The relationship with the surrounding buildings and the adjacent public square (‘the Parade’) forms the basis for the design of the Theater aan de Parade (Theatre on the Parade), with the massing of the building resulting in four shifting cubes protruding above the nearby treetops.
In order to cause as little hindrance as possible to immediate neighbours, the two auditoria are designed as enclosed volumes clad in natural stone, while the facades of the public spaces are constructed from glass, so that the theatre building and the public square seamlessly merge and visitors become part of the show. The main stairway with glass balustrades forms the heart of the vertical foyer, which extends over four levels and is 19 meters in height.
The four volumes of the theatre frame the views to include the nearby St. John’s Cathedral and the Parade Square. The volume housing the larger of the two auditoria is partially sunken below ground, thereby ensuring that the building remains low and that sightlines to the St. John’s Cathedral are maintained. A terrace on the third floor offers visitors further unobscured views of the city. The floor of the foyer runs level to the ‘Parade’, enabling the theatre to form a natural extension of the square. Guests can directly access the small auditorium via the theatre café. The floor of the main auditorium, slightly recessed below ground level, provides a natural buffer to noise hindrance for the immediate surroundings, while the smaller auditorium houses a flexible stage and retractable seating, enabling a variety of performance types. At the rear of the theatre, windows enable natural light to flood the the interior, however by means of treated glass, neighbours are contrastingly not hindered by light emanating from the building.
During public events on the Parade Square, such as the traditional annual carnival, the doors to the theatre café can be opened and the internal sliding wall moved, thereby connecting the small auditorium with the public space and leading guests directly into the heart of the theatre. Offices are located on the second and third floors. The third floor also houses the VIP foyer, which is adjacent to the terrace that enjoys views towards St. John’s cathedral.
The logistics for the theatre are carried out entirely underground by means of an innovative system that results in no inconvenience or interruption to the Parade Square. Trucks load and unload in the cellar, while goods are transported internally via elevators. The changing rooms and hospitality service spaces are also located in the cellar.
Theatre on the Parade
UNStudio Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Filippo Lodi, Jacques van Wijk and Crystal Tang, Alexander Kalachev, Hans Kooij, Michelle Gulickx, Nick Marks, Jingbo Yan, Meng Zhang