14.2.2013

Nuevo Teatro en Montalto di Castro, Italia

El Nuevo Teatro en Montalto di Castro, diseñado por MDU architetti, inicia un periodo de prolífica producción para este estudio de arquitectura italiano, dedicado a la realización de varios proyectos inspirados por un hilo común: la arquitectura como un fragmento urbano.

El Montalto di Castro Theatre interpreta el tema, presentándose como un monolito con un corte interior capaz de sugerir una nueva entrada a la ciudad de Maremma Laziale, en la provincia de Viterbo, en el centro de Italia. El edificio está situado a las afueras de la ciudad, en una zona fronteriza entre el tejido urbano más consolidado y la trama más raleada de los márgenes urbanos. Esta ubicación sugiere una de las principales intenciones del teatro: mediar entre estas dos zonas de la ciudad.

El teatro es una obra pública, resultado de un concurso internacional convocado por el municipio de Montalto di Castro en 2002. Los resultados se publicaron en 2004 y fue construido en seis años. El objetivo de la administración de la ciudad era reconstruir una antigua zona industrial para que pudiera ser utilizada para la construcción de una sala de usos múltiples donde acoger espectáculos, conferencias y actividades recreativas como fuerza motriz «para el crecimiento cultural de la comunidad».

El teatro es un paralelepípedo con una torre vertical. El programa incluye un vestíbulo, el auditorio con capacidad para 400 personas, la arena al aire libre con capacidad para 500 personas, oficinas de administración, área de servicios, habitaciones y un estacionamiento con alrededor de 60 espacios. Dos elementos que ayudaron a dar forma al proyecto son las cercanas ruinas etruscas y la planta de Alessandro Voltar. Esta última, y especialmente el gran templo de Vulci, inspiraron el monolito paralelepípedo que alberga el foyer y el auditorio, y sugiere la idea de la torre vidriada vertical, cuya forma se convierte en un punto de referencia para la territorio. «Etrusco arcaico frente a la estética de la máquina», explica MDU, en alusión a un temporal «corto-circuito» que inspiró la arquitectura y la proyecta a una dimensión imaginaria en la que la historia y la modernidad conviven y se enfrentan entre sí. En el interior, el monolito revela una profunda fisura que corre de un extremo al otro a través de su masa: una señal de erosión que crea una arquitectura fluida y abierta, un canal de interacción con la ciudad. El teatro es idealmente atravesado por el contexto urbano, convirtiéndose en un fragmento de la ciudad. A lo largo de esta sección, el vestíbulo desemboca en el auditorio sin filtros, creando un espacio “líquido” que se puede cruzar desde la entrada hasta la arena de verano. El teatro se convierte en una «galería urbana» que transmite la cultura a la ciudad.

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Los principales materiales son: hormigón para el monolito, tiras de madera que cubren las estructuras verticales creando una secuencia de cortinas cálidas y vibrantes, y policarbonato alveolar para la torre, lo que hace que durante el día se des-materialice hasta fundirse con el cielo, mientras que por la noche se ilumina como un faro a escala urbana. El edificio, al compararse con las estructuras preexistentes y a través del signo de la erosión que se manifiesta en su interior, interpreta dos temas importantes para MDU: la «medición poética» del territorio, según la definición de los diseñadores, y el deseo de crear un lugar concebido como un «viaje para acercarse a la actuación». «El nuevo teatro se propone como un modelo conceptual para la medición del territorio y, al mismo tiempo, intenta expresar, a través de la arquitectura, la magia de un evento teatral que involucra al público».

 

Original Text in English

The New Theatre in Montalto di Castro, designed by mdu architetti, is located in the Maremma Laziale, in the province of Viterbo, in Central Italy. The building is located on the edge of the city, in an area bordering the most consolidated urban fabric and the most rarefied on the urban margins. This position suggests one of the theatre’s main vocations: mediation between the two areas of the city. The theatre is a public work, the result of an international design competition launched by the Municipality of Montalto di Castro in 2002 (results published in 2004), and was built in six years. The town administration’s goal was to redevelop a former industrial area so it could be used for the construction of a multi-purpose theatre – to host performances, conferences, and recreational activities – which would represent a “driving force for the cultural growth of the community”.

