Culture for All: Vendsyssel Theatre by Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Client: Stadt Hjørring, Realdania
Architects: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Location: Hjørring (DK)
The Hjørring theatre comprises several cubic volumes. From outside, these seem randomly strewn, but the effect inside is all the more focused. Thanks to the visual subdivision into more than one building body, the structure does not overshadow the neighbouring buildings with its presence, but rather enters into a dialogue with them. In the daytime, the warm, rust-red Corten steel façade corresponds with the area’s brown brick and red roofs. However, when the performances start in the evenings the building draws all attention to itself. LEDs illuminate the frosted-glass façades in a colourful backlit interplay.
The cubes, which are closed off for the most part, are home to the stages and workshop. On the front side of the complex, they are held together by a low wing that is glazed over its entire length. Upstairs, this wing accommodates offices. Downstairs, it features the lobby and a café, but also access to the three public stages- in contrast to the rehearsal stage, which lurks behind the concert hall. Two types of stage are available for theatre performances: a black box in the centre of the building and an amphitheatre with 430 seats.
The amphitheatre is proof that in this design, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects played with the boundaries between public space and backstage. The green room is upstairs, behind the spectators’ seats, meaning the two areas are connected by an unconventional perspective. Exceptionally, actors can transform into spectators and spectators into performers.
Boundaries are fuzzy outside as well. The square around the theatre is set up for planned events, but works for spontaneous happenings too. According to Foldbjerg Lassen, the theatre will “present itself as a living organism in the city” and will make it possible for everyone to have access to cultural events.