The Cinema Park Building was erected in the 1950s from plans by the modernist architect Franc Novak. Slowly falling into disrepair, it was still used for film shows until the new century, when it became obsolete due to the construction of a new multiplex. A solution was found in a new, more ambitious programme: a conversion into a theatre and concert hall, preserving the designated landmark building with a fitting new programme for a small city with a large theatre audience that previously lacked an adequate theatre space. This way, the city of Murska Sobota reinforces its position as a regional centre and at the same time preserves the exceptional example of modernist architecture.
In relation to the existing structure, two concepts were introduced for the two segments of the project. The functional scheme of entry areas already included all the key elements: entrance loggia, lobby and the lower and upper foyers. These parts of the building were renovated, preserving as much original substance as possible. New functional elements were inserted into existing space as black elements conceived with minimal detail.
The existing auditorium’s geometry was not suited to the new purpose, so it was replaced by a new, correctly proportioned auditorium space and a technically equipped theatre stage. It’s size and equipment allows for guest performances from every theatre in the country as well future own production with space and technical support on par with all national theatres. The volume of the original building is clearly delineated in the auditorium’s structure, the added stage volume, dressed in “renaissance trousers” shows an appropriate compositional distance, retains the autonomy of the original building’s architectural expression and blends easily into the natural surroundings of city park.
Throughout the design process, a special attention was accorded to investment costs and designing the building with low running costs. With rational concept and transparent investment management, the small city of Murska Sobota received the fifth largest and currently best equipped stage in the country. Running costs were reduced to minimum by providing heating and cooling energy via heat pumps from an already used geothermal installation. After six months, average running cost for heating, cooling, ventilating and lighting come to 3.300 EUR per month. We believe that more and more of our creative energy within the design process will soon be directed into limiting the consumption of natural resources and general environmental responsibility.