The idea of establishing Operalab – a mobile think tank – in the urban environment is the evidence of the transformation taking place in the structure of the Grand Theatre – National Opera, representing the openness and modernity of this elite cultural institution. Designed by exexe, the main idea behind their proposal is the separation of part of the urban fabric, provoking creative use and generating more space rather than just designing the building. This time, it’s not the audience coming to the theater, but a theater coming to the audience. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Art has accompanied mankind since the birth of civilization and permeates almost every area of life. Redefined continually, it is undergoing continuous evolution, and its boundaries are impossible to define. The symbol of the initiative is the Pavilion, which is the summer residence of OPERALAB: a place where, as in opera, all the arts exist together. The main idea of the project is the separation of part of the urban fabric, from specific multi-layered city. This time, it’s not the audience coming to the theater, but a theater coming to the audience.
Raised over the site, a characteristic design with a seemingly complex structure creates an open spatial structure. It is supported only by five concentrically located slim discs. Their considerable length and orientation increase the impact of not clearly defined interior borders. The relationship of the pavilion in the city, is always determined according to the needs of a specific event. The space between the pillars of the buffer distance is specifically required to achieve an adequate level of privacy in the interior and subtle limitation for visitors. The pavilion is a place available for all those who consciously choose to penetrate to its center. Solemn and sublime mood, which prevails in the interior of the pavilion, attracts lovers of art, bringing to mind the exquisite moments in opera and theater halls. A tall, impressive space with “rotating” wooden rings, is nothing but a reminiscence of classical theater audience: high, monumental, surrounded by successive layers of balconies. In such a place, detached from everyday life, we are captivated by art.
It is here that architecture is no longer just a backdrop for artistic events, but actively participates in building the mood! In the hands of artist, curator, tutor, pavilion becomes a multimedia tool running on all the senses. Light, sound, image, space are transformed, adapting to specific ideas. Such conditions provoke the experiment. It is a perfect ground for art and innovative field of think-tank research. Both inside and outside, clear, modular structures communicate the nature of the principle of mobility. Additionally, strongly articulated connection strengthens this effect. Module – a single disc with a fixed height and variable length 3m – as the design, technical and formal, is a reflection of contemporary trends in architecture for multifunctional components.
A simple method of joining modules leads to interesting spatial effects.Single discs are not self-supporting. Their stability is achieved by the way they are connected.Flat elements are easy to transport and store as when folded, they form pentagonal rings that can be brought together vertically or arranged horizontally. Vertical configuration, thanks to the use of the variant rings, allows you to arrange the pavilion in 4 high-area configurations.Horizontal configuration can be installed indoors TW-ON and is more suitable for exhibitions.Pentagonal shape of ring is dictated by the acoustic considerations (elimination of parallel walls), which prevents the occurrence of multiple reflections (flutter echo).The modules in total are made of high quality materials that are renewable. Both the structure and the housing are made of high quality wood elements, but from the inside chipboard finished veneer is also used in order to reduce the excessive absorption of low-frequency sounds.
From the outside, the wood is protected by a light gray paint, applied in several layers.The filling with cellulose provides good acoustics and prevents overheating.Triangular roof covering – elements of translucent acrylic glass – mounted on spacers, lets daylight inside and provides natural ventilation.Thanks to them, the dark object is outside self-illuminated by internal light highlighting the elevation.These passive solutions make the pavilion, illuminated only at night, so there is no need to install mechanical ventilation or air conditioning, what definitely affects the amount of energy consumed. Single disc height is fixed at 3 m and the length varies from 11 to 6 meters.If necessary, the disks may be subdivided into smaller components (maximum 2.3 m).All installations are carried out inside the modules to provide continuity on the nodes.Discs have an integrated sound system and the installation of lighting output.The antenna is fed from the local electricity network and controlled from the technical room.
Contemporary, expressive form of the pavilion was built on the basis of compositional principle of the alignment. This treatment is a nod in the direction of traditional values that can be found in a block of TW-ON, and the automotive industry (BMW) and can be shared. Subtle part of the same identity of architecture often is associated with the objects of the highest rank. Not without reason, the proposed location of the pavilion is a square between Ujazdowski Castle and Piaseczynski Canal, part of the Stanislawowska Axis. This prestigious location is in close proximity to important cultural object (CSW), but away from the hustle and bustle of the city what invites the conscious consumers and enables the grand events in the company of greenery. The pavilion has an open character, uses shapes of the immediate surrounding, treating a vast staircase as a kind of audience for major events taking place under its roof. One-storeyed pavilion system and suggested use of the existing surface of the site make the object completely accessible to the disabled.
The open character is emphasized by the lack of closure elements (apart from the protected facilities). The pavilion does not work like a normal object opened in specific hours. It is the spatial structure, sculpture, symbol of modern culture, open, and accessible to all at any time. Functionally undefined, in addition to the main freely arranging space (140m2), composed with supporting technical facilities (18.5 m2) and the background (18.5 m2), where unused items are kept. This place is separated from the surrounding by a raised wall of the pavilion, which bears the logo neon OPERALAB and patrons: TW-ON and BMW. An interactive kiosk is installed on the back wall of the room service. It contains the film touch panel attached to the glass protecting the LCD monitors. A kiosk (with neon) determines the entrance zone to the pavilion, which can be used without interfering with the events taking place in the pavilion. In the interior, wooden, modular benches with ‘wavy’ surface, based on a steel structure plays particularly role. With high-quality oak veneer – the same as the inner walls of the pavilion plane – allow for easy customization of the audience. A single element provides a place for three people, spaced comfortably – with a bent seat. Soft lines are sequentially arranged in rows creating characteristic expression of complete interior and contrasting with the sharp edges of an object. No solid elements, besides a few supports, provide full flexibility in the arrangement and the ability to adjust the pavilion for distinct events.
Traditional or modern performance, discussion, exhibition, experimental theater, fashion shows, performances, etc. – all of these events can take place under the name OPERALAB, all in the same place. The audience is positioned concentrically between supports, on both sides of the middle of the hall with a stage, or in front of a classic mobile scene. The scene can split into two parts which creates the platform with a height of 40 cm and wavy edges. After unfolding the benches in the square around the pavilion the relationship with the city is emphasized and creates over 940 m3 enclosed space ready to carry out any artistic event.