Space to Play - Developments and Trends in Theatre Architecture

Unlike museum construction, theatre architecture led something of a wallflower existence for a long time. Since Aldo Rossi’s floating ‘Teatro del Mondo’, which was presented in 1980 at the first Architecture Biennale in Venice, certain projects have provided rays of hope, though, including the Aalto Theatre in Essen, Germany, the colourful conglomerate of Rem Koolhaas’ Nederlands Dans Theater in The Hague and the spectacular opera reconstructions of Jean Nouvel in Lyon and Mario Botta in Milan. Since the late 1990s, concert halls such as Nouvel’s KKL in Lucerne and Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles have become symbols of a tentative new wave in theatre architecture. To compensate the limited creativity in the theatre hall, the architects of today are increasingly turning their attention to the foyer and the external forms, always hoping to create architectural landmarks. Especially popular at the moment are sculptural megastructures, which envelope even the stage tower – once the identifying mark of a theatre. Whether this will mean that theatre constructions can become landmark figures in a city’s makeup again, remains to be seen. Today, it would be preferable if the most visionary of these architects could once again team up with construction artists to search for new spatial solutions for the contemporary music, dance and play theatre.
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