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MARTYRS SQUARE THEATER

 LOCATION 

Brussels, Belgium

CLIENT

Commission Communautaire Française

PARTNERS 

-

ARTIST 

Pierre Alechinsky, Félix Roulin

PROJET

1987 - 1996

CONSTRUCTION

1996 - 1998

AREA

3,320 sqm (336 seats)

CONTEXT

theatre

SETTING

City centre

“…La Place des Martyrs: a place which, in terms of contemporary renovation of a major public space, for a long time appeared to live up to its name. In this location, A2RC ARCHITECTS created a theatre in 1998 which is remarkable in every respect, because it appears symbolically as the ‘Theatre of Urban Life’, as it could well have been named. It is designed and built in such a way that it appears, almost miraculously, as the realisation of the 'seven pillars of wisdom', a new wisdom of urban life. This conversion is a model of intelligence and subtlety.Inside, the result is a splendid succession of public spaces whose language of sheer, beautiful modernity is itself one of the most glowing contemporary tributes to the very idea of theatricality. Despite the amazingly low budget used, an atmosphere of luxury, calm and voluptuousness prevails, which would probably have reconciled Baudelaire to Brussels.This climate of beauty, harmony and well-being are the result in particular of a judicious balance between the spaces, which are often monumental and spectacular, despite their limited size. The colours and sensual materials are of an appealing subtlety: floors in Walloon bluestone, furniture and panelling in white or red beechwood, walls treated with lime plaster dyed with natural pigments, and, in an allusion to theatrical traditions, a wall gilded with brass leaf, plush carpets, and red armchairs. Inside, all of this creates a complex, sophisticated internal architecture, which enables a rediscovered joy in appreciating the finest theatrical creation. The theatre of the Place des Martyrs appears in every respect to be an exemplary work of urbanity and its interior reveals a true masterpiece.

 

Extract of Le théâtre de la Place des Martyrs By Jean Dethier Consulting architect to the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris12 June 1998