Compiled by TeamIAnD
Photography: Courtesy gmp
The new rehearsal building for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein ballet company in Düsseldorf opened earlier this September 2015 is an exceptional articulation of succinct building design with restrained gesture…
Located on the historic industrial site of the former Rheinbahn depot “am Steinberg” in Düsseldorf, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein ballet is designed by Hamburg architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp).
Located between the listed historic tramway depot and housing along Kopernikusstrasse, the compact building provides ideal conditions for rehearsal. The Oper’s approx. 50 professional dancers and the ballet school’s 55 students have at their disposal two ballet rooms with full-size stage dimensions, three smaller practice rooms as well as changing rooms, rest rooms, a physiotherapy room and an apartment for guest artists.
While the architectural expression of the new building is distinctly different from the heterogeneous backdrop created by the houses, giving the place a succinct appearance, the building volume – which recedes towards the south – creates a balance between the adjacent historic Rheinbahn depot and the twelve-meter high block with the stacked ballet rooms to the north. The architectural style and the associated materials and colour scheme make deliberate reference to the industrial character of the place, giving the building its workshop and atelier ambience.
The building consists of the stacked, double-height ballet rooms and the associated functional areas arranged on three floors. The conspicuous cantilever of the western façade highlights the building’s access, where the glass façade of a two-story foyer defines the entrance area, and differentiates it from the fair-faced concrete façade of the building. The foyer and the canteen welcome the visitor with generous access space, from where circulation areas lead through the building on all floors. The ballet rooms are accessed via generous entrance areas on the first and third floors, thereby avoiding any disturbance to the ongoing dance rehearsals in front of mirrored walls.
As an experimental and creative space, the building stands sans any embellishments without a prominent colour scheme; an approach that is sustained in the interior – colour and materials are deliberately restrained and the walls are left in fair-faced concrete.