National Theater and Opera House
In this project for a national music performance facility, the traditional rules of composition and harmony were replaced by a mode of organization based not on "form follows function," “form follows form" or even “form follows fiction," but rather on breaking apart the conventional components of the theater and opera house in order to develop a new "tonality" or "sound." Instead of artful articulations among the auditorium, stage, foyer, or grand staircase, architectural pleasure was found in the parallel juxtaposition of indeterminate cultural meanings. more
The functional constraints of the building were extrapolated into a score of programmatic strips, each containing the main activities and related spaces in the following sequence:
1. A glass avenue that provides direct access from the subway, parking lot, and buses. Its mezzanines or theater lobbies offer a vertical spectacle, while its ground floor gathers together crowds that make use of different public services (box office, shops, bars, press office, reception areas, information, security and exhibition spaces). A restaurant is located between the glass avenue and the garden of the opera.
2. Vertical foyers that overlook the glass avenue and encompass coatrooms, box offices, bars or buffets, and suspended gardens. The border between the glass avenue and the vertical foyers is articulated by lighting for the avenue in the form of handrails, stairs, and so forth.
3. Auditoria acting as an acoustical strip, accommodating each audience in a minimum volume (thereby improving acoustical quality) with maximum visual access
4. The strip coinciding with the proscenium, acting as a central artery servicing the whole complex
5. The stages providing maximum flexibility and technical potential
6. The strip containing the backstage area, assembly hall, rehearsal spaces, and scenery workshops
7. The final strip serving artists and staff, containing dressing rooms and related spaces (which are organized along the balconies of a four-story artists' concourse, thereby avoiding the repetitiveness of corridors), as well as administrative offices that benefit from direct views of the opera garden
International Competition, 2nd prize, 1986
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Luca Merlini, Christian Biecher, Patrick Winters, Martyn Wiltshire, Alexandra Villegas