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Competition: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

The City of Poznań in western Poland has announced an open international contest for a landmark new PLN 170 million (£35 million) musical theatre (Deadline: 18 October)

Open to multidisciplinary teams of architects, acousticians and stage technologists, the two-stage competition seeks innovative proposals for a new concert hall on a prominent site close to the city’s theatre district and world-famous music academy.

The project will deliver a new high-quality venue and recording facilities on a challenging plot located next to a busy railway track and around 700 metres from the Adam Mickiewicz University which hosts the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra.

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

According to the brief: ‘The location of the Musical Theatre building should ensure that it blends harmoniously with the existing spatial context formed by, among others, the representative buildings of the Castle District (including the Collegium Minus, Collegium Iuridicum, Imperial Castle, Academy of Music).

‘The Musical Theatre, as a public utility building, should be designed to allow not only access, but also the freedom of use and participation in performances to all the inhabitants. Aside from people with motor, sight or hearing disabilities, two more social groups should be considered during the design: children and older persons.’

Located on the banks of the Warta River in west-central Poland, Poznań is a major cultural and business centre well known for its renaissance Old Town and the iconic Ostrów Tumski Cathedral.

The competition focuses on a large undeveloped site in the western part of the city overlooking a railway track at the corner of Swiety Marcin and Skosna streets. Nearby landmarks include the Poznań Academy of Music and the Poznań International Fair exhibition centre.

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

The project will create a new home for the city’s Musical Theatre which is currently located in a 20th-century complex next to the city’s landmark movie theatre and chamber of commerce.

Six shortlisted teams will be invited to submit concepts following an open call for applications. Judges include architect Wojciech Grabianowski, Poznań Musical Theatre director Przemysław Kieliszewski, the set designer Mariusz Napierała, and Piotr Sobczak – the city architect.

The overall winner will receive a PLN 80,000 (£16,680) prize while a second prize of PLN 50,000 (£10,420), third prize of PLN 30,000 (£6,250) and 3 distinctions worth PLN 20,000 (£4,170) will also be awarded.

The winner will furthermore be invited to negotiate for the PLN 7.3 million (£1.5 million) design contract.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 3pm local time (GMT+1) on 18 October

Contact details

Office of Procurement and Service Office
Plac Kolegiacki 17
61-841 Poznan

Tel. 61878-52-31
Email: zou@um.poznan.pl
Fax. 61878-52-15

View the contract notice and visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Przemysław Kieliszewski

The director of Poznań’s Musical Theatre discusses his ambitions for the competition

Przemysław Kieliszewski

Przemysław Kieliszewski

Przemysław Kieliszewski

Why are your holding an international contest for a new home for the music theatre in Poznań?

Poznań has been waiting for 60 years for a new musical theatre building. Two years ago the city indicated an excellent location for the theatre on the main St Marcin street, in the neighbourhood of the Academy of Music I. J. Paderewski in Poznań, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań University of Economics and Business, Main Station, new Poznań Baltic Tower - Business Center and Poznań International Fair. Poznań is open for modern thinking regarding architecture, wishes for its own Bilbao effect and develop as a modern European metropoly.

What is your vision for the new city centre venue?

Musical is the most popular genre of theatre. People of all generations are interested in this repertoire. In the last five years, we have put on musicals such as Jekyll & Hyde, Evita, Footloose, The Addams FamilyJesus Christ Superstar (for 25,000 on the city stadium) and the Polish premieres of Sister Act, Madagascar and Nine. As theatre director, along with the experts, I tried to ensure that the functional program is perfect. We have in the competition court a well-known urban architect, conservator of monuments and outstanding architects from Chicago, Dusseldorf and Berlin, who will certainly try to balance the expectations of a modern facility with the context of the historic district. The theatre will be located near the most important transport hub in the city – the metropolitan railway tram stop, bike path or underground parking will be at your fingertips. The theatre will have two performance halls with a capacity of about 1,300 and at least 220,000 visitors each year, so it will affect the revitalisation and regeneration of the city centre.

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We hope to discover new talents among architects, but due to the need to make sure the highest functionality of the building and stage technology, it is necessary to cooperate with experienced professionals in this field. The first stage of the competition does not require many financial and time investments and guarantees anonymity. It is not necessary to have a local partner, although it may help to be in touch with the local administration.

Are there any other recent musical theatre projects you have been impressed by?

While working on a functional programme, we visited several theatres in Europe and Poland. We were inspired by functionalities of German and London theatres. What is important with an audience of about 1,000 is to not lose the viewer’s closeness to the stage, proper communication and mutual relationship of space to each other. The heart of the theatre is the stage and its highest quality and functionality of the devices is crucial. I leave the excellent architects in the jury to assess the theatre, hoping that its beauty and uniqueness will be a tourist attraction and pride for the citizens of Poznań and the Wielkopolska region.

Oslo Opera House case study: Q&A with Snøhetta

The Norwegian practice discusses lessons learned designing a new opera house for Oslo

How did your project deliver a landmark opera house for Oslo?

The project developed a highly complex programme into a simple general plan that integrated both a practical and intuitive sculptural approach to modelling the exterior form. Its low slung form became a link within the city rather than a divisive sculptural expression. Its accessible roof and broad, open public lobbies make the building a social monument rather than a sculptural one.

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

The building is as much landscape as architecture and thus fosters public awareness and engagement with the arts. Generous windows at street level provide the public with a glimpse of the scenery workshop activities. The building still finds an audience with the public who are not opera, ballet or orchestra fans. The cafes and gift shop, with their access to the waterfront, are destinations which offer opportunities to generate revenue for the institution while providing a general public amenity. Care was taken with the design of these components so that they are seamlessly integrated into the overall character of the building’s bold design.

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The competition brief stated that the opera house should be of high architectural quality and should be monumental in its expression. One idea stood out as a legitimation of this monumentality: the concept of togetherness, joint ownership, easy and open access for all. To achieve a monumentality based on these notions we wished to make the opera accessible in the widest possible sense, by laying out a ‘carpet’ of horizontal and sloping surfaces on top of the building. This carpet has been given an articulated form, related to the cityscape. Monumentality is achieved through horizontal extension and not verticality.

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

The public face of the opera house faces west and north – while at the same time, the building’s profile is clear from a great distance from the fjord to the south. Viewed from the Akershus castle and from the grid city the building creates a relationship between the fjord and the Ekerberg hill to the east. Seen from the central station and Chr Fredriks square, the opera catches the attention with a falling which frames the eastern edge of the view of the fjord and its islands. The building connects city and fjord, urbanity and landscape. To the East, the ‘factory’ is articulated and varied.

One can see the activities within the building: Ballet rehearsal rooms at the upper levels, workshops at street level. The future connection to a living and animated new part of town will give a greater sense of urbanity.

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta