WHAT

WHO

HOW MUCH

HOW

PROGRAM
FINANCING
ABSOLUTE DIMENSIONS
RELATIVE DIMENSIONS
DESIGN STRATEGY

SURFACE EXTENSION

SURFACE REDUCTION

VOLUME EXTENSION

VOLUME REDUCTION

STRUCTURE

MATERIAL

IMAGE

84 PROJECTS

Variation of modes of use: functions, users, schedules, etc.

Relationship between the ownership and the form of the investment that allows the transformation

Variation of the overall dimensions of the building

Proportional relationship between new spaces and existing spaces

Relationship between the structural adjustments and the existing structure

Relationship between the forms and types of pre-existing materials and those of the new intervention

Relationship between the image of the new and the image of the existing (mimesis / contrast)

LOCATION

Lisbon, Portugal 38°44'41.4" N - 9°10'08.7 W]

ARCHITECTS / FIRM

Gonçalo Byrne Arquitectos+Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

YEAR

2012

1 Gonçalo Byrne – Thalia Theatre


PROJECT - Main Infos

PROJECT: 1 Gonçalo Byrne – Thalia Theatre

LOCATION: Lisbon, Portugal 38°44'41.4" N - 9°10'08.7 W]

YEAR: 2012

ARCHITECT / FIRM: Gonçalo Byrne Arquitectos+Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

BUYER: Ministério da Educação e Ciência

SURFACE: 1.600 sqm

PRICE: € 2.700.000

DESCRIPTION:
The restoration of the Thalia Theatre converts the ruins of a Nineteenth century neoclassical theatre into a multi-functional space open to host conferences, exhibitions, shows and other events. The Thalia theatre is placed in Quinta das Laranjeiras: a suburban property that was a scene of leisure activities, according to the uses of the early Nineteenth century; here, the owner Count Farrobo used to give such parties that the resulting expression – farrobodo – came to mean to spree. At the beginning of the Twentieth century (1905) part of the location became the Lisbon Zoo. Then, in 1948, what remained of the site was purchased by the Ministry of Education and Technology, the body that commissioned the Thalia Theatre project. The theatre was built in 1842 by the italian architect (he was born in Bologna) Fortunato Lodi (1805-1882) – who was the author, in the same years, of the National Theater Dona Maria II (Lisbon, Rossio Square, inaugurated in 1846) of which the Thalia Theatre represented a sort of pré-maquete. After having built these theatres, Lodi returned in Italy (in Bergamo) where he was professor at the Accademia di Carrara and will undertake various works for the Mayor of Bergamo and, in 1848, he took parts in the riots which made him known as the architect of the barricades by Field Marshal Redetzky, which caused him to be blamed by the Austrian administration, fighting against the First Italian War of Independence. In 1851, he won the competition for the new palace of the District Court of the lower city of Bergamo (Pretura Urbana in Città Bassa) organized by the municipality: construction began in 1856, became the seat of the Bergamo City Council in 1872). After the restoration and renovation carried out by Lodi, the Thalia Theatre continues to host performances of international level, suddenly interrupted, on 9th September 1862, due to a fire that occurred during maintenance work. Thalia Theatre was reduced to a state of ruin and for over 150 years remained in a complete state of abandonment. The intervention was aimed primarily at preserve the state of preservation of the surviving walls, reintegrating the lost theatrical space only volumetrically.

WHAT - Program


PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The functional program remains predominantly the original one, with a limited new program.

DESCRIPTION:
This small theatre, built in front of the residence of Count Farrobo, and named after one of the ninth Muses, Talia (in Portuguese: Thália), the Muse of Satire; originally built with elegance and opulence, it was provided with technical daring: it had gas-lit twenty years before the streets of Lisbon. The Latin inscription Hic mores hominum castigantur ('here we punish human behaviour') on the frieze at the entrance of the theatre reveals the kind of comedy for which it was thought: satire. How to reconstruct the ruins of this theatre of satire? The architects Gonçalo Byrne has focused on literary elements: wit, irony and satire. The need for a symbolic use of materials – the type of use that makes them literary materials is clarified by architects with an appeal to Gottfried Semper: the form is a matter of representation, even of its symbolic nature. The shift and exasperation of a constructive truth can likewise be constructed in the form of satire: when the materials play the part of themselves, they play a very serious architectural comedy. The first design scene of this representation was to recreate the scenery of the ruins, eliminating an incongruous three-story building overlooking the street: it was no longer a home theatre, and therefore the domestic mask was the first to disappear. Due to an impossible restoration of the original situation, the new intervention aims at reintegrating the original spatiality of the building. The ruin was now a convincing representation of its pure forms. Peristyle, foyer, parterre [platea] and stage returned to be a sequence of theatrical spaces. How to reconstruct the ruins of this theatre of satire? The architects Gonçalo Byrne has focused on literary elements: wit, irony and satire. The need for a symbolic use of materials – the type of use that makes them literary materials is clarified by architects with an appeal to Gottfried Semper: the form is a matter of representation, even of its symbolic nature. The shift and exasperation of a constructive truth can likewise be constructed in the form of satire: when the materials play the part of themselves, they play a very serious architectural comedy. The first design scene of this representation was to recreate the scenery of the ruins, eliminating an incongruous three-story building overlooking the street: it was no longer a home theatre, and therefore the domestic mask was the first to disappear. Due to an impossible restoration of the original situation, the new intervention aims at reintegrating the original spatiality of the building. The ruin was now a convincing representation of its pure forms. Peristyle, foyer, parterre and stage returned to be a sequence of theatrical spaces.

WHO - Financing


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The investor is the property owner.

DESCRIPTION:
After being ceded to the Lisbon Zoo in 1905, and after several changes of ownership, the site was purchased by the Portuguese State in 1948 and used as the headquarters of ministerial offices. The recovery initiative is due to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Education, which took office in the building in 2005, with a program that involves the construction of a multi-purpose facility, usable for conferences and seminars, concerts, theatrical performances.

HOW MUCH - Absolute Dimensions

- SURFACE present EXTENSION,

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The overall dimensions are about twice the pre-existing surface.

- VOLUME present EXTENSION,

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The overall dimensions are about twice the pre-existing volume.

DESCRIPTION:
In 1840 the area was scarcely occupied by palaces and adjacent gardens and farms. The new intervention, in the face of the impossibility of restoring the original situation – with the exception of the southern portico fragment, object of an accurate philological restoration – aims to reintegrate the spatial footprint of the building. To the final result contributes the demolition of some buildings of modest value attached to the theatre, the two new one-storey metal and glass pavilions that replace the demolished buildings, the small square open to the garden.

HOW MUCH - Relative Dimensions


BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The new spaces are in balance with respect to the pre- existing spaces.

DESCRIPTION:
The existing volumes are largely transformed by the intervention, which reveals the hidden spatiality of the theatre. The new structure at ground level is a long pavilion, built of glass and steel, which surrounds the site and the building, first on the street and then veering towards the interior of the garden; the pavilion delimits a small square in the back, framing the rear volume of the theatre: whoever passes beyond the mirrors acts as the unconscious actor of a real representation attended by who is inside.

HOW - Design Strategy STRUCTURE


PREVALENT REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The supporting structure is predominantly a new structure.

