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Vibrant performance space deserves a round of applause

“Wonderful and creative building that is well integrated into its context. The internal spaces are engaging and well detailed. I enjoyed the confidence of the interior and found this to be a mature building which was engaging and fun,” James Twomey, Judge

Project: New Comédie de Genève Theatre

Award: Civic- The Arts, Gold, 2022

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Architect: FRES Architectes

Client: City of Geneva, Directorate of Built Heritage (DPBA)

This cutting-edge performance space is more than just a theatre – it’s a vibrant centre for the arts with a plethora of convivial public areas which can be enjoyed throughout the day. Its glass façade showcases the double-height foyer with its café, restaurant, library and ticket offices. The building’s core features two halls joined by a single foyer on two levels. The larger of the two seats 500, and has a traditional theatre design. The smaller hall, which seats 250 is an experimentational performance space with a modular seating system that can be configured in different ways and walls lined with fibre-reinforced concrete slats for outstanding acoustics.

Design highlights

At night the building’s intelligent façade is transformed by red lighting, which beckons audiences in and makes for a striking landmark on the city skyline. In order to mitigate noise and vibrations from the nearby railway the architects created an ingenious “box within a box” over the two theatres, which is supported by independent structures which in turn rest on springs. Located in a new neighbourhood on the edge of Geneva the theatre plays its part in the city’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. Its foyer is a bioclimatic space meaning that  passive solar gain heats the space in winter, while in summer natural ventilation from openings at the top of the building keep the space cool.

  • New Comédie de Genève Theatre
  • New Comédie de Genève Theatre
  • New Comédie de Genève Theatre
  • New Comédie de Genève Theatre
  • New Comédie de Genève Theatre
  • New Comédie de Genève Theatre
  • New Comédie de Genève Theatre

Photo credit: Yves André 

  • LEAD ARCHITECTS: Laurent Gravier, Sara Martin Cámara
    PROJECT TEAM: Marina Alvarez Auriguiberry, Hector Arderius, Valentina Bezzo, Joana De Castro Gonçalves, Sara Dell'Osa, Thibault De Reure, Teresa Diaz Rodriguez, Evariste Exposito, Eurico Gomes, Lisa Gramond, Matthieu Grolier, Vincent Hannebert, Domitille Jalard, Amélie Lallemand, Nicolas Marillaud, Cristina Moldes Andres, Hugo Moy, Laszlo Nef, Sandra Palau Montava, Ulysse Panel, Catherine Péresson, Bertrand Perrot, Guillaume Prolonge, Killian Roland, Clément Rongier, Emma Sassi, François Vandewalle

  • SCENOGRAPHY: Changement à Vue
    ACOUSTICS: Kahle Acoustics
    FACADE CONSULTANT: Emmer Pfenninger & Partner
    STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: T Ingénierie Batiserf Brasey

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