Black bricks provide contrast in red brick town
12/06/2015

News overview
It has taken almost a quarter of a century, but now the Shakespearean Theatre in the city of Gdansk (Poland) is open to the public. Architect Renato Rizzi (Italy) used black facing bricks and pavers. This is how he created a new shade and a contrast in the predominantly red brick town.
 
Treasure chest
On the outside of the theatre a pair of Gothic elements can be seen, which reflect the style of the old city centre. For the façade, the architect used a dark charcoal brick, the Morvan. The black colour represents strength and durability, and contrasts nicely with the brickwork of the surrounding buildings. The pavers around the building are of the exact same colour.
 
The inside of the theatre is different from what you would imagine. White walls, bright marble stairs and birch wood panelling brighten up the interior. The residents of the city compare the theatre to a treasure chest: solid and heavy on the outside, refined and polished on the inside.
 
Labyrinth
The layout of the building creates a multidimensional framework for the different types of activities: (theatre) performances, meetings, exhibitions or other events. The Shakespearean Theatre is not just a building, it is also a mirror of the city, a maze of narrow corridors (streets), squares (courtyards) and a complex world of different functions.
 
There are three ways to stage a performance: with an open roof (the Elizabethan style), the traditional setting (the audience is in front of the stage) and an arena layout (the scene is surrounded by the audience). The narrow corridors around the audience lead to a large lobby and an outdoor patio. This is where the audience can congregate in the interval. The outdoor roof terraces provide an attractive view that allows you to see the city in a different perspective.
 
Support
In the outer walls you can see beams in the brickwork. These absorb the load from the sunroof ('wings'). They reduce the weight of the walls and allow for structural optimization. The high wall hides the theatre's mechanisms and technical equipment.
 
The Shakespearean Theatre is an example of new architecture that is closely interwoven with tradition.
 

Project details:
Architect: Renato Rizzi
Local office: Q-Arch
City: Gdańsk, Poland
Area: 4000 m²
Brick: Morvan
Paver: Morvan
Year: 2014
Photography: Rafał Malko, Jakub Certowicz