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papalampropoulos syriopoulou

theatrum anatomicum

Status: International Architectural Competition / Kaliningrad City Administration, Urban Planning Bureau “Heart of the City"
Program: Museum complex
Year: 2015
Location: Kaliningrad, Russia
Architect: Leonidas Papalampropoulos, Georgia Syriopoulou
Special collaborators: Marina Shkurova, Nikos Lamproulis


Distinction, "Special subject of discussion"


In order to respond to the task of restoring the historical knowledge and the re-establishment of the public sphere the design adopts, metaphorically, the paradigm of the anatomical theater. The theatrum anatomicum functioned during the 16th and 17th century as a place that combined the acquisition of medical knowledge with the notion of public spectacle through the process of dissection.

In our case, it’s the notion of knowledge attained by the exposed anatomy of the castle that attempts to restore historical time; and that of spectacle which reactivates the public realm. The castle is conceived as an anatomical model, a fragmented representative of its original form, a body that exhibits its structure to the public. Partly restored, partly reconstructed, the ruin becomes an accessible meeting point for the city of Kaliningrad. A tensile glazed structure surrounds the excavation and provides appropriate climate conditions for the spectators. Nothing intervenes with it as the program is placed around the historical imprint into four distinct quadrangle enclosures.

Enclosure 1/ the main Museum Complex (Museum of Kings Castle, Museum of Rare Objects, Entrance Hall, Library) is inserted into the old castle courtyard. The articulation of space follows the anatomical theater typology and creates distinct room episodes for each function.

Enclosure 2/ the Performance Hall is placed at the north-west side of the excavation with access from Lenisky Prospect. It will host concerts and theater performances for up to 1500 persons

Enclosure 3/ the Administration zone occupies the southwest side at the junction of Leninsky and Moscovsky Prospekt. A ramp intersects the excavation trench and connects the offices with the museum complex.

Enclosure 4/ The commercial zone and the Active Corner frames the complex at the east side.


Public Space

The juxtaposition of the 4 Enclosures and the Excavation form 3 distinct types of public space.

a. The Esplanade/ The north wing of the castle trench, placed in between the museum complex and the performance hall creates a glazed, semi-covered public esplanade, with 5% slope leading to the excavation level, which connects the west part of the city with the House of Soviets.

b. Event Square/ The central public zone is placed at the north side, framed by Schevchenko Street, the Esplanade and Enclosures 1,2,4. A public staircase creates an amphitheatrical type space that joins the square with the covered esplanade. Both spaces form an urban unity that can be used for major city events, fairs and festivals.

c. Public Terraces/ The southern part is conceived as a large public terrace with views to the Kant island and the archeological park.


City form and Skyline: ‘Horizontal Monumentality’

The House of Soviets posed new rules in the perception of city’s portrait marking a departure from the needle form of the church towers that characterized the skyline of the old city. Due to the close vicinity of the new complex the design decided to respect the dominance of the House. Instead of creating an antagonistic, in mass and height, vertical structure, we proposed a strategy of Horizontal Monumentality. Only the partly reconstructed old tower interrupts the horizontal articulation of spaces.

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