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Flanagan Lawrence design innovative inflatable roof canopy for Polish park theatre

British architecture firm Flanagan Lawrence have won a design competition to renovate a 1970s Polish theatre with their vision for an “acoustically optimised outdoor performance space.”

The studio have proposed the installation of a curving roof canopy of inflatable panels, which will envelop the stage and auditorium of the 2,500-capacity outdoor Summer Theatre in the city of Szczecin’s Kasprowicza Park.

“The real inspiration from our point of view was to keep the profile of the new roof low, so that if you approach the theatre from the top of the hill you can see into the landscape beyond,” said lead architect Jason Flanagan in an exclusive interview with CLAD. “We want the building to hug the natural landscape and not block any of the view beyond.”

To achieve this, the edges of the roof follow the slope of the hill, before gently lifting over the audience.

Flanagan said the new roof will be structurally independent from the theatre’s existing concrete arch – designed in 1976 by Polish architect Zbigniew Abrahamowicz. It will be formed by a curved truss supporting a single cable net structure, which will in turn hold the inflated PVC panels and acoustic reflectors.

“What fascinated us was the opportunity to retain the current arch as a monument, while removing the clutter and creating a roof which has a long span but is very, very lightweight and structurally discrete,” said Flanagan.

“The other innovation we’ve introduced is to lift up the back of the roof and open up the view of the lake as a backdrop to the stage. This is enclosed by glazed screens which keep away the elements and provide acoustic reflections. Curtains can be drawn to screen the view when needed, but it's great for orchestral events.”

In addition to the roof structure, the studio have designed a new box office, café and refurbished backstage area for the theatre. All elements are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Arup Acoustics will provide consultation on the project and London engineering company Expedition will oversee construction. The project is estimated to cost PLN2m (US$4.9m, €4.5m, £3.4m) and is being funded by the city of Szczecin.

Flanagan Lawrence have developed a reputation for their flexible, acoustically-rich theatres. In 2012, they created a mobile performance shell called Soundform for London's Olympic Park. The project was designed to bring indoor quality acoustics to an outdoor stage by using technology allowing musicians to more clearly hear themselves and adapt their performance to suit the conditions.

Flanagan told CLAD a similar principle will be used on the Summer Theatre development to ensure excellent sound quality during performances.

Poland  theatre  architecture  design  roof  acoustics  Flanagan Lawrence 
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07 Jan 2016

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British architecture firm Flanagan Lawrence have won a design competition to renovate a 1970s Polish theatre with their vision for an “acoustically optimised outdoor performance space.” The studio have proposed the installation of a curving roof canopy of inflatable panels, which will envelop the stage and auditorium of the 2,500-capacity outdoor Summer Theatre in the city of Szczecin’s Kasprowicza Park. “The real inspiration from our point of view was to
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The renovation has been designed so that the building is integrated with the landscape / Flanagan Lawrence
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