NOAHH | Network Oriented Architecture has designed the prestigious new Theater aan de Parade as an expressive, multifunctional building that draws on state-of-the-art practices to create a social space that works in perfect synergy with its surroundings. The new theatre will replace the existing 1976 building and is expected to open its doors to the public at the start of the 2023/2024 theatre season.
Since ancient times, theatres have brought people together and have played an important role in everyday life. NOAHH believes that theatres hold a vital social function – providing meaning and connection through even the most unsettling times.
NOAHH has designed the Theater aan de Parade as an enriching, timeless cultural hub that will go far beyond hosting performances for theatre lovers. Instead our forward-looking architects have designed a third place where people will be able to connect with one another and enjoy a wide range of cultural and leisure activities. It is a multifunctional theatre built for the future and can be easily adapted to changes in the performing arts and innovations in staging.
The theatre does not end at the facade but instead enters into a dialogue with its surroundings. Transparent glass fronts create a natural transition from the public surroundings to the interior of the building. An inviting theatre café and a botanical outdoor foyer connect the building to the Parade – the main square of Den Bosch – and offer a beautiful view of the Bossche Broek nature reserve. The building is open across the entire width at ground level, allowing a seamless shift for visitors moving between spaces.
The design concept of the building is to bring together two unique halls, each with its own identity, aesthetics and programming, under one roof. The characteristic curved rooftops provide both halls with recognisable silhouettes. This expressive ensemble of halls – the intimate, elegant Theatre Hall, and the flexible, modern Parade Hall – connects to a large central space in the building. The foyers, the theatre café, the botanical foyer and the roof terrace are all connected to this central space.
This is an essential aspect of the design: not only does this space provide light and air in the heart of the building, it also stimulates interaction between all areas of the theatre and its visitors, as well as connecting the souterrain to the rest of the building. A striking feature of the design is the reuse of the construction of the grande Theatre Hall, which was originally built in 1976.
There are many informal spaces in the building that function as stages, offering a range of possibilities for innovative artistic programming. Traditional boundaries between the Front of House and the Back of House have been disregarded, paving the way for a more innovative, flexible, future-oriented use of the space.
The lively façade contains a rich tapestry of masonry structures and encloses the halls like a transparent voile. For the colour of the façade, NOAHH drew inspiration from the chestnut trees located on the adjacent Parade Square. The façade and the exterior coating of the two halls – executed in gold-coloured metal and soft grey ceramic – are interwoven in this masonry pattern, establishing a visual connection with the nearby St. Jan cathedral.
For the design of the façade itself, NOAHH was inspired by the medieval patterns found in the brickwork of De Moriaan – the oldest brick house of the Netherlands. Built in 1220, it is located only a stone’s throw away from the theatre. The façade design is composed of ‘tessellations’, tiling of planes using geometric shapes, run from light to dark and from closed to open – an apt spatial translation of the concept of a building that is open, inclusive and welcoming.