The future expansion of the most important space dedicated to performing arts in La Rioja (Spain) was a closer reality with the publication, a few months ago, of the competition for the design of the Nuevo Bretón Theater in the center of Logroño. The Bretón Theater was inaugurated in 1880. One hundred and forty years later, we wanted to update it to today’s needs.
The location of this new infrastructure within the city walls put the formal resolution of the façade as a main concern. Using stone, characteristic of Logroño’s old buildings, and arcades, such as those found on the façades of La Redonda or San Bartolomé, we created a design that was idiosyncratic and, at the same time, respectful of its surroundings.
Materiality and form articulated a contemporary but classicist proposal that allowed the theater to be integrated into the historic city.
We imagined a façade with rhythm and depth, forming the backdrop of an urban scenography. The buildings’s openings were framed by flared arches of carved sandstone masonry. The arches formed sequences in depth that generated a three-dimensional rhythm.
The variety of contemporary performing arts led us to organize the program to create three new stages, each with a distinct identity.
The most important and largest venue of the theater, the Lejárraga Stage, was designed as a black box with seating for 250 people. It had retractable seats to allow for the maximum number of stage configurations. The entire room was located at the same level to facilitate the theater’s logistical operations. It was organized as a clean, symmetrical, technified box, in which any configuration was possible, either Italian-style or central.
On the roof, we designed a second multifunctional room, the Leon Stage, with a terrace overlooking the city views. Smaller but equally versatile, it not only increased the number of programmable spaces, but its rooftop location gave this space a distinctive identity.
However, the most unique space of the proposal was the one located in the foyer of the Nuevo Bretón. This was the Scaena Stage. This room was conceived as a connector between worlds. It was designed as a linking element between the urban scenario and the scenes inside the theater. Thus, the lobby not only organized the circulations. It was transparent to the street through a large window. This large window was retractable. This eliminated any air of elitism. And allowed programming new stage formats, such as micro-theater, performance, children’s theater or street theater.