Schmidt Hammer Lassen complete dynamic theatre ‘that dares to be different’

Denmark's first newly built theatre in over a century has opened outside the capital Copenhagen as “a cultural dynamo for the entire region.”

Designed by architecture studio Schmidt Hammer Lasson, the 4,200sq m (45,200sq ft) Vendsyssel Theatre in Hjørring includes a music hall, a black box auditorium, a rehearsal hall and a 430-seat ‘in-the-round’ theatre.

The striking €23m (US25$m, £19.8m) complex is formed of a series of cubic blocks. They have warm rust-red corten steel facades that correspond with the surroundings during the day. At night, LED backed frosted glass panels illuminate in various colours to “create an aesthetic link between the town, the front plaza and the theatre building.”

The architects developed their design concept around five main themes: transparency, functionality, flexibility, materiality and the creation of an anchoring point for the town.

"It’s our ambition that the building will manifest itself as a new living organism in the cityscape," said studio founding partner John Foldbjerg Lassen. "It’s a building that stands by its cultural significance and which dares to be different without taking focus away from the town's existing qualities."

To reflect that culture “is as an opportunity and experience for all” the architects have created space for both scheduled and ad hoc events outside in the plaza, inside the foyer and on the grand staircase, “where visitors can choose to be spectators or even participate in the activities.” Inside, an open plan layout blurs the boundaries between publicly accessible areas and more traditional theatre functions.

"We've designed emphasis on the interaction between artists and spectators,” said Lassen. “Inside, all the major halls can be opened to the foyer, the use of glass and windows in different rooms creates visual connections and the performers can get a glimpse of the public from their lounge on the top level."

The studio are well known for their high-profile culture and leisure buildings. Forthcoming openings include “a new public centre” for the city of Stavanger, Norway; an art gallery and clubhouse built on the centre of a lake in southern China; and an extension to the ARos Aarhus Art Museum, which they are designing with the light artist James Turrell.

Schmidt Hammer Lasson  Vendsyssel Theatre  Hjørring  Copenhagen  Denmark  architecture  design 
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Denmark's first newly built theatre in over a century has opened outside the capital Copenhagen as “a cultural dynamo for the entire region.” Designed by architecture studio Schmidt Hammer Lasson, the 4,200sq m (45,200sq ft) Vendsyssel Theatre in Hjørring includes a music hall, a black box auditorium, a rehearsal hall and a 430-seat ‘in-the-round’ theatre. The striking €23m (US25$m, £19.8m) complex is formed of a series of cubic blocks. They
Vendsyssel Theatre includes a music hall, a black box auditorium, a rehearsal hall and a 430-seat ‘in-the-round’ theatre / Adam Mørk
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