Addressing the challenge of preserving the historic theatre while also enhancing its programmatic offer, the new design takes the core of the existing neoclassical auditorium and transforms the space into an atrium and foyer cafe that still legibly registers the former structural order. The building integrates the old directly into the new under a common roof, creating a cohesive ensemble that honours and narrates the architectural history and adds value to the urban context.
The exterior elevations incorporate the façade language of the existing theatre and the neighbouring historic Jesuit church. Along the Reuss River frontage, the new ensemble’s extended horizontality mediates between these two scales, generating a composition that legibly ties the structures in with one another and thereby enhances their respective prominence.
Natural stone and pigmented concrete for exterior cladding match the materiality of the theatre’s neighbours, but with decisive yet restrained vertical subdivisions that define the new façade’s modern take. The long edge of the new curved roof lifts towards the river and the city, giving the impression of a raised curtain that invites a peek within while also serving as an elevated city terrace for theatre guests.