The Theatre de Stoep in Spijkenisse, Netherlands celebrates its official opening today. The theatre, which is located on the outskirts of Rotterdam, was designed by UNStudio in collaboration with engineering designers Arup, Amsterdam. It marks another project in Rotterdam’s (and Spijkenisse’s in particular) cultural emergence.
The building’s exterior is a wave-form design of layered aluminium that is covered in recessed LED lights that glow purple at night. The shape is not just about form but is designed to create minimal disruption to wind flow that could disturb a traditionally Dutch local landmark – the 19th century Nooitgedacht windmill.
Inside, one of the key features is the adjustable ceiling within the main auditorium. As a performance space for a variety of concerts from rock to opera as well as theatre and dance events, acoustic versatility was a top priority. Advances in acoustic control meant that ceiling elements can be adjusted for height and angle as required giving optimum volume and sound quality for all areas of the auditorium.
The central, column-free, vertical foyer is the pivotal point of the social function of the theatre where visitors can gather and mingle. Viewpoints into the foyer from several levels almost mimic the performance/audience experience. From the foyer, a sculptural stairway forms the binding element towards the entrances to the theatre rooms.
Within the overall space but arranged around the central foyer are the theatre’s functional areas - two auditoria, the larger can seat 650 with the smaller accommodating 200, along with a grand café restaurant, artists café and dressing rooms, function rooms and offices. The two main theatre spaces are positioned to receive the visitor flow directly from the foyer and the public square. The theatre café is located adjacent to the nearby water and is designed as a third theatre, in the form of an amphitheatre.
Light plays an integral role in the design. At night the purple glowing exterior of the theatre lends an air of extraordinary and other worldliness to enhance the nature of theatre going – suspended belief. The same is true of the interior with lighting that is aimed to enhance mood and atmosphere. During the day natural light comes from the glass façade and also through the partly transparent roof surface above.
Client: Municipality of Spijkenisse
Building surface: 7000 sq m gross/ 5700 sq m net
Building volume: 42000 cb m
Building site: 3600 sq m
Capacity main auditorium: 656 (467 + 189 on balcony) Small auditorium: 200
3D drawings: © Arup
Photos: © Peter Guenzel, Jan Paul Mioulet & Peter de Jong
UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Jacques van Wijk and Hans Kooij, Lars Nixdorff, Thomas Harms, Gustav Fagerstrom, Ramon van der Heijden Tatjana Gorbachewskaja, Jesca de Vries, Wesley Lanckriet, Maud van Hees, Benjamin Moore, Henk van Schuppen, Philipp Mecke, Colette Parras, Daniela Hake, Mazin Orfali and Selim Ahmad
Engineer design phase (structures and building services): Arup, Amsterdam
Engineer execution (structure and architecture): IOB, Hellevoetsluis
Advisor installations execution phase: De Blaay – Van den Boogaard, Rotterdam
Lighting design: Arup, Amsterdam
Theatre technique: PB theateradviseurs, Uden
Acoustics: SCENA akoestisch adviseurs, Uden