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42 PROJECT REPORT: CULTURAL, CIVIC & FAITH BUILDINGS


AUDITORIUM


The combination of scale and vibrant colour in the auditorium is a dramatic contrast with other spaces © Thibaut Muller


takes on different characteristics as visitors approach, enter and then move through the spaces. “At first we have a seemingly solitary building, twinkling in the town. It hides contrasting inner worlds, the foyer designed as a spectacular and enveloping cocoon, and the colourful auditorium.” Coulon adds: “By leaving the gypsum


crude, and laying beige fabric on the floors, we obtained soft and homogenous textures that strengthen the enveloping feeling. Natural light is indirect (apart from via the top floor viewing window), with the natural-hued walls and soffits having a resulting variety of nuances of tone. There is little to interrupt the sculptural geometry of the foyer – in fact, Coulon characterises the area as “a giant sculpture in which users experience space in a striking way.” The reception desk is two stacked concrete oblongs in differing finishes and arranged at a deliberately oblique angle to each other. The seating is minimal although offering a point of vivid red – a hint of what is to come in the auditorium.


Throughout the open circulation spaces, the various diagonal shapes and oblique produced by the building’s internal forms offer a more dynamic impression than the more rectilinear and austere exterior. This is


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particularly effective in the lobby where the angular white stair and ramp enclosures appear to intertwine in the void above. This no doubt helps enhance visitors’ sense of anticipation for the performance they are about to witness, but a further, more surprising contrast awaits.


Due to its combination of scale and vibrant colour, entering the auditorium is a dramatic shift after the calm spaces preced- ing it. “All its strength and energy come from this deliberate break,” says Coulon. Arranged very close to each other, there are clashing shades of deep red and pink in the seating, upper circle, and on ceilings, and orange on walls – almost merging in places, and “giving density to the space.”


Conclusion


The architects rightly say that this new, fairly avant-garde theatre presents a strong symbol of a town facing the challenges it has to address, and embracing the potential for renewal. The building’s dynamic yet clean lines are intended to help lift its somewhat mundane surroundings and provide a sense of inspiration for the community. Its presence, allied to a diverse programme through the year, will hopefully prove to be a worthy example of the power of architecture to effect social change. 


ADF OCTOBER 2018


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