Grand Théâtre de Provence

Grand Théâtre de Provence

Architect
Gregotti Associati International
Location
Aix-en-Provence, France | View Map
Project Year
2007
Category
Concert Halls

Provence

Gregotti Associati International as Architects

The winning project for the closed international competition for the new opera and concert theater in the city of Aix-en Provence, famous for its music festival, takes its initiative from the conditions laid out by Oriol Bohigas’ scheme for this urban area. This vast space is characterized by the major difference in quota resulting from the covering over of a railway that passes alongside it and the broad sloping green area on the opposite side, by the entry rotunda and the presence of new buildings that are fairly distant from one another. It was thus a large void characterized by a vast manmade landscape that, as a new center for urban expansion, could not be resolved with an isolated architectonic element. The architectonic response includes the design of the large open space and the inside and outside opportunities that it can provide for one of the most important musical activities in Europe. The full practicability of the roof system of the overlapping volumes creates a series of urban volumes on different levels that may be used as theater venues. All of the volumes make use of the difference in quota between the level of the rotunda (+568 feet), that of the railway shelter (+610 feet), and that where the pedestrian avenue leading towards Place De Gaulle and the Cours Mirabeau intersect with the figure of Mont St Victoire in the backdrop. This principle is highlighted by the use of a single material to clad the walls: stone covering with a superficial slate treatment, with the façades oriented in different directions to create a large mass, crowned by trees on the highest terrace to outline its practicability. The torsion of the curved volumes is intended to create a junction with the complexity of the road network, and also to highlight the exceptional quality of the public equipment and its connection to the city. The edifice is built along the perceptive and conceptual axis that reunites the theater with the historic city. This axis is highlighted by the two linear pedestrian ramps that make it possible to move among the levels of the volume which is also connected to the atrium of the round entrance plaza located at a quota of + 590 feet. Protected from wind and noise by closing the large metal 275 entrance gates and outfitted with a gate that may be set up as a stage connectable to the inside of the theater’s atrium, this 7,534.7 square feet space may be used as a second, outdoor theater. The terrace roofs provide a system of theater and music spaces available for special events and for producing a contemporary show.The theater’s atrium consists of adaptable spaces with different characteristics located at a level between the stalls and the dress circle of the theater. The 1,300-seat theater (900 in stalls and 400 on the narrow dress circle) was studied to provide an environment suitable, both in terms of acoustics and image, with a vast and diversified extension of theatrical and musical events, ranging from contemporary to chamber music, from opera to symphonies performed by large orchestras.


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