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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

Theatre Spijkenisse in The Netherlands by UNStudio

December 19th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: UNStudio

The design for the Theatre Spijkenisse focuses on the placement and orientation of the building in the urban location, whilst simultaneously providing architectural solutions for programming needs and public access.

Traffic flows play an important role in the organisation of the building. Access routes to the theatre form an essential artery for the city, with the theatre providing a point of recognition for returning visitors and functioning as a visiting card for the city as a whole.

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

  • Architects: UNStudio
  • Project: Theatre Spijkenisse
  • Location: The Netherlands
  • Client: Municipality of Spijkenisse
  • Building surface: 5800m2 gross, 4500m2 net
  • Building volume: 42000m3
  • Building site: 3600m2
  • Programme: Theatre
  • Status: Under construction
  • Credits: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Gerard Loozekoot with Jacques van Wijk and Hans Kooij, Thomas Harms, Lars Nixdorff, Gustav Fagerstrom, Ramon van der Heijden Tatjana Gorbachewskaja, Jesca de Vries, Wesley Lanckriet, Maud van Hees, Benjamin Moore, Philipp Mecke and Daniela Hake

Image Courtesy © UNStudio


  • Engineer design phase: Arup, Amsterdam
  • Engineer execution: IOB, Hellevoetsluis
  • Advisor installations: De Blaay – Van den Boogaard, Rotterdam
  • Theatre technique: PB theateradviseurs, Uden
  • Acoustics: SCENA, Uden
  • Contractor: VORM Bouw, Papendrecht

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

The design for the theatre ensures that the building fits with its surroundings, with the geometry and use of colour reflecting the surroundings of Spijkenisse city centre.  The use of colour in the façade transforms gradually towards the main entrance of the theatre. The draping of the transparent façade over the two atria allows for only glimpses of the warm colours of the interior from the outside.

Inside the foyer the visibility of the two atria increases and visitors can experience the full theatrical effect of the wall treatments. The use of color, coupled with the geometry of the foyer, creates a pivotal point in the social functioning of the theatre. Vertically the foyer opens up towards a transparent roof, through which night skies can be seen. During day time, the sun creates an ever changing play of light through the perforations in the façade, both into the foyer and by fanning elements of the interior colour on to the square outside.

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

The placing of the programmes within the building aims for efficient routing through the theatre, coupled with a logical relationship to the surroundings. The design and placement of the various volumes make use of the natural variations in the levels of the site. The technical towers are located on the lowest points of the site, ensuring that these remain as low as possible and do not interrupt the views. The entry is placed at the highest point on the site, with the effect that room levels are kept as even as possible, whilst also facilitating use by disabled visitors who can enter the foyer via a short ramp.

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

The two main theatre spaces are positioned to receive the visitor flow directly from the foyer and the public square. In order to separate these flows, the changing room spaces are positioned above the square, creating a separate volume which efficiently separates the flows from the public spaces, whilst also providing an acoustic buffer between the foyer and the theatre halls.

From the foyer, a sculptural stairway forms the binding element towards the entrances to the theatre rooms. The volumes of the two performance spaces fold towards the central square of the foyer, making this the central point of the theatre.

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

Unique to the location is its connection with the water and the view to the nearby windmill, ‘Nooitgedacht’. The view to the surroundings is further illuminated by means of the transparent façade, whilst the theatre café is located adjacent to the water, forming the linking element between the foyer and the public square. The theatre café is designed as a third theatre in the form of an amphitheatre.

The placement of the various volumes results in a building in the form of a flower, with the central foyer forming the heart of the structure. The building volumes are rounded, so as to ensure as little wind disturbance to the nearby mill.

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

The choice of materials and use of the newest technologies ensures that the building has minimal effect on the environment, coupled with low maintenance costs. The design for the Theatre Spijkenisse  places sustainable design in a broader architectural context, where sustainability is incorporated intelligently into the building, but where architectural aims are not compromised and remain the focal point in the design.

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

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Category: Theater

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