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DISK - Theatre of the Theatre Faculty of the AMU in Prague

Jiří Hakulín, Karel Hubáček

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Important events

(detail)1998 | Opening of the new building

The new structure of the DISK theatre, came about over the years 1996-1998 according to a project by the architects Karel Hubáček and Jiří Hakulín . The official opening of the building took place in December 1998. The theatre received the Prize of the Mayor of the Capital City of Prague in the year 1999 in the competition for structure of the year.


People

(detail)Jiří Hakulín |main architect

Contemporary Czech architect.

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(detail)Karel Hubáček |main architect

His most famous work is the Ještěd tower, which is considered by some as the one of the most original buildings in the Czech Republic. This structure is on the list of UNESCO. He was the member of the atelier "SIAL".

Source: Wikipedia

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History

The new structure of the DISK theatre, situated in the internal courtyard of the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU) in Prague, came about over the years 1996-1998 according to a project by the architects Karel Hubáček (SIAL s. r. o. Liberec) and Jiří Hakulín (A&D Studio Liberec).

The history of the complex of buildings on Řetězová and Karlova streets dates far back into the Middle Ages where two free-standing burgher houses originally stood. Shortly prior to the middle of the 17th century, after a range of construction changes, the houses became the property of the Kokořovec of Kokořov aristocratic family. Both houses were connected up after major reconstruction work in the year 1697 by Count Ferdinand Hroznata. The structure received another storey in the second half of the 18th century as well as a new, high Baroque façade. The new structure of the St. Wenceslas Savings Bank was built on the sites of houses numbers 166, 169, 171 and 172, next to house no. 223 on Karlova street, by the builder František Kindl in the year 1889. At this time the layout and appearance of the courtyard wing of the building was transformed. The façades facing out on Řetězová street maintained their high Baroque character while the  façade looking out on Karlova street had a relatively richly decorated eclectic Neo-Renaissance look.

Karel Hubáček (born 1924), the founder of the Liberec association of architects SIAL, obtained (as the only Czech architect) the Perret Prize in the year 1969 from the International Union of Architects for his most renowned design, the television transmitter and Ještěd Hotel in Liberec. This celebrated architect has rich experience with designing of theatres, adapting the hall for the Naivní divadlo (Naïve Theatre) (1967-69), reconstructing the Malá scéna (Small Stage) (1986-89) and the operational building (1990-93) of Divadlo F.X. Šaldy ( F.X. Šalda Theatre).He had already designed the experimental theatre in Prague - Jižní město (South Town, 1980-83) for DAMU in Prague. He also designed the building for Husa na provázku (1983) on Orlí street in Brno and completed, after Václav Králíček, in cooperation with Jiří Hakulín the new structure of the Theatre pod Petrovem (1992-93). In the year 1995 DAMU commissioned Karel Hubáček to design the theatre building in the courtyard of their own school. Karel Hubáček here, along with Jiří Hakulín, updated the entrance foyer of the theatre (in the areas of the former Neo-Renaissance building) and carried out the new structure of the playhouse. The new structure was inserted into a historical complex of buildings. The architects could not make use of the second basement under the courtyard as a stream flowed there and additionally could not block the classrooms of the school with a new above ground volume. An acute lack of money from the investor (DAMU) and first and foremost disagreement between various schools of DAMU were negative factors over the course of the realisation. Despite these problems, an extremely quality structure, impressive in terms of its exterior, came about arising from the unmistakeable Machine aesthetics of SIAL.

The architects tried to preserve all of the quality elements of the entrance areas during the reconstruction: the stucco, marble columns, pilasters, vaulting, cornices, etc. The aim was to keep marked historical records of the original Neo-Renaissance design of the space. The foyer was, consequently, supplemented by several new Post-Modernist elements (for example, the columns) which disturbed the original monumentality. The demolition of the large opening in the dividing supporting wall and the insertion of a pair of columns with dark blue metallization brought about an expansion of the given space. They placed new elements into the foyer, these being a partition which both horizontally and vertically undulates and covers up all of the operational spaces: the dressing room, cashbox, reception area and the snack bar. The construction of the partition is from wooden milled profiles covered with metal lathing of a dark blue colour. The partition also serves to absorb the design of the sound. The newly inserted elements differ in terms of their shape (rounded, smooth shapes), their material (metal lathing, stainless steel, terrazzo, wood: oak and cherry) and their colour, the basic colour of the interior consists of values of colour with the original walls remaining white.  

The theatre hall of a rectangular ground plan was situated by the architects into the trapezoidal space of the courtyard and vaulted by a curved, acoustically appropriate, shell. The anchoring of the shell with four corner steel columns also allowed the authors to incorporate the arched arcade demarcating the courtyard into the design of the space.  

The external shape, covering the shell in the shape of a submarine, is clad in Reynobond material with the intention of harmonizing with the purposes of the student theatre. The author of the theatre himself, Karel Hubáček, refers to it as the 'Nautilus'. The wide wooden stair levels on the curved parts of the roof were designed for active relaxation, discussions, presentations and additional informal student events. 

The floor of the theatre hall was decreased by 1.50 metres in contrast to the level of the foyer in order to increase the clearance. The walls are clad with Sonning acoustic panels covered by metal lathing. The lower part of the walls consists of wooden acoustic sidings while the lowest part is removable. Suspended theatre galleries were also covered on the bottom with metal lathing. A collection of so-called oscillating panels are situated in the upper part of the hall which serve to absorb low frequencies in a priority manner. The more technical character of the interior is contrasted with by the wooden (alder) floor along with the marked elements of the railings of the staircase. The stage space can be easily altered through movement of the metal practical items or left traditionally in the position of an 'operaglass'  theatre. The auditorium is designed for an audience of from 150-180 people and consists of levels of steps with moveable chairs.

The official opening of the building took place in December 1998. The theatre received the Prize of the Mayor of the Capital City of Prague in the year 1999 in the competition for structure of the year.

Literature:

- Vlček, Pavel: (ed.), Umělecké památky Prahy. Staré Město a Josefov. Praha 1996, s. 221-222 (stať Pavla Vlčka).

- Hubáček, Karel & Hakulín, Jiří: Divadlo DISK DAMU; Architekt XLV, 1999, č. 8, s. 13- 15.

- Švácha, Rostislav: Ponorka pro DAMU; Architekt XLV, 1999, č. 8, s. 16.

- Žikovský, Josef:  K rekonstrukci divadla DAMU. Disk & akustika; Architekt XLV, 1999, č. 8,  s. 72.

- Karel Hubáček, Divadlo DAMU – DISK; Fórum architektury a stavitelství VII, 1999, č. 8-9,   s. 44- 46.

- Hilmera, Jiří: Česká divadelní architektura; Praha 1999, s. 174-175, obr. 282-283.

 

 

Tags: Contemporary era, yard extension

 

Author: Markéta Svobodová

Translator: David Livingstone

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