BAHRAIN – AS Architecture-Studio recently completed the National Theatre of Bahrain.
Situated on an archipelago, the project celebrates the ‘extreme horizontality’ of its site with a wide, flat canopy that spreads over the entire form. The canopy creates shade, filters sunlight, regulates indoor temperatures and increases ventilation. It is composed of woven aluminium strips inspired by Bahrain’s traditional wicker rooftops. The thin canopy of the roof is mirrored in colour and material by the plinth it sits on. This gives the building a formal, austere and classical aesthetic when viewed from the front. The woven, golden roof structure suggests some of the opulence and intricate patterns of Arabic architecture, with a contemporary twist.
Lightscaping animates the roof canopy and reflection pool and adds a touch of theatre-going glamour to the scene. The interior of the concert hall is clad in elm, a wood known for its superior acoustic qualities. The auditorium houses an Italian-style theatre with stage components that can be arranged in different configurations ‘while retaining the same visual and acoustic quality’ of the original construction.
While the front elevation is classical and orthogonal, the view from the side of the building reveals an asymmetric arrangement of sculptural volumes. The auditorium is contained in a gold-panel-clad form that looks like it was dropped into the middle of the otherwise symmetrical building.
Photos courtesy of Nicolas Buisson