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ONZ Architects and Ercan Coban Architects design a topographical cultural complex in Kaliningrad

Russia Architecture News - Oct 26, 2015 - 16:56   9646 views

perspective view, main entrance to performance hall & library

all images © ONZ Architects & EC Architects

ONZ Architects and Ercan Coban Architects design a perfect sculptural cultural complex for the international competition of the architectural design of the governmental historic and cultural complex. The project is called ''Rising Over The Traces Of History'' and according to the studio' design approach, with the idea of the Köningsberg Castle being a historical value that should be preserved, the project is a perfect representation of the past meeting the contemporary. The design protects the castle walls and integrates them into the daily life of the complex with platforms designed within the historical courtyard, recreating a new topography for its new functions. The museum and exhibition spaces are located here, rendering the castle walls as a part of the exhibition, reflecting the traces of history. The revitalization of the history and the ever-changing relationships with the castle walls through different levels of the platforms provide an enriched experience for the visitors.

the whole setting in the context

Rising over the historical Köningsberg courtyard, the white box located above the platforms housing the conference center, the library, mediatheque and the restaurant provides a new landmark for the city of Kaliningrad with its dynamic form. This dynamism is also reflected inside of the mass with open spaces on different levels flowing into each other. None of the main functions are contained within four walls, creating a spacious and flexible interior.

panoramic view from the river

The programmatic division enables the spaces that require less light such as museum and exhibition spaces to be located in the historical courtyard, and flexibility requiring spaces to be housed above ground on the artificial landscape of the white box. Some administrative units are placed in House of Soviets.

perspective view, entrance to the courtyard from the park  

The main approach to the site is through the Archeological Park on the south edge. Only on this edge the castle walls are removed to grant a more welcoming entrance. The condition of the south walls of the castle is also reported to be instable. Here on the main entrance the curvature of the topography mirrors the bottom form of the landmark building defined by the natural slope of the conference center. This eye shaped opening highlights the entrance creating a more spacious perception and instinctively invites the visitors inside.

perspective view, building into the nature

From the same level visitors can get connected to the north edge of the complex and the main square on the north of House of Soviets connecting to the Prud Nizhny. The 2018 Fan-Zone is located on the north edge of the Köningsberg Castle which is accessible also from this same level. Thus the platforms serve as a pedestrian friendly open space connecting the upper city to the lower city. The entrance for the upper mass is provided through the ramp originating from the square on the north of House of Soviets and from the vertical circulation cores through the courtyard as well. The service entrance for the museum is through the west edge of the site. The service spaces are solved in-between the castle walls without disturbing the main activity spaces.

perspective view, performance & multipupose hall 

The landscaping of the site is designed so that the green texture coming from the adjacent park infiltrates right into the historical courtyard. The tall birch trees in the courtyard mask the columns of the upper mass creating a perception for this massive white box as if it is floating on trees.

perspective view, main foyer

The white landmark building is rotated on purpose on the northeast-southwest direction to orient the building to the square on the north of House of Soviets, the Fan-Zone and the Archeological Park on the south. This orientation also enables to break the dominant axis created by the House of Soviets providing a more spacious perception of the site. The horizontal openings on the façade create a homogenous appearance from afar yet provide wide vistas to the city, Prud Nizhny and the Pregolya River.

perspective view, main foyer

diagram of concept scheme

concept schemes

concept schemes

site plan also covers a vast scale of green area


exploded axonometric view

exploded axonometric view of functions


exploded axonometric view of functions


exploded axonometric view of functions in topography

axonometric view of the mass + topography

plan level-1

ground floor plan

plan, performance hall & library

section a-a

section b-b 

facade detail

Project Facts

Design Team: Ercan Çoban, Onat Öktem, Ekin Çoban Turhan, Zeynep Öktem, Ece Durmaz

Project Team: Figen Yücel, Nilüfer Yaşacan, Esat Can Meker, Alper Karesioğlu, Eren Güney

> via ONZ ArchitectsErcan Coban Architects