28.02.2009

Theatre in Nijar

Nijar is a small Andalusian town near Almeria. Its Arab history is still evident in the steep, winding lanes and the white, mostly single-storey houses with patios and internal spaces that are decorated with coloured tiling in many cases. The architects won the ideas competition for the new theatre as early as 1998. It is situated on the edge of the town at the foot of a hill. Only on the lowest floor are the layouts of the two offset volumes linked. At this level, there is an exhibition space for modern art and one for installations. (The brief called for an exhibition pavilion, which the architects transformed into the base for their theatre.) On the floor above, access is provided via a partly covered patio either to that section of the building that houses music studios and a broad balcony, or to the stage door. The main entrance for theatregoers is one floor higher: the foyer is reached via a ramp. Through the scarcely perceptible storey-height glazing one can see the white houses of the town opposite. In contrast to the somewhat technical-looking facade of expanded-metal mesh, which seems to shimmer in the heat of Andalusia, the internal spaces have an almost homely quality, with wooden floors, green ceilings, and red, yellow and orange-coloured walls. In the evening, when the lights are turned on, this radiant play of colours is evident outside, too, and is reminiscent of the colourful courtyards of former times.
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