Theater Design Stretches PTFE Over Concrete

MONDAY, JULY 30, 2018

The theater Teatro Regional del Bíobío, located near the river in Concepción, Chile, once stood as an exposed concrete grid, but now, thanks to the winning design created by three architects, a skin of semi-transparent polytetrafluoroethylene provides geometric concealment for the interior.

Smiljan Radic, Eduardo Castillo and Gabriela Medrano won the competition in 2011 to design the theater, which opened earlier this year.

Disguising the Interior

Containing a 1,200-seat main hall, a 250-seat secondary hall and two 100-seat multipurpose rooms, the 107,650-square-foot theater was reportedly particularly important to Radic because it serves the public. The original contest called for a regional theater, yet the architect added public space inside the PTFE shell, which increased the building’s impact, according to the Architectural Record.

The PTFE shell runs in bands that align with each of the building’s six stories, with each level of material tilted in the opposite direction of the last, resulting in what Dezeen calls a concertinaed effect. At night, light shines through the facade, both emulating the appearance of a paper lantern and inviting patrons inside. (Radic used a similar shell in his design for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2014.)

Sections of glazing within the shell help illuminate areas for foot traffic, with the interior lights themselves produced by Chilean artist Ivan Navarro.

One side entrance of the structure is sheltered by a band of glazing and the concrete skeleton beneath splaying outward. Two theaters and a rehearsal room are clad in brown paneling, with each area placed at different heights within the grid. The architects compared the frame itself with scaffolding used to support stage props.

According to the Architectural Record, the building cost $33 million, and served as a signal to the city of Concepción, which had been badly damaged in an earthquake in 2010, that this was an area for fun and interaction.



Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Color + Design; Color + Design; Design; Design build; Latin America

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