Illustrations: Courtesy UNStudio
UNStudio’s have just won the proposal to design ‘Theatre on the Parade’ - a dynamic massing of volumes that appear to animatedly look up to Den Bosch’s iconic St. John’s Cathedral…
Den Bosch, a historic fortified city in Holland is known for the St. John’s Cathedral. The Theatre on the Parade located in the heart of Den Bosch, adjacent to a large and lively public square - the Parade and close to the Cathedral is proposed as a cultural expression of the city and is architecturally modelled as one too.
The architect’s team has worked on a massing of the building that is at once simple and multiple; where the composition of the volumes thwarts expectations of alignment and order, thereby arresting the gaze and accentuating perceptions of volumetric and spatial arrangements. The composition of offset yet interrelated and connected parts thus avoids an image of seamless fusion; instead, alluding to the dynamics and drama of the theatre experience.
The relationship with the surrounding buildings and the adjacent public square is an essential consideration in the design. In order to cause as little hindrance as possible to immediate neighbours, the two auditoria – 950 seater and 420 seater - are designed as enclosed volumes clad in natural stone, and partially sunken below ground, thereby ensuring that the building remains low and that sightlines to the Cathedral are maintained. The facades of the public spaces are constructed from glass, so that the theatre building and the public square seamlessly merge and visitors become part of the show.
Highlights of the design include: a central column-free main stairway with glass balustrades forms the heart of the vertical foyer, which extends over four levels and is 19 meters in height; flexible stage and retractable seating that facilitate a variety of performance types: from intimate theatre pieces to celebratory events and shows, which can use the complete space without seating; internal sliding wall that can connect the small auditorium with the public space, at will and a terrace on the third floor that offers unrestricted views of the city.
Acoustically, the walls of the main auditorium are clad with wooden lamellas, while the floor - slightly recessed below ground level - provides a natural buffer to noise hindrance for the immediate surroundings; this facilitates a number of events taking place simultaneously. Optimizing on space, all logistics for the theatre are carried out entirely underground by means of an innovative system that operates from the cellar.
Start of construction on this project is scheduled for 2017 and the new theatre is expected to be realized in 2020.