The theatre, a parallelepiped with a vertical fly tower, houses – on an area of 963 square metres – the foyer, the auditorium that seats 400, the outdoor arena that seats 500, administration and service rooms, and a car park with around 60 parking spaces. Two elements that helped to shape the project are the nearby Etruscan ruins and the Alessandro Volta power plant. The former, and specifically the base of the Great Temple of Vulci, inspired the parallelepiped monolith, home to the foyer and auditorium; the latter suggests the idea of the glass fly tower whose vertical form becomes a point of reference and a signal point for the territory. “Archaic Etruscan versus the aesthetics of the machine”, explains mdu, alluding to a temporal “short circuit” that inspired the architecture and projects it into an imaginary dimension in which history and modernity coexist and confront each other.

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Inside, the monolith reveals a deep fissure that runs through its mass from one end to the other: a sign of erosion that creates a fluid and open architecture, a channel of interaction with the city. The theatre is thus ideally traversed by the urban context, becoming a new urban fragment. Along this section the foyer seemlessly flows into the auditorium without filters, creating a liquid space that can be crossed from the entrance as far as the summer arena. The theatre becomes an “urban gallery” that conveys culture and transmits it to the city. The main materials are concrete for the monolith, strips of wood covering the vertical structures creating a sequence of warm and vibrant curtains, and alveolar polycarbonate for the fly tower, which by day dematerializes becoming indistinguishable from the sky, while at night it lights up like a beacon on an urban scale. The building, one moment through comparison with pre-existing structures and the next through the sign of erosion within it, interprets two topics dear to mdu: the “poetic measuring” of the territory, as defined by the designers, and the desire to create a place conceived as a “journey of approaching the performance”. “The new theatre is proposed as a conceptual model for measuring the territory and at the same time it attempts to express, through architecture, the magic of a theatrical event felt by the audience”, adds mdu.

The theatre becomes a catalyst of attention from the entrance, through which the foyer can be seen flowing directly into the auditorium describing a single room, a continuous ribbon made dynamic by the fragmented series of vertical wood panels that guide the spectator towards an atmosphere of awe, wonder and spectacle. The spatial hierarchies become loose, relax their classifications and succumb to the democratic organization of the space in which the various areas merge into one another. A fluid journey that does not stop at the stage, rather crossing it to describe an outdoor arena from which it is possible to enjoy theatrical performances even in the summer season, thanks to the transparency of the fly tower. With its appearance, the theatre offers the city a new entrance,  positioning itself as a permeable gate, an ideally traversable place, like a flow that guides its visitors towards the urban landscape. The entrance, with its impressive projecting frame, is the first element that emphasizes the invitation to the city; the welcoming nature of its design embraces the open space in front of it, making it the heart and soul of the piazza. “Everything has been designed to encourage individuals to experience the ‘place of the theatre’ and the area ‘around the theatre’ as if they are related”, says mdu.

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Project Description
“The design for the New Theatre in Montalto di Castro has a twofold objective: it is proposed as a conceptual model for measuring the territory and at the same time it attempts to express, through architecture, the magic of a theatrical event felt by the audience. The territory of Montalto di Castro sinks its origins into Etruscan anthropization whose ruins attest to architecture comprised of large stereometric masses in tufa; in the contemporary collective imagination Montalto di Castro evokes the world of the machines of the largest Italian power plant. The design proposes a temporal short circuit with respect to which the evolution of the territory is concentrated and expressed in a unique architectural moment: archaic Etruscan versus the aesthetics of the machine.

The new theatre is a large concrete monolith characterized by subtle variations in colour and texture, on which the fly tower appears to rest in an ethereal manner: an alveolar polycarbonate volume that dematerializes by day becoming indistinguishable from the sky, and lights up from within by night transforming into a large “lantern” on a territorial scale. A new, extended, piazza in travertine and concrete, designed as a diversion of the road providing access to the historic centre, leads to the entrance of the New Theatre identified by an impressive overhanging roof. It introduces visitors to a continuous environment in which the foyer and the auditorium flow freely into one another. The wooden walls, with their broken lines, create a space conceptually derived from the excavation of the concrete monolith. This morphological heaviness is contradicted by the vibration of the material that seems to envelope the space in a large curtain and introduces the spectator to the much awaited magical opening of the stage curtains. The auditorium that seats 400 has its counterpart in the outdoor arena that seats 500, which can thus benefit from the theatre stage.”

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