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Continuo Theatre - Švestkový dvůr

Martin Rajniš, Martin Kloda, David Kubík

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Important events

(detail)2010 | project


(detail)Martin Rajniš |main architect

An absolvent of the Faculty of Architecture at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague by professor František  Cubr for two years, then he entered the school of Sial in Liberec that was directed by Miroslav Masák and Karel Hubáček. In the team with John Eisler and Miroslav  Masák, he designed the department store Máj/Tesco/My (1971-75) in Prague. With architects Stanislav Fiala, Tomáš Prouza and Jiří Zima, he founded D.A. studio at the beginning of the 1990s that realized High-Tech architecture – the factory Sipral in Prague-Strašnice (1995-96) or the shopping mall Nový Smíchov (1999-2001). He was developing systems of timber construction in the team with Patrik Hoffman in the atelier H.R.A. (2003-2005). In 2010, Martin Rajniš with his atelier e-MRAK and Zlatý řez periodical  represented the Czech Republic at the 12th Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Martin Kloda |main architect
David Kubík |main architect


The architecture is going through a crisis. People are not satisfied by our houses. How it is possible that cars, ships, planes satisfy them, they are beautiful and perfect? It is because cars have to go, ships sail, planes fly. It is a design that is  deeply understood, inspired by nature: aerodynamics similar to birds, symmetry of axes similar to all animals. The essence of a car, plane, ship is genuinely constructional, the aesthetic aspect is secondary at the same time. The architecture is in a crisis, because it does not follow these principles. It is necessary to start creating in a different way: instead of design and aesthetics to be inspired by deep laws of nature. To loose oneself in the environment, in the system, in which we have arisen...

( a selection from the Manifesto of the e-MRAK studio)


The Continuo Theatre is an international, independent theatre group that is led by director and impresario Pavel  Štourač. Since 1995, the group – community has been residing and working in a village Malovice in South Bohemia, roughly 25 km from České Budějovice, on the grounds of a former farm called „Švestkový dvůr“. The theatre employs “physical acting”, motion, dance, circus techniques, live music and art arrangements for their work. Actors’ training, individual or collective laboratory effort belong to their work. The theatre consciously follows the tradition of creators of the second theatre reform from the 1960s and 1970s (Jerzy Grotowsky, Richard Schechner, Peter Brook etc.).

Architect Martin Rajniš is intensively engaged in experiments with wooden constructions in the last ten years, in which he let himself be inspired by engineering designs, structures of natural materials and animals or buildings  of primitive peoples. In Malovice, the team of e-Mrak faced rebuilding of a traditional country farm for a theatre community. The goal of the reconstruction was to improve the working conditions of the company members and to enable organization of cultural events for public.  The Švestkový dvůr has been adapted for these purposes step by step, but the areal lacks a central theatre hall in the first place that would be open to public. The existing building is composed of three wings, the hall was to be erected in the location of a dilapidated barn in the west section of the complex. The north and south wings were to be converted into the theatre background according to the project. The e-Mrak atelier designed a theatre hall from a light wooden structure as an open area without a clearly distinguished stage and auditorium. So a wooden box with variable space should have come into existence that would be accessible from all the sides, a sort of a light, positive black box. The architects inserted a storey into the area on the north side that could be used as an area for a sound or lighting engineer, direction or for an auditorium – a balcony or bar.

The designers reserved the area in the attic of the existing buildings for the background of the theatre and interconnected them with the theatre hall through outer access balconies. The entire entrance area – the yard between both the wings is roofed in the project  and serves as a foyer or a sort of a public platform. The entire complex is enlarged by an annex of lower side wings that should serve as workshops, classrooms etc.

The architectural design respects the existing form and urbanistic arrangement of the whole. The theatre hall substitutes the original barn and so preserves the layout of the farm. The design employs the traditional vocabulary – an inclined roof with small overhangs, long narrow dormers and materials – walled structures, white plaster, timber.


L: http://www.hutarchitektury.cz/index.php?lang=cs&page=projects&part=0&project=130&image=320



Author: Markéta Svobodová

Translator: Jan Purkert

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