Dominik Perro

Dominik Perro

French architect who won the competition to design the new building of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.
Country: France

Biography of Dominique Perrault

Dominique Perrault, a French architect, was born in 1953 in the city of Clermont-Ferrand. He graduated from the architecture department of the Parisian National School of Fine Arts in 1978 and received a diploma in urban planning from the oldest engineering university in France, the National School of Bridges and Roads, in 1979. In 1980, Perrault obtained a degree in history from the Higher School of Social Sciences.

In 1981, Perrault opened his own architectural firm in Paris. Two years later, he became the winner of the national program to support young architects, PAN XII. In 1984, he won a prestigious competition for the project of a new building for the Higher School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering in the suburbs of Paris, Marne-la-Vallee. In 1989, he achieved victory in the competition for the project of the new National Library of France, which opened in 1995. In 1992, Perrault was given the opportunity to develop the projects for the Olympic velodrome and swimming pool in Berlin. From that time, Perrault became one of the most in-demand architects in the world.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Perrault won competitions for the construction of the Olympic tennis court in Madrid, the "Habitat" hotel in Barcelona, the media library in Venissieux (France), and other projects in Europe and Asia.

Dominique Perrault is a member of the French Academy of Architecture, a Knight of the Legion of Honor, an honorary member of the Association of German Architects, and an honorary member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has been awarded the national architectural prize of France (1993), the Mies van der Rohe Award (1997), and the World Architecture Award (2001).

In 2003, Perrault won a competition announced by the Russian government for the project of a new building for the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. His radical and high-tech concept of the "golden cocoon" was recognized as the best. The construction of the second stage, according to Perrault's calculations, was supposed to take at least three years: one year for the foundation, one year for the framework, and one year for the stage and acoustic equipment. The project budget was estimated at 200 million euros, and the new building was supposed to open in 2008-2009.

However, in 2004, Perrault was offered only the right to supervise the construction, while the working design was to be transferred to a Russian institution. A competition was announced for "the development of design and estimate documentation for the project stage" for the second stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. Perrault threatened to terminate the contract, and the conflict had to be resolved by Mikhail Shvydkoi, the head of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography. In order to bypass the difficulties with licensing the activities of a foreign architectural bureau, Dominique Perrault was allowed to open a Russian office. After a series of negotiations, the competition for the working design was canceled, which led to the resignation of Andrei Kruzhilin, the head of the Northwest Directorate for Construction, Reconstruction, and Restoration of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (NWDC). Valery Gutovsky, the first deputy general director of OJSC "Petersburgstroy Skanska," was appointed to his position at the suggestion of Governor Valentina Matviyenko. The start of the zero cycle of work on the construction of the new stage was postponed twice due to claims from the Chief State Expertise to the project. In early 2006, Perrault was offered to lower the height of the object and reduce its volume. The revised project was again rejected by the State Expertise. In August 2006, rumors of a possible change of architect appeared, and the overall situation with Mariinsky-2 was considered crisis-ridden. It was also discovered that the construction estimate had increased to 220 million euros. The next round of project coordination ended in December 2006 with another defeat for Perrault: his documents were returned with a requirement to revise them by March 2007. This time, the architect seriously doubted whether his project was still needed by the city. Valery Gergiev, the artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, countered Perrault's concerns by stating that the architect "needs to understand that in Russia, he cannot work as he is used to in Paris."

On January 18, 2007, a decision was made in St. Petersburg to announce a tender for the revision of the project for the new stage. Dominique Perrault practically agreed to retain only the right to author's supervision, which was first offered to him back in 2003. The announcement of the tender results was scheduled for February 15, 2007. On January 26, 2007, the contract for the construction of the second stage of the Mariinsky Theatre between the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Northwest Directorate for Construction, Reconstruction, and Restoration" and Dominique Perrault's bureau was terminated by mutual agreement. In practice, this meant that the architect finally agreed to supervise the construction of the new building, while technical control would be assigned to another construction organization.