Trois-Rivières Amphitheatre by ARCHITEM is a competition entry that is Inspired by the history of Trois-Rivières in Quebec, Canada. The are has roots in the lumber industry and its association with the river. The project optimizes the natural landscape and creates an iconic architectural presence that focuses on the connection to the river. The forest informs the architectural design of the building and its exterior wall, with its use of lace and transparency, recalling the poetry of the seasonal movement of branches. The endless play of light and shade are its inspiration.
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We approach the new Town Square and cultural center at the intersection of rue des Ursulines and the projected Avenue des Draveurs, drawn by the pure-shaped structure which emerges from it. The building becomes the portal from the city to the river, inviting the public to enter and discover the river parkland and at the same time announcing to the visitor the cultural activities within. Viewed from the river, the building is a distinctive icon in the river parkland. Ephemeral yet grounded, it reaches to the sky with lightness and color that captures a view of a momentary experience that illicits surprise as this view is constantly changing.
The Square, geometrically formal on the city side, with its water fountains and reflecting pool provides year-round activity. On the river side, the Square deconstructs as a landscaped roof for the amphitheatre. This roof is articulated to create landscaped platforms, an origami play of folded planes that allow natural light to penetrate to the seating below, generating accessible platforms for a variety of activities.
Open paths, stairs, landscaped routes provide a variety of options for moving through the new urban park. As the structural center of this park, the building consolidates all the projects programmatic requirements into one building. The administrative functions are located on the upper levels with views of the surroundings; the roof-top holds a look-out to the rivers beyond; the support functions for the theatre are located in proximity to the stage below the entrance square. The café and hall, available for functions, are on the terrace levels and have views of the river and town. The covered amphitheatre is illuminated with natural light through openings punctuating the roof-square above. The theatre is incorporated into the parkland taking advantage of existing topography, while maintaining views to the river. The landscape elements create the barrier to control accesses to the spectator spaces.
The building is inviting year round, offering a platform from which to view the river and providing a sense of ceremony and drama while moving through it. In summer, the site and building is permeable, accessible from the river parkland and from the town. A dramatic exterior space leads amphitheatre patrons down grand stairs to the seating below. From the river front, a broad boardwalk pulls visitors into the theatre space or through the building to the terraces above for dramatic views of the river and town. In the winter, the lobbies and the public spaces maintain transparency and a relationship to the river. A ceremonial stair provides a backdrop that enhances the experience of the public spaces.
The 3-dimensional façade with the multi-layered perforated metal cylinders is superimposed to create an undulation that recalls the rolling motion of the waves. With its dynamic movement it also recalls the cultural function of the project – music and dance. During the day, the building provides a vibrating rhythm on its double skin, a kinetically created illusion that changes as we move along its surface. At night, it glows as a floating wave that transforms itself into a colourfully lit beacon, a magnet to the cultural arena.
Architect: ARCHITEM Wolff Shapiro Kuskowski architectes
Location: Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
Team: Andrea Wolff, Elizabeth Shapiro, Magda Kuskowski, Eduardo Carrera, Sergio de la Cuadra, Eliza Jurca, Ji Won Jun, Nicki Reckziegel
Status: Competition Finalists
Client: Ville de Trois-Rivières
Category: Cultural, Institutional
Program: Amphitheatre for 10,000 people (3500 covered and 6500 open-air seating), urban park and public spaces.
Area: 14,000 sqm (programme), 5 Ha (site)
Budget: $34 M (CAD)