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Barkow Leibinger, Schaubühne, Berlin

Restaged: Lobby of the Schaubühne Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

The characteristic semi-circular end of the otherwise rectangular theatre building opens onto the Kurfürstendamm to the north. The lobby is located behind the rounded glass façade; it is an entry hall with a bar, the box office foyer and a small office.

The entry hall of the Schaubühne forms the first of these three components. Before the renovation, this area was home to the box office, which was positioned in the middle of the space as a cylindrical volume with ceiling-high glazing and flanked by two imposing brass columns. Barkow Leibinger Architekten have kept these three main elements, thus preserving the character of the room. As a bar, the cylinder has taken on a new purpose. The round counters are now the heart of the lobby. On the inside of the bar, bespoke fittings function as storage for refrigerators and technical installations; the eye-catching radiators surrounding the outside have been preserved.

In the adjacent space to the west, the former Universum Lounge has become the theatre’s new box office. To the left, there is a curved addition that follows the line of the building and structures the overall area. It functions first and foremost as a seating niche, while the rear area is a sales counter. On the back wall, monitors and presentation areas inform guests about the theatre program and provide sales information. Just opposite, along the glass fronts, benches invite theatre-goers to take a seat. The small, separate office represents the end of the spatial program.

With this design, Barkow Leibinger concentrated on preserving the spirit of the historical structure. The surfaces, either walls or metal sheeting, have been kept in a simple white to complement the existing natural stone flooring. The brass columns and downlights add touches of colour, as do the brown leather coverings of the seating.

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