DESCRIPTION:
After being abandoned, the remains of the building became to a slow consumption that lasted for almost one hundred and fifty years, a condition exasperated in 1978 by the almost complete demolition of the roofs and the consequent weakening of the vertical structures. The original building, with no cover and crumbling, was used by Byrne as scaffolding to make a set of additions and subtractions. The neoclassical façade has been buffered with stucco and limestone to give it a contemporary aspect. The stage and auditorium spaces were covered with a terracotta cement shell, using the remains of the crumbling masonry as a disposable formwork, and the three-storey annex was demolished to make space to the construction of the one-storey pavilion. In the intervention on the skeleton, built in masonry, with the strong tectonic relevance of the scenic tower, a void 23 meters high, the choice of the materials was fundamental, especially for the way they dignify and consolidate the ancient ruins. From a constructive point of view, the most delicate intervention involved the construction of a concrete sarcophagus that now surrounds the ruined walls of the old theatre. This made possible to consolidate the existing walls, so to build a new roof and to keep the ruins inside it intact and, in the main spaces, to leave the traces of time; ruin is now the negative on which the new form has been cast. This casting process is carried out by erasing all the non-structural elements of the ancient theatre, every detail becomes a character in the representation: structural steel is used for non-structural purposes, in favour of light and sound. The interior walls have been deprived of the finish now remain naked, all the windows have been closed and natural light has been staged thanks to a skylight on the edge of the stage. The roof insulation was obtained thanks to the most literary of the scenography-recycled materials, a sprayed papier-mâché. The heaviness of the textures and the lightness of the finishing continue to talk us about this Semperian transformation, confirmed by the Byrne's symbolic use of materials.

HOW - Design Strategy MATERIAL


BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The materials chosen for the new intervention balance similarities and differences with the existing ones.

DESCRIPTION:
The exterior of the box, the pure volume, is covered by cement treated with a chemical finish, the final material: the uniform texture of the exposed concrete, coloured in earthy tones, didn't receive a mechanical finishing. A chemical stain was applied to give a decorative motif to the surface of the exposed cement, instantly creating a patina and therefore an equally instantaneous and integrated memory. The entrance is made by the original foyer, reconstructed in a Neo-Classical-inspired style including a fluted frieze on the inside built with Styrofoam profiles lit by a window at the upper end of the side wall that gives a sense of natural drama and prepares the transition from day light to the dark and intense atmosphere of the interior of the theatre. On the outside, the front portico and marble sphinxes were restored as well as the bronze letters at the tympanum of the main façade where is still possible to read the motto of Thalia. The roof and the floors have been rebuilt in limestone emphasizing the geometry of the main facade. Inside, the foyer has been modelled as a neoclassical environment, narrow and high, with a fluted frieze. The peristyle, a classic portico in white limestone and marble sphinxes, has been completely restored in its marble elegance, but in a more imaginative way, replacing the pavement and tiles with lioz, the valuable local limestone; the polished brass of the glazed entrance doors completes the refined prologue. The foyer is now set in the neoclassical manner, in dense and high partitions, carefully calibrated with a grooved frieze, made by expanded polystyrene elements, the frames are made of polycarbonate but the floor (and the side panels) are made of stone. The internal floor consists of a slab of pigmented concrete with opaque wax finish, the clear artificial light provided by the last windows is a prelude to the darkness of the stalls and the stage, wonderfully unified in a single space. The structure of the façade of the pavilions consists of sheets of steel and fumé glass, which varies its opacity according to the sunlight: that allows a certain visibility from the outside and, at the same time, guarantees a sort of respect for the memory of antiquity.

HOW - Design Strategy IMAGE


BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The new intervention balances elements of continuity and discontinuity with respect to existing structures.

DESCRIPTION:
The project for the conversion of the Thalia Theatre is a new urban complex balanced between ancient and contemporary; using a limited palette of materials and techniques, the project evokes the presence of the past while giving new functions to the building. A series of studies have been done on the choice of colour so that it could integrate with the context, the zoo's land and the local sand. Using an intentionally minimalist language, Byrne gave particular attention to the few remaining parts of the old theatre, that became protagonists within the new architectural configuration, able to witness its past history but, at the same time, to live independently, combining old and new into this new urban complex, establishing different relations with the city through the creation of a permeable public square. In order to leave untouched the old ruins in the interior with its sense of wonder created by devastation and the passing of time, the exterior was covered by a shell of terracotta concrete forming a massive and monolithic body correspondent to the original volumes of the audience and the stage: minimum technical fixtures create an arena that can be adjusted to several uses such as exhibitions, concerts, parties. Adding the new glazed wing, that breaks the apparent symmetry of the classical composition, Byrne designs this addition out to the street with a curtain-like façade of glass panes that mirrors the city. This new single-story glazed wing finally houses additional features such as a reception, services, and cafeteria, which open into the square and the gardens.