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Werkbund Theatre

Henry van de Velde

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1914 | Opening

(detail)1915 | demolision


Henry van de Velde |main architect


The theatre was built on the occasion of the Werkbund Exhibition in the year 1914. It was unfortunately destroyed during World War I only a year later. It was a modern building with a reinforced concrete skeleton, the internal theatre of which was extremely variable. During the period of the Modern Movement more and more designs emerged which forsook the traditional arrangement of the stage and auditorium. The movement away from the loge-stalls system became definitive. Henry Van de Velde's theatre for the Cologne Werkbund Exhibition of 1914 was original. Van de Velde knew both Craig and Reinhardt and designed a building which was intended to be adapted to many different styles of production. The stage is divided into three by pillars, but these are not structural; they can be moved on rails. The auditorium is a plain rectangle with no gallery. From the outside the traditional features—foyer, auditorium, stage—are still clearly defined, though expressed in new forms.



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