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Museum and Theater Complex

Kemerovo, Russia


Coop Himmelb(l)au

Coop Himmelb(l)au

Architecture Office





44466 m²







Project Type:

Museum and Theater Complex

Post Type:





the architects


The Museum and Theater Complex will create a new cultural hot spot and will become an architectural landmark in the cityscape of Kemerovo.

The building is situated on an artificially raised terrain, between the city and the Iskitimka river. The exposed location of the site allows for all-around visibility, thus making the building very present in the urban setting. It comprises four parts: the arts center, the museum towers, the opera, and the open lounge part hanging from the three main volumes. Together with the future embankment development, the opera will be connected with a spacious network of public promenades and squares.

The new cultural hub in Kemerovo is an open and transparent structure, a publicly accessible sculpture for visitors and residents of Kemerovo.

The design of the museum and Theater Complex is reflecting not only the promising modern future of Kemerovo, the administrative center of the Kuzbass region, but also its tradition as an important industrial city. The formal language of the project combines the rational structure and organization of a modern opera house and museum typology, with the floating spaces of modernist architecture. Its design enables the cultural venue to serve various events simultaneously, with a total amount of 2.282 seats at its full capacity.

The building integrates itself confidently into the surroundings, and forms, thanks to its functionally differentiated building parts, a recognizable ensemble: A graceful, flying theatre Cloud, Crystal shaped bodies containing a museum, an art center, and a public restaurant embrace the public 24h Foyer.

24H Foyer

The public space of the complex, called the 24H Foyer, is generously glazed towards the outside and offers spectacular views of the surroundings. Not only does it distribute the visitors to the different functions, but it also acts as a new meeting point for the city. The exhibitions and various events organized in the foyer, as well as its restaurant, will add to the cultural life of Kemerovo.


The heart of the project is located in the center of the building: the opera, including a 959 seats auditorium, a stage tower and back-of-house areas. The additional functions, such as offices, VIP rooms and rehearsal rooms, are arranged behind the stage tower. These opera-related parts of the building are spanned by a cloud-shaped shell.


Framing the entrance to the foyer and opposite the Cloud are 3 crystal-shaped objects housing the museum, the art center and the restaurant. The museum and the art center have their own atriums accessible from the 24H Foyer. The restaurant is hovering above the center of the foyer, offering spectacular views to the outside and into the foyer.


The base of the building rises from the landscape like a flat-top mount on which the opera cloud hovers. It houses the small theater as well as service areas such as the back of the house and the theater workshops. The large staircase located in the foyer leads to the top of the plinth extended by several terraces looking towards the riverbed and where one can linger at any time of the day. These are also accessible via exterior stairs.

Energy efficiency

Kemerovo has an extreme climate with warm summers and extremely cold winters. The average yearly temperature is 0°C. With an average temperature of ‑18°C in January, buildings must be highly insulated and efficient. The fact that three users share the cultural complex makes for efficient use of space, HVAC systems and sharing of public spaces. The shape of the building and cantilevers provide areas protected from sun, snow and rain. The omnipresence of concrete in the façade, a material that has a very high thermal inertia, optimizes the insulation of the complex. Locally-sourced materials are also incorporated into the design.

Published on

October 3, 2023



ZHIG creator


Coop Himmelb(l)au

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