Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Masrah Al Qasba Theatre Emirate in Sharjah, UAE by Magma Architecture
September 28th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Magma Architecture
The Al Qasba is the main cultural centre and a landmark in the Emirate of Sharjah. It comprises two 150m-long, four-storey buildings that face each other on the banks of the Qasba Canal and house art galleries, shops, restaurants and office spaces. The buildings enclose open public space along the banks of the canal and are flanked by the 60m-high Eye of the Emirates ferris wheel, which is visible from afar. The 300-seat Al Qasba Theatre hosts a wide range of events including the annual Sharjah Film Festival, and theatre and poetry performances during the Sarjah Book Fair.
The theatre space, lobby and adjoining functional spaces were redesigned and reopened to the public in 2011. The design goal for the theatre was to create a continuous, undulating surfaces that wrapped around the interior space and formed landscape-like, double curvature enclosure. The fabric runs over ridges and canyons, concealing the previous ceiling and walls. It creates a calm and inviting atmosphere while simultaneously focusing the visitor’s attention on the stage.
The programmatic idea behind the form of the undulating surface is that none of the lights should be visible from the spectators’ seats. The lights are implemented into the angled surfaces facing the stage so that spectators cannot look directly into glaring lights when seated. Similarly to the way evening sunlight touches the tips of the dunes in the desert, thin slits of light appear on the surface ridges. When the lights are turned off, they fully disappear under the smooth, brown fabric.
Made out of a stretchable textile fabric, these ‘dunes’ cover the walls and ceiling of the theatre. Due to the porous nature of the textile, sound can travel through the fabric. In this wall all technical sound installations and acoustical insulation can be hidden behind the fabric. Minimal gaps between the fabric dunes provide space for ventilation, smoke detectors and cleaning lights. The stage and back walls are covered with parquet panels matching the colour of the auditorium, and the seats have been upholstered with the same earthen colour as the walls an ceiling in order to become part of the continuous space.
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