LewandowskaArchitect PLLC

Reinventing Elizabethan Theater to Celebrate Gdansk's Cultural Life Today

THEATRUM GEDANENSE, Gdansk, Poland

Theatrum Gedanense is prominently situated on the Southeast edge of the old city of Gdansk, exposed to its rich urban texture and overlooking a linear park leading towards the Motlawa River. Inspired by a medieval moat surrounding Gdansk, the park features reflecting water pools, providing dramatic setting for the new theater. The site is restricted in permissible height, requiring a building of strong identity to mark the importance of the new public space....Read More

The archaeological discovery of an Elizabethan theater is the most important fact that transformed and gave meaning to the place. Although it was located mostly outside the boundaries of the site, its formal simplicity inspired the geometry and module of the new Theatrum Gedanense. The original theater is evoked in a promenade flanked with horn-beam trees, while the new theater building repeats its pure form in a location shifted towards the river. The two are connected with an open atrium, which becomes a stage for a live theater, celebrating cultural life of Gdansk today.

All support functions required for the modern theater are surrounding the performance space, thus detaching it from the city’s edge. To re-connect the two, translucent glass is used to create home for stage support, dressing rooms, conference center, gallery, cafe, restaurant and administration. Their mass is broken into smaller forms or pavilions allowing the views towards the old town. The penetrations are generated in the centers of the three courtyards