
Recreation and sports spaces (parkour, skateboarding) are located in the rest of the complex.
Each functional shape in the complex is assigned its own colour and texture. The white strip represents public functions, the black strip represents educational functions, the metallic shape of the hall. The educational area and the terraces are facing the slope and the Yachen reservoir. Administrative offices, the cafeteria, exits from dressing rooms and classrooms are facing the inner courtyard.
The inner foyer is illuminated by a stepped lamp which goes through a terrace and turns visually into an outdoor wooden amphitheatre.
The complex design includes a 12-meter console which houses a cafe with panoramic glazing and a view of the reservoir.
There is no clear facade orientation thanks to the flexible structure of the complex. Visitors can enter the building from different sides. A pedestrian sees the building not as a monolithic volume, but as a changing dynamic structure. This structure organically connects indoor and outdoor spaces. The changes in the terrain are reflected in the design and the public functions flow from the indoor spaces to the courtyards.