A team of four architects: Besian Mehmeti, Betim Zeqiri, Bekir Ademi and Nikola Strezovski won first prize in a competition for a theater and library in the city center of Tetovo, Macedonia. The competition called for the design to incorporate both programs into one building. The total building area for the winning design is 25,000 m2 and includes 3 underground levels and is designed to correlate into the city square of the site.
More images and text after the break.
Besian Mehmeti, Betim Zeqiri, Bekir Ademi and Nikola Strezovski designed the winning entry to stand out from the context of the built environment, while programmatically contributing to the life of the city and the ensemble of buildings within vicinity of the theater and library. The site has a “heterogeneous layer” of buildings for various purposes. The mixed use architecture informs the mixed use site and the variety of people who pass through it.
The multifunctional building has three bodies of function: a theater, a library and a space for cultural, educational, and commercial activities. The composite nature of the programmatic requirements helped inform the resultant design which is distributed among stratified and intertwined layers within plan and section that distribute functions and exploit the variability of the site context.
The process of carving the given mass produced alternate sets of public program such as the outdoor amphitheater and plaza, which functions as a welcoming gesture to visitors and users of the city square. The design promotes an object-to-subject interaction that links the functionality of the building to its gestural qualities to the community.
Access to the library and theater is available through the main entrance, blending the “scene” of the stage and the “word” of the book. Employees and staff enter through a separate entrance along the perimeter. Other programs such as the cinema, gallery and café are accessible through special niches and operate separately from the theater and library. An entrance to the underground parking is located to the existing cultural center adjacent to the site of the competition. Connection between the two buildings may be made underground.
A double façade wraps the building like a curtain and produces a dynamic rhythm of repetition in different directions. The difference in the vertical layers of the façade creates a variety of light effects and further engages users of the building. The curtain also regulates the microclimate and sustains thermal energy within. The architects have chosen to allude to the programmatic functions by likening the façade to the twisting curtain of a stage and the flipping pages of a book.