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Slovak National Theatre - new building

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)2008 | opening


Pavol Paňák |architect
Martin Kusý |architect
Peter Bauer |architect


The institution of the Slovak National Theatre was founded in 1920, two years after the First World War, the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the establishment of an independent state of Czechs and Slovaks. In its early years it was his permanent scene only in the capital of the Slovak part of the country in Bratislava, which sailed from the audience throughout Slovakia. Instead she found in the former historic building. Municipal Theatre in Bratislava. Here is the beginning of stage performers alternated with the German and Hungarian files to their gradual disappearance in the thirties of the 20th century. Although since the beginning of the theatrical activities felt the lack of space for the appearance of all three troupes, the problem is a lack of funds for construction of a new building dedicated solved a long time only provisional. In 1930 the theater moved into the premises when Živnodomu built and started its operation under the name of the Slovak National Theatre - Folk Theatre. After a short time it is different, however, technical problems and shortcomings forced to re-enter the historic buildings of the town theater. Finally moved out of the building in 1955, when the completed building Orszagh Hviezdoslav Paul Theatre. Repertory ballet and opera has remained active in the historical building. Nevertheless, the historic building did not meet capacity requirements and in addition its outdated equipment in disrepair. Reconstruction in the years 1969-1972 some of the deficiencies, the development of theater, however, has called for other - more advanced spatial and technical achievements, and those already exceeded the possibilities of the building. Increasingly, the need for a new one. The first steps were made in the years 1956-1960, but it turned out that "this role is not sufficiently prepared or the competent authority of the National Committee Bratislava (department of planning)." [FISCHER, John: We also in theaters, in: Slovak Theatre, Vol. XXII., 1974, No. 3, p. 379-382.] Neither the public did not seek competition results. In 1968 there was a federal state, prompting a leading political party oi to complete the nationwide network of cultural institutions. Strong impetus was the magazine poll Slovak Theatre, which since the early 70-ies addressed the situation in the Slovak theater.
The late seventies the Ministry of Culture appointed a preparatory commission for the conceptual construction of the new National Theatre building, which should propose appropriate solutions. There were numerous discussions on the need for a new National Theatre building, its eventual location, form and space utilization dovtedajších SND. Generally prevailing idea situate the new building on the Danube embankment, and in some cases already discussed on the current site of the SND. On the issue of forms of theater to enforce the idea trojdivadla (drama, ballet, opera) in one building, although still in debate Slovak Theatre magazine there are other alternatives, although a minority - SND files to build a separate building.
New building to accommodate the theater was the late seventies offered a number of public and internal search competitions. Consideration was given to the Danube embankment site, and to his left and right side and location within the city - in its central urban area. Finally, the selected area on the left bank of the Danube, in the zone Martanovicova. It was the site of the former Apollo mineral oil refinery, which remained after the war greatly devastated. Options for its cultural and social use, however, has been known since the early 60's, when the Slovak Architects Association announced a study to locate the future role of the assembly of the town square with a monument VI Lenin (1962-1963) and the winning design attention on this very site. Shortly afterwards, when it appeared the need to build print publishing combine truth, there was a further invitation, this time anonymous public official urban planning and architectural competition for this site. Should there arise governmental, entertainment, cultural and social center, containing oi already building small theater theatrical forms. On this idea and eventually forged a decision on the location of the Slovak National Theatre.
At 1 May 1979 was written out in a national public anonymous urban-architectural competition, in which the jury awarded first 02/25/1980 reduced price tender architects Peter Bauer, Martin Paul Kusy and drink. The winning project became the basis for the preparatory process and design the new building. The construction began in 1986. Long construction period and conditions since 1989 have caused concern about new construction weakness theater. Due to financial problems are delaying the completion of the building several times, in 2007 the government even consider its sale. However, this idea resigned and new Slovak National Theatre was completed in 2008. The authors of interior solutions are Šutek Edward, Alexandra Kusa.
Building international scene and their representative stands is significant especially for the period 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, when it was linked to the struggle for national self-determination for small nations in Europe. During this period, the Slovaks also tried to position his National Theatre (in 60-ies in Liptovsky Mikulas), but these efforts failed for lack of political, social and cultural assumptions. Slovak theater existed throughout the 19th century based on amateurism, in many places before resembling folk theater. There was no systematic work (even at the end of the century in the largest theater center - in Martin, the theater only played a few times a year), the theater or meet higher demands. There was therefore a more solid basis on which the idea could be building for the Slovak Theatre stand. Representatives of national revival in addition to select multiple means of representing themselves, which belonged mainly literature and folk art. Theatre also played a role here, but not so strong as in the case of the Czech nation. Therefore, the efforts of the Slovak nationalists drew on the status of the multifunctional building Matica Slovenská and later the National House. They were part of the theaters, but were equivalent to the compartments for other national institutions.
Further experiments on the status of the National Theatre took place in the 20's of 20th century. This was not solely on practical grounds (capacity deficiencies), which prompted them, therefore the problems with finances rather solve the problem of provisional (treatment rooms Živnodomu). And last - a successful attempt was based on purely practical reasons. The idea of a national theater to stand so nezdôrazňovala. Construction of the theater was more interest than the entire State of Bratislava, where the existing or build new "Slovak" theaters. Social perception, however, reversed after 1989, when there are problems with funding and a real risk that the building was disposed of. Then again emerged the idea of the Slovak "national" theater that would have put the Slovaks. Nevertheless, that did not meet with stronger interests of citizens, the new building can be seen as a theater delayed realization of ideas of national theaters one hundred years ago.
Slovak National Theatre building was built as a opera and drama, with two halls and studio, located in two relatively independent structures. The whole building is built on an elevated plateau. Outwardly, the two compounds form a rectangular cube buildings, which protrudes above the body povraziska stage. From the west building is located less drama, from the east side connects to it over a larger opera house. -Relationship linking element here is glazed metal structure of the entertainment staircase. Of the embankment is in both theaters cube cut semicircular cut entrance courtyard. The whole convex front entrance, which was created following is from II. overhead floors designed as full glass  wall, split in the middle front wall of the staircase of the body. Other facades are covered with white travertine Spis, regular breakdown of large areas of significant horizontal windows. Both halls - The acting and opera, are composed by two diagonal cube in the space between their assembly areas interact with a cloakroom and a buffet. The central element is the already mentioned stately staircase with relief Source by Peter Bauer, Dusan Buri at the beginning. The whole area of representation spaces, like the exterior siding applied Spis travertine. The halls were designed to meet current demands on the theater operation. (Rear panel view is the trigger, making the drama hall in time for entering and breaks spatially associated with the foyer. In relation to the stage you can create theatrical space from the classical to the arena. "[Bauer, Peter, KUSÝ Martin, Paul SHOTS : Word of authors, in: Project, Vol. 22, 1980, no.10, p.7-eighth]). Aspects of both halls have a triangular footprint cut a circle in the back of the two balconies are located. Representative nature gives them lining the walls Spis travertine. The third area is an experimental theater scene - Studio, located at a point of contact of the two theater buildings. Greenroom and employee service areas surrounding the staging of the opera and drama. Actors and staff have devoted a separate entrance from the north side, the theater management has also its own entry with a special vertical core from the western side of the building. On the top floors of the two theaters are the proving ground. Beside the theater building activities can serve the Slovak National Theatre and other cultural and social events. Part of the foyer are the exhibition spaces, use independent from the theater of operation as an autonomous exhibition hall, restaurant, club and espresso. The semicircular arrangement of the two fronts of buildings to allow the creation of the object itself round the square, creating continual transition between interior and exterior. "(...) Creating like arms for various social activities of man in the exterior and interior SND, predicts the Assembly experience - it is actually a scene for viewers from outside and from the foyer and lobby (...)" [BAUER, Peter, Martin KUSÝ , Paul SHOTS: Word of authors, in: Project, Vol. 22, 1980, no.10, p.7-8. ] Such a solution to some extent already herald a more general tendency in the development of theatrical spaces (Puppet Theatre in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica), seeking to extend the phenomenon to the theater and its surroundings alone building. Art is completion of the courtyard is a sculpture fountain by the authors Alexandra Bilkoviča, Ilya Skočka and Paul Bauer and plastic water cascade in the middle of the boarding stairs from Peter Roller.
Area of unused land on which the theater was built, allowed architects, unlike other theaters determine the form of new buildings all around, while the theater has become the dominant element. It was first assigned to theater roles to become formotvorným factor for construction throughout the neighborhood, and together be "architectural and urban counterpart to the historical landmarks of the city, which will symbolize the present and (...) Socialist Socialist lifestyle." [7] Through vistas architects in dealing with songs compositional account of the building and building links to two features of the city - the Danube and Bratislava Castle. "These two moments determine a core curriculum for building ground plan developed harmoniously in a vertical direction / axis I. north-south / and horizontal / axis II. East - West / axis. "[ŠPTÚ Bratislava, Studio 07, New building of SND Bratislava. The initial project second construction. Text section. Documentation of visual completion of new build architecture SND, February 1985]. Genesis of new building of Slovak National Theatre was full of complications and extended over decades. In 1968 when Czechoslovakia became a federative state Slovak part lacked numerous state institutions including the cultural ones. An idea of necessity to provide company of National Theatre with better up-to-date conditions for development of theatre art was pressing as early as in the beginning of 1970´s and was followed by numerous public discussions in the daily press. Main reason for starting discussion was a lack of modern and adequate theatre space. An urban planning and architectural contest took place in 1979-1980 oriented both on finding an ideal locality for the new building and an adequate design for such an important theatre institution. The winning project of three architects Peter Bauer, Martin Kusý, Pavol Paňák situated the new building in the environment of a former refinery Apollo close to Danube, a locality which was planned to be transformed into a new cultural and social centre of the city. Besides the theatre, other cultural buildings and objects were also planned (museum, monument), as well as public facilities (accommodation, eating and entertainment facilities).

