The Theater Art Studio
Designed with John McAslan + Partners /Casson Mann
The Theater Art Studio is located at the site of the Stanislavski factory, an ever-expanding complex of multipurpose post-industrial buildings located just outside the Moscow Garden Ring, near Taganskaya square – one of the oldest centers of Moscow.
The site was formerly used as an electrical wire production facility owned by the Alekseev family. The earliest building dates back to the 1860s. In one of those parts of this complex a small factory theater was built. It was the place where Constantin Sergeevitch Alekseev, better known as Constantin Stanislavski started to work on his theatrical “system”.
Art and Industrial
After the transformation the theater shared the fate of most industrial buildings in the center of Moscow – closure, decay and finally redevelopment. The Stanislavski theater site was approached with care and respect. The jewel in this space is undoubtedly the theater. The fine brick decoration of the façade walls can be appreciated while strolling upon the plaza in front of the entrance. Its link with the industrial past remains – iron flooring, rough brick with iron accents and the dark wood paneling of the door. Special attention was paid to the lighting and electrical fixtures, which evoke the aura of its industrial past.
Although the building is packed with modern engineering systems, all signs of the systems’ existence were designed out-of-view and the attention of visitors. It has become an experience in itself to await the start of a theatrical play by Studia Teatralnogo Iskustva.
The spirit of the industrial space is created by authentic brick cladding from the 19th century (it was plastered in white), Monie vaults (ceiling arches) in the foyer and the auditorium. In addition, the copper conduits and ventilation system were saved. The main stage was rebuilt exactly as it was created by Stanislavsky, it was done in dark colors, so when the plays are going on, everything is dark, except the stage.
There are furrows on the two walls – these are trails of the old roof that was built into those walls. These signs of the history of the theater was important for us to protect. The building of the theater makes its own unique impression, and it shows a dedicated treatment to its distinctiveness as an architectural masterpiece.