Inside & outside Diamond Schmitt’s Mariinsky II

Mariinsky II,  the new home of the acclaimed Mariinsky opera, ballet and orchestra, in St. Petersburg, Russia, opened on May 2. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, it is one of the largest performing arts facilities in the world.

Located in the historic centre of St. Petersburg across the Kryukov Canal from the original Mariinsky Theatre (1860), the new opera/ballet house is a structure of authentic contemporary architecture that pays homage to its setting with a 21st-century sensibility. The state-of-the-art facility enables one of the world’s most prolific performing arts companies to dramatically enhance its repertoire and to create new works and innovative productions

“Mariinsky II embraces the themes and forms of St. Petersburg and contains a jewel of an auditorium that is based upon the successful configuration of past houses, and one in which the social aspects of attending opera or ballet performances have been enhanced for every member of the audience,” says Jack Diamond, principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects. The Toronto-based firm is well versed in theatre design, with major halls completed in Montreal, Washington, D.C. and Detroit – and won the international competition for Mariinsky II on the strength of its acclaimed Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

The 851,580-square-foot (79,115 sq m) facility fills an entire city block and consists of a masonry base of Jura limestone, large structural glass bay windows and a gently curved metal roof with a glass canopy to give a contemporary expression rooted in St. Petersburg’s architectural heritage. The design intent is to provide a frame for the original Mariinsky theatre from the streetscape and allow extensive views of the landmark neoclassical theatre from within Mariinsky II.

Early today, Diamond Schmitt sent us images taken by photographer Tim Griffith – and they are stunning. Enjoy! 


Diamond Schmitt Architects ( is among the world’s top ten design firms for the cultural building sector. An award-winning portfolio of opera houses, concert halls, galleries and libraries includes the recently completed Maison Symphonique in Montreal, the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, and Ryerson Image Centre and Daniels Spectrum in Toronto. The firm is also recognized for its portfolio of academic, research, healthcare, commercial and residential buildings that include the recently completed Bridgepoint Health and the Sick Children’s Hospital Research Tower in Toronto.

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