Construction works on new building started in 1986. Change of political circumstances and eventually the revolution three years after brought significant problems mainly the financial ones, so the works protracted to another 20 years. Just before the finalization considerations about whether not to sell the building to a private investor became a big topic of polemics for several years. After fiery discussions of experts and broader public eventually the building was not sold. New building of Slovak National Theatre was opened  on 14th April 2007.



Fašang, Vladimír: Novostavba Slovenského národného divadla. Výsledky súťaže, in: Projekt, volume 22, November 1980, n. 10, s. 5.

Maťašík, Andrej: Posledné dejstvo budovania novostavby Slovenského národného divadla v Bratislave. Výber z archívnych materiálov  a spojovacie texty, in: Slovenské divadlo. Revue dramatických umení, volume 55, 2007, n.2, s. 245-327.

Hornák, Gerhard, Kuzmová Michaela (editors): Zborník súťažných návrhov na riešenie novostavby Slovenského národného divadla v Bratislave, Bratislava 1983

Zalčík, Tibor: Z tvorby slovenských architektov. Projekt nového Slovenského národného divadla, in: Projekt, XXVI., 1984, n.9, s.20, 27-31.

Šteis, Rudolf: Významný podiel pre urbanizmus a architektúru I.časť, in: Projekt, volume 22, 1980, n.10, s.7-8.

Šteis, Rudolf: Významný podiel pre urbanizmus a architektúru II.časť, in: Projekt, volume 23, 1981, n.1-2, s. 58-59.  



Author: Viera Dlhánová

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