The Agora Theatre has a kaleidoscopic, upbeat character, expressed through its multi-faceted and colourful appearance. The different facade components provide constantly changing perspectives and shapes, an invitation to the world of the performing arts, where one can never be sure of what is real and what is not. On the north and west, glass openings connect the inside and outside worlds, while the east and south facades accentuate diagonal-shaped views. Through the building, drama and performance are not confined to the stage or the soirée, but rather extended to a 24–hour urban experience.
Inside, the colour intensifies; a curved pink ribbon cascades down the main staircase, curving over the open foyer on the first floor. From here, it extends up to the wall towards the skylight, changing colour all the while from violet to crimson, and from cherry to almost white, forming a contrast to the crimson coloured main auditorium. The intimate dimensions of the auditorium itself are emphasised by the horse-shoe shaped balcony and by the vibrant forms and shades of the acoustic panelling.
UNStudio’s design creates a multifunctional theatre that is flexible, transparent and intelligent. The envelope is generated in part by the necessity to place the two auditoriums as far apart from each other as possible for acoustic clarity. Thus, a larger and a smaller theatrical space, a stage tower, several interlinked and separate foyers, numerous dressing rooms, multifunctional rooms, a café and a restaurant are all brought together within one volume that extends dramatically in various directions. The vertical foyer, which swings through the entire building, connects different theatre and congress halls on the different floors.
Culture & Commerce
Can a building communicate with its community?Although the relationship between culture and commerce can often prioritise the former over the latter, we must recognise the many complex, hidden interdependencies between them in contemporary society. Rather than moments of dissension, we see them as opportunities. The many latent effects of cultural projects may not be obvious, but play a large role in reshaping cities
Theatre Agora is part of the master plan for Lelystad by Adriaan Geuze, which aims to revitalise the pragmatic, sober town centre. Through this lens, UNStudio aims to exploit the performative element of the theatre, and of architecture in general, far beyond its conventional function. We believe that architecture should encourage interaction between the architect, the object and the public. Thus, in the Theatre Agora, drama and performance are not restricted to the theatre, but reach out to enhance the liveliness of the city. Read about our ongoing explorations of this theme in the Culture & Commerce workfield.
Culture & Commerce
In the Culture & Commerce workfield we explore how these two seemingly opposing forces can successfully co-exist and collaborate in the same space. We dive into the worlds of fashion, cultural events, urban renewal projects, cultural institutions and legacy museums, in search of ways to turn potential conflicts of interests into moments of opportunity. When successfully implemented, these become locations where meaningful exchanges between culture and commerce can be applied in the built environment for mutual benefit.Read more
Concept and Design
- Vertical Foyer
- Main Auditorium