Erick van Egeraat has been awarded the Russian Best Building Award for his asymmetrical Chess Club Building in the oil boom town of Khanty-Mansiysk. Completed exactly one year ago in preparation for the 2010 Chess Olympics, the sparkling volume was designed as a direct comparison to a professional chess player: “Motionless on the outside, but with great internal struggle to beat the opponent.”
In contrast to the stainless steel shingle clad façade, the interior of the Chess Club Building is warm and welcoming, predominantly decorated with wood and glass panels. The concept centres on a double-height playing hall with much focus on the acoustic aspects of the design to enable a completely silent competition environment.
Many of van Egeraat’s completed projects have been large-scale, complex facilities, however this 5,000 sq m volume is modest in both size and architectural design. The architect explains: “This tiny building is a little icon but it symbolises the continuous development of this unique city in the centre of Eurasia.” The municipality of Khanty-Mansiysk invited van Egeraat to conceptualise a building for the 2010 Chess Olympics and worked closely with the architect and benefactor Gazprom throughout the design process.
The Chess Club Building is located on a growing development opposite a popular public park, with plans for an International Boxing Training School in the works and a Billiard Club currently under development. van Egeraat’s orthogonal volume is only the beginning for this prosperous site and, as the jurors of the Russian Best Building Award concluded: “Erick van Egeraat’s Chess Club Building is an enchanting architectural work which adds quality to the Khanty-Mansiysk region and beyond. It is an example for the architectural potential Russia has to offer in the years to come.”