‘‘An intelligent, winning design with innovative vision, multifunctional, flexible and extremely sustainable’’. As the design by Van den Berg Groep and Henning Larsen Architects from Denmark for the main entrance of the new Emmen zoo and the Atlas Theatre or ‘World of Theatre and World of Encounter’ was called by the evaluation commission of the European Tender in 2012. The Atlas Theatre is a part of the Masterplan Emmen Center and is directly adjacent to the center of Emmen. Visitors can easily walk from the new center square to the entrance area of the park and theatre.
After seventy years the zoo had outgrown its capacity. The Emmen zoo has high ambitions and wants to set an example in terms of animal welfare and care for the environment. Also, the Emmen zoo wants to inspire a great audience in a unique way. A new park in a new location reflects these ambitions: Wildlands Adventure Zoo Emmen. The municipality of Emmen had big ambitions for the theatre and the entrance of the new zoo and commissioned the construction of the Atlas Theatre. The building has become a striking monument in the Emmen skyline; an informal and lively meeting point that designates the transition between town and zoo.
A theatrical window to the magical zoo world Van den Berg Groep designed the building in such a way that it seems that the building is placed in a big frame. The frame functions as a theatrical window to the magical zoo world and, at the same time, it forms a protective urban space as social meeting point. The theatre has an auditorium with 800 seats and a room with 300 seats or 1.000 standing places. Also, there are a lot of different congress facilities, several catering facilities like a themed restaurant, a theatre café and an à la carte restaurant, as well as the offices for the staff of the zoo.
Greenest and most transparent theatre in the Netherlands An extraordinary part of the building is the arched roof. It folds in different curves over the building, culminating in the theatre. The roof and side-facing facades are overgrown with herbs and grasses and form a sort of lifted, green landscape. The other facades of the building are the opposite: completely transparent. Those elements make the building the greenest, but also the most transparent theatre in the Netherlands! The transparent façade of the theatre consists of over a thousand façade elements. Kawneer delivered the profiles for the 3.300 square meter big aluminum AA 100 Q curtain wall, that meet the requirements set in the preliminary stages. The standard RT 62 windows and doors were used as well, the versatility of these windows and doors made them ideal to apply in the façade. Rollecate, customer of Kawneer, fabricated and installed the curtain wall.
Collaborations Kawneer was approached by Van den Berg Groep in the preliminary stages with the design to be realized. There were a few requirements that had to be taken into account, like the fact that large glass panes had to be possible in the curtain wall and that the required thermal insulation value had to be met. The façade had to be fire rated and a good transition between a cold and a warm construction in the curtain wall needed to be constructed.
Rollecate too, was active in the preliminary stages with contractor Dura Vermeer reviewing the façade construction and specific connections to the arched roof. Bert Eijlander from Rollecate says it was about a unique combination of the steel construction in combination with deviating anchorages, segmentation and contortions in the façade surface. Besides that, three different colors glazing in twelve different combinations were applied. ‘’The façade consists entirely out of unique parts, that made it fairly complex.’’
Jonkman Coating, a company that meets the VMRG quality standards for coating, powdercoated the Kawneer profiles. ‘’We have been the main supplier for powdercoatings of Kawneer to full satisfaction for years’’, says Gerald Oude Nijhuis from Jonkman Coating. ‘For the Atlas Theatre, we have, over a period of about nine months, lacquered 3.000 lengths of profiles in a two-layer system in multiple colors. That was mainly the Kawneer AA 100 Q series: bigger and heavier profiles than your usual window and door profiles.’’
Curtain wall AA 100 Q Rollecate tried to use the standard façade system AA 100 Q from Kawneer as much as possible, despite the variety of design of the façade and because of the high time pressure. The AA 100 Q system allows large glass panes in the façade and with this system the desired thermal insulation value could be reached. The product is fire rated and a good transition between a cold and a warm construction in the curtain wall could be constructed. Eijlander explains: ‘’We had to achieve certain strengths from the facade system which required deeper mullions and transoms. That’s why our choice fell on the AA 100 Q system from Kawneer; a standard system that can apply these bigger strengths. The system is applied uniformly, even on the non-insulated curtain wall. Here, less deep mullions and transoms are applied.’’
AA 100 Q performances and features The AA 100 Q is an insulated aluminum curtain wall system, easy in setup and assembly and it offers unlimited combinations options. Within the AA 100 Q system several design options are possible, like standard, structural, semi-structural and picture-frame. To adjust the design entirely to your own wishes a number of cover caps can be chosen. Because of the modular build it is a flexible system that can be combined with other Kawneer systems.
The fire rated option of the AA 100 Q is the AA 100 FR: a system with expanded fire resistant capabilities. The AA 100 FR has a EI30 certification, both inside to outside and vice versa. Higher floor spans are possible up until 5,5 meters and no special fire resistant rubbers are necessary anymore, instead standard rubbers are used. The glass dimensions are increased to 3030 mm high and 2700 mm wide, with a maximum distance between floors of 5577 mm. The AA 100 FR can apply a glass thickness of maximum 50 mm. For the AA 100 Q the AR 90 or AR 100 program can be used to contribute to a maximum amount of recycled aluminum in the construction chain.
An impressive sight With the three shades of glass in the façade and the roof that curves over the building and around the façade, the new Atlas Theatre is an impressive sight. Such an extraordinary sight, and still made with standard systems. That this much variety is possible with a standard system shows the versatility of Kawneer products. The AA 100 Q curtain wall and the RT 62 windows and doors were the best choice for the theatre. The opening of the World of Encounter, together with Wildlands Adventure Zoo Emmen was on March 25th 2016. The theatre opened her doors in October 2016.