By Leah Linhares
Photography: Courtesy Flanagan Lawrence
Award winning design-led practice Flanagan Lawrence wins international competition to restyle the Summer Theatre in Szczecin, Poland.
Located in Kasprowicza Park and originally designed by Zbigniew Abrahamowicz, the 1976-styled theatre will be redesigned as an acoustically optimised outdoor performance space by the London based firm.
The design brief was simple: to maximise the flexibility of the theatre for a variety of performances on the stage and to add a new roof that would shelter both, the stage and the audience.
Contrary to the current design of the theatre comprising a criss-cross roof and an open auditorium, Flanagan Lawrence architects have devised a proposal, whereby the underside of the roof, which covers the stage and front auditorium, will enhance and project the natural acoustics of the orchestral events.
In order to pull this off, the roof is designed to be structurally independent of the existing concrete arch and is formed by a curved truss, which serves as the edge beam to a single cable net structure. This net structure will support a series of inflated fabric roof panels and suspended acoustic reflectors, whilst two additional trusses will span the stage to support the load of the lighting grid.
This proposal offers an elegant double-curved roof shape that will follow the natural slope of the amphitheatre on the existing hillside, retaining the views across the park and then will dramatically lift over the main stage providing the necessary height for the performance area. The rear of the stage will be acoustically treated by way of curved glazed screens offering picturesque views of the Rusalka Lake, simultaneously creating a scenic backdrop to performances.
This refurbishment proposal will also upgrade the 2,500 seat structure with additional facilities including a box office, bathrooms, a café and a refurbished backstage area. The project is set to be completed in 2018.