Restructuring of the Cologne Opera house and New Theater
Client: Bühnen Köln
1st prize International competition 2008 together with Chaix & Morel et Associés
Together with the protected opera house designed by Wilhelm Riphahn, the new playhouse creates an ensemble of equal partners. With the help of the compact, free-standing new volume and the opera house, finally freed of additions, two high-quality urban spaces are created at once. By orienting the main entrances of both the playhouse and the opera here, the reformulated Offenbachplatz (Offenbach Square) is reinforced in its function as an urban forum and a representative space. A new space, the Schauspielplatz, has been created to the side of the opera house. The new square creates a needed open space along the terraced long side of the opera house. The height of the playhouse orients itself on the size of the opera house’s stage towers. The theatre is organized in a tower-like fashion: The stages are stacked above one another inside the compact building frame. This creates a succession of spaces imbued with suggestive spatial relationships with varying horizontal and vertical visual groupings. The act of walking from the level of the square through the foyer and on to the theatre halls (main stage, children’s opera, and rehearsal stage) is in itself a prelude to the theatrical experience ahead.