VAN AKEN participated in the competition and was selected with seven other (Russian) architects to submit a plan for the historical site in the center of Yekaterinburg.
The complex is located in the very heart of the historical part of the city. Next to the city lake, this place embodies the history of Yekaterinburg as the cultural capital of Urals, rich with precious metals and gemstones. The gold smelting factory was originally located on the plot.
The concept of hidden gem
VAN AKEN’s concept is both simple and daring. The existing buildings on the waterfront block the line of sight of the water to the former library. By cutting a portion of the existing buildings on the waterside road, the library is fully visible again! Then it is necessary for the inner area to remove all the older and smaller poor quality buildings. The main volume of the old library remains. The east wing is removed to give room for new development.
On the northwest side forms a new iconic building which is the new focal point for the area. The base connects to the existing bank building. Moreover, in a sloping line the main volume cantilevers as a shifted volume accent. The accent has a height of 19 layers and has a total height of 74,1 m. The southwest side of the block is redeveloped with a lower volume of 5 transparent layers. Together with the height accent these forms create a gateway to the old library.
Behind the old library, a new volume is placed which joins the scale of the street. The entrance to the underground car park is also located on the street side.
"Good suggestion from a Dutch company, VAN AKEN, to demolish a part of the facade and build high-rise. The solution is of very high quality, it would not spoil the city, but in contrast to European society, we are not yet ready for such decisions."