MASHABANE ROSE ASSOCIATES – architects & urban designers | LAAGER THEATRE

LAAGER THEATRE

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THE CLIENT OF THE LAAGER THEATRE IS THE MARKET THEATRE LOCATED IN NEWTOWN, JOHANNESBURG AND THE BRIEF WAS TO DESIGN A NEW THEATRE TO REPLACE THE OLD LAAGER THEATRE.

 THE BUILDING SITS IN A WEDGE BETWEEN TWO 100 YEAR OLD BUILDINGS AND SERVES AS A “BRIDGE” PHYSI­CALLY CONNECTING BOTH. THE IDEA OF “BRIDGING” IS A STRONG SPATIAL IDEA IN THE BUILDING ILLUSTRATED, FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE A CENTURY OLD PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE LANDS ON ITS FIRST FLOOR TERRACE. THE THEATRE CAN ALSO BE ACCESSED DIRECTLY FROM THE PUBLIC STREET, UNIQUE IN A VERY CRIME CONSCIOUS CITY.

 ONCE ENTERED THE BUILDING DOES NOT MIMIC OLD BRICK WALLS BUT RATHER CREATES A CONTEMPORARY CONTRAST OF CLEAN OFF-SHUTTER CONCRETE.

THE THEATRE BOX ITSELF IS EXPERIMENTAL ALLOWING FOR FIVE DIFFERENT STAGE CONFIGURATIONS. BACK OF HOUSE AREAS ARE FUNCTIONAL YET BLASTS OF COLOUR IN THE JOINERY REMIND THE USERS OF THE PLAYFULNESS OF PROGRAM.

 THE AREA OF NEWTOWN IS KNOWN FOR ITS VERNACULAR RED BRICK, THIS BRICK WAS MATCHED AND USED AS AN UNINTERRUPTED SKIN FOR THE BUILDING. AS THE ARCHITECTS, WE EXPLORED SUBTLE GESTURES OF PUSH AND PULL, TRYING TO SHOWCASE THE BEAUTY OF THE MATERIAL. THIS IS ESPECIALLY SEEN IN THE WINDOW DETAIL WHERE CILL, LINTEL AND EVEN BENCHES ARE FORMED JUST BY BRICK. THE WINDOWS THEMSELVES ARE RECESSED DEEP INTO THE REVEAL TO HELP WITH SHADING ON THE NORTH FACADE. THESE PUNCTUATIONS REVEAL A THICKNESS OF WALL THAT ADDS A FEELING OF SOLIDITY TO THE POSTURE OF THE BUILDING.

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