Royal Denmark Theater

Location
Copenhagen, Demark
Date
Jan. 5, 2002
Credit
Yazdani Studio

Royal Denmark Theater

Royal Denmark Theater

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  • Copenhagen, Demark

    The Royal Theater of Denmark seeks to revitalize the waterfront and integrate it into the historic fabric of the city. Its location – facing the new opera house across the water, but not encroaching on the existing pier – energizes the development of a waterfront park and leaves space for an outdoor theater. It celebrates the theater as a civic monument by occupying the block with a single form whose innovative glazing system gives the building a character simultaneously monolithic and gauzy.

    An outdoor public plaza replaces a grand street-level lobby as the theater’s ceremonial entrance. From there, a series of escalators sweeps theatergoers through a gap between two wedges of the building, angled to create a visual connection with the new opera house. The main public gathering space is upstairs, seemingly hovering above the water, adjoined by a smaller café space that dips back down towards the plaza level. In plan, the building’s two theaters are orthogonally arranged, but volumetrically their relationship is abstracted, giving the building its distinctive swooping curves. A glass and perforated metal skin reveals the activity within the building to the street, at varying levels of transparency – like a theater’s scrim.

    The building’s dramatic forms and ethereal glazing contrast with the historic urban backdrop, reinforcing it as a civic landmark. But it also becomes a commentary on the role of arts in the city: the theater is designed as a series of spatial events, so that the experience of moving through it is theatrical, even before one reaches the performance space itself. By choreographing this transition from city to stage, the building encourages reflection on the classic notion of the art informing life, and life informing art.

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