Speelhuis Theater was designed by Frits van Dongen Architecten en Planners in collaboration with Koschuch Architects. The theater is located in Helmond, the Netherlands and was finished in 2018.
The old Speelhuis Theater was originally constructed by structuralist architect Piet Blom in 1977. The old building was burned down, but the theater eventually found refuge in a mostly vacant Catholic church.
Since then, the church becomes a perfect backdrop for any activities and performances held in the theater. It is also the reason why the theater stays permanently in the church. Over the course of years, the theater has gone through some improvements and extensions.
Right now, a modestly sized and transparent pavilion integrates with the Catholic church, improving the ensemble of church and presbytery. The horizontal and transparent character of the low building offers the visibility of the historic buildings and the church while at the same time functioning as a backdrop for the theater.
The church exterior becomes the interior of the new building, emphasizing the ambiance and cohesion of the space. In short, it is a creative combination between exterior and interior, transparency, openness, and a distinct architectural design.
There’s a clear separation between the front and backstage. However, the visual relationship in the paths of the goods, artists, the public, and employees are maintained. The lobby and other public functions are available next to the Kasteeltraverse with the presbytery vividly standing out. The thorough integration within the urban environment strengthens the links to the nearby buildings and the city center as well as improving the public route across the building.
The theater’s main entrance goes with a new cultural square, making the building fits within the city.