Offenbachplatz Theater, Cologne (DE)

The listed building of the existing Cologne Opera House will be expanded by implementing new infrastructure rooms and by extending the entire production building. The new part respectfully steps back in relation to the existing. With its independent design, it opens a dialogue between old and new. Parallel to the original square front, the Schauspielhaus will be constructed as an elongated, differentially structured and economically organised volume. Offenbachplatz is strengthened in its functional and monument conservation significance as a decorative forecourt of the Cologne stages. The uniformity of the terrazzo pavement and the omission of further structuring elements create a wide open space that frames the urban ensemble and accentuates it contrasting its surroundings.
The Schauspielhaus itself is organized as a fluid, economical but representative sequence of rooms, both for the visitors and for the stage. Great importance was attached to organising the sequence of functions parallel to the opera – a logistically simple, economical and practicable solution. The façade, which is structured by vertical bronze lamellas, is noble, reserved and timeless like the existing structure.
The spacious entrance hall with the associated shop welcomes the visitors into an open house. All performance venues are individually accessible from here. An impressive escalator leads into a high, two-storey foyer with views on all sides, down to the entrance hall and up to the restaurant. The new children’s opera house and the studio stage are located in the basements with their own adjoining rooms. The platforms are on the same level as the production rooms, connected to them via a short transport bridge.

Client: Stadt Köln
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller
Competition: 2008, 2nd round