Freyming-Merlebach

2017

‘Théodore Gouvy’ Theatre

Client : Communauté de Communes Freyming-Merlebach
Cost : 7 700 000 €
Area : 2 850 sqm


The theatre sets up an energetic dialogue with the urban landscape, shaping itself to fit the context and logic of the existing flows. It stands on a base, alongside the new municipal offices; its unusual shape and dimensions give it an elegant silhouette, the lines of which ensure visual transition between the various parts of the programme while keeping on the same scale as the town. The visitor’s interest is caught by the animation of the volumes: in the upper part, the foyer is offset to indicate the entrance, while in the lower part, transparent elements allow glimpses of the wealth of interior routes and invite the visitor to enter. This generosity is found again inside the building.

The foyer occupies a vertical space with a route through an apparent intertwining of staircases. Oblique lines reiterating the complex geometry of the site cause spaces to expand, creating a dizzying atmosphere. The uniformity of the untreated plaster and the softness of the carpeted floor contribute to the feeling of being in some kind of cocoon. Natural light enhances the various faces and reveals the building’s shape and dimensions. The route to reach the auditorium is therefore deliberately spectacular and theatrical. The auditorium is in strong contrast with the nuanced surfaces of the outer envelope. The building presents the town with an immaculate white facade, while the foyer is in shades of beige. The auditorium constitutes a complete break with this: red, pink and orange lend density to the space, affirming it as the main feature of the project, with colour sanctuarising the idea of performance.

Visibility is optimised in the 700‑seat auditorium: the most distant spectator is only twenty metres from the front of the stage. The transitional areas are flooded with natural light that varies with the course of the sun, and this evolutive, dynamic spatial staging echoes the very image of the theatre.