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LOCATION / Frankfurt, Germany

CLIENT / Stadt Frankfurt am Main -


PARTNER / Heinrici & Geiger

AREA / 4 600 sqm above ground

PROGRAM / Theatre & Ballet

PROJECT / 1989 - 1991

STATUS / Built 1992

The radical conversion of the auditorium, the foyers and the theatre entrance was carried out in 1992 in a sensitive and complex way, respecting and retaining the structural elements and the external façades of the building, which dates from the 1950s and groups theatre, opera and chamber music auditoriums with all technical accommodations. The interior of the new auditorium, which is deliberately low-key, is black. It is the direct extension of the stage, in order to encourage a continuous tension in the relationship between auditorium and stage, and an exceptionally rare stage width of 24 metres for ballet performances. The 712 auditorium seats are arranged on a single front-facing tier, offering the whole audience a perfect view. On three sides, the auditorium is surrounded by an oblique wooden wall which combines its technical function and acoustic qualities, as well as incorporating spectacular entrance doors 5 meters high. The undulation of the acoustic ceiling, which is detached from the walls, includes two stage lighting gantries and draws attention towards the stage. In a symbolic contrast, and by reference to theatrical tradition, red is not absent. It covers the outer wall of the auditorium, asserting its strong presence in all the foyers surrounding it, and via the transparent façade which faces onto the city. The entrances and foyer have been completely re-structured in order to open up the space around the auditorium and enable people to walk all around it. This accentuates the vertical connections in a system of transversal and oblique views, offering the audience multiple possibilities of 'seeing and being seen'. A foyer-auditorium for 150 spectators is located on the ground floor, following the position of the cloakrooms. A lift for persons with reduced mobility has been added and serves all floors. The readability and quality of the new spaces is further emphasised by the beauty of the materials chosen: Jura limestone, white plaster, red lacquered steel, and black-stained or natural finish birchwood. Furthermore, the stage house was completely renovated. ​

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