The jury of the international competition for the Cité du Théâtre (City of the Theater) in Paris, convened by the French Ministry of Culture and three prestigious theatrical institutions -the Comédie-Française, the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique and the Théâtre National de I’Odéon awarded the First Prize to the project of the team led by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (Madrid-Berlin), with the collaboration of the associated French office Marin+Trottin Architectes (Paris).
The future ensemble will be located in the Ateliers Berthier, belonging to the Ministry of Culture, built in 1895 by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris Opera. After a first phase in which ten international architectural firms were selected, finalists were Nieto Sobejano (Spain), Fabre Speller (France) and Foster + Partners (Great Britain) who later developed their proposals in a second phase.
The winning project of Nieto Sobejano, is based on the creation of a large elevated garden that establishes a visual continuity with the Martin Luther King Park located on the other side of Avenue Berthier. This garden, conceived as a wide urban stage, accentuates the protagonism of the Garnier buildings, which will be restored respecting their structure and materiality.
A long building with a vegetal facade of more than 200 meters in length, unifies and embraces the ensemble as a large background curtain, following the geometry of the historical nineteenth century wall of Thiers whose existing remains will be preserved and restored. The Cité du Théâtre – with an area of 24.000 m2 – will house a program of uses that includes the construction of six new modular:
-theater halls, for the Comédie-Française (of 250 and 600 spectators), for the Théâtre National de I’Odéon (of 250 and 500 spectators) and for the Conservatoire National (100 and 200 spectators). The Garnier Hall, listed as a Historical Monument, will become a large covered public space that will give access to the common areas to the three institutions: workshops, classrooms, didactic rooms, library-media library and restaurants.
The project is aware of the essential role of architecture in sustainable urban development. It will generate a new public space for citizens, preserving the existing historical structures and providing green spaces that will transform the Cité du Théâtre into one of the great cultural centers of Paris. Source and images Courtesy of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos.