“Something a person devotes his or her later life to, after retiring or quitting a former occupation.”
definition of ‘SECOND ACT’
Grounded on previous investigations of flexibility through kinetics, this thesis features the design of a speculative playhouse situated in two 19th century brick gas holders formerly utilized by Wola Gasworks in Warsaw.
The proposal is split into front of house with additional serving functions and the heart of the theatre - the stage and auditorium - to fit into and wrap around the two Varsovian towers.
More precisely, the interior of the first, smaller gas holder is being used as the public foyer with all theatre related public and non-public functions located in a the tower surrounding belt.
Being placed in the other, higher one of both gas holders, a large-scale kinetic apparatus enables the theatre to generate a myriad of different visitor experiences ranging from a more familiar stage/auditorium ensemble to far more experimental setups.
Site information and background
The site and the existing structures were carefully investigated for their reusability (gallery above). Furthermore, for the proposal only inevitable changes are created to the existing structures to safeguard the local heritage while at the same time reducing the release of waste through demolition works.
Front of House Tower
Behind the metal facade the first of the two gas holders hosts the front of house and other for the theatre required facilities.
While non-public functions are revolving around the existing structure on the upper floors, relevant public functions are mostly situated in the ground floor.
There, the courtyard serves as circulation area and main access to box office, exhibition spaces, wardrobes, bar, and public bathrooms.
Perforated Metal Facade
Two methods were used to render information of space related requirements on data maps which then served for folding (defining viewing angles/privacy) and perforation (limiting transparency) patterns for the FOH tower's facade.
These were combined with ornaments resembling mechanics of the kinetic tower to give the facade a unique identity.
Alltogether this new skin reveals parts of the old building, highlights extrovert and protects introvert areas.
Drawing inspiration from the old pressure regulating mechanism of the gas holder, kinetic, utopic designs facilitating flexibile uses and roller coaster carriages, a complex kinetic apparatus is placed into the existing structure.
The mechanism allows for the movement of stages and elements along a rail system using modular rail wagons.
Furthermore, the two part auditorium is centered on a scissor lift with rotation platform allowing it to move vertically and orient itself to active stages.
Finally, three distinct scenarios were developed to show unique configurations of tools: From a play celebrating the journey of the story itself in form of a sensible architectural sequence, - over a performance where the sense of place and orientation almost gets lost as objects and actors are flown through the space - to finally dynamic mutation of spaces and acrobatic acts.