Vox Populi: Netherlands municipality turns to public vote to select design for new theater

UNStudio’s Theatre on the Parade received nearly three-fifths of votes cast in contest between two finalists.

July 27, 2015 |
Vox Populi: Netherlands municipality turns to public vote to select design for new theater

The design, called Theater on the Parade, received 57% of 2,681 votes cast online, beating out Rotterdam-based Ector Hoogstad Architects’ more classical, brick-structured proposal. Renderings courtesy UNStudio

Residents of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a municipality in the southern Netherlands, voted in favor of Amsterdam-based UNStudio’s design proposal for a new theater that will replace an existing, 1970s-era theater in Den Bosch, the colloquial name of this 141,000-person city.

The design, called Theater on the Parade, received 57% of 2,681 votes cast online, beating out Rotterdam-based Ector Hoogstad Architects’ more classical, brick-structured proposal. (The city also surveyed 5,000 residents.) The public’s vote, which was open to all local residents over 12 years old and ran through June 7, counted toward 50% of the municipality’s final decision.

The two finalists had been selected by a panel of judges.

UNStudio’s design for the 10,731-sm (115,500-sf) building integrates the theater’s four separate but connected volumes into its adjacent surroundings, which include a public square and St. John’s Cathedral. ArchDaily reports that the theater’s two auditoriums will feature natural stone facades, while the four-level, 19-meter-high public foyers will be wrapped in glass so the entire building becomes a natural extension of the square. The larger auditorium will be sunken slightly so as not to obscure the sightlines of the cathedral.

“Ideas surrounding sensation and cultural expression form the conceptual basis of the design,” explained Ben van Berkel, Founder and Principal of UNStudio.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017, and the project is scheduled for completion by 2020. No cost estimates were released.

The larger auditorium will seat 950 and is designed with walls covered with wooden lamellas for enhanced acoustics. The smaller, 420-seat auditorium, called Paradezaal, will be a flexible space and retractable seating to accommodate different kinds of events. 

 

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