New Luxor Theatre
The New Luxor Theatre is a major cultural injection strategically located to animate the Kop van Zuid, Rotterdam s new harbour quarter. It faces both the Maas river and Rijn harbour, a new actor on the urban stage, a free-standing hinge element which thematicises the multiple orientation of its site with a single wrapping façade, a dynamic 360° building.
Rotation is organisational as well as formal. An internalised ramp allows three 18-metre long trucks to park directly beside the first-floor stage. A close packing of the ramp form around the symmetrical figure of the stage and auditorium produces an unexpected and dynamic plan diagram. Backstage slips appropriately to the street side, to the public realm. The ramp roof provides an architectural promenade within the foyer, spiralling the audience from the ground-floor entrance hall to the dramatic views of the south facing Rijnhaven foyer.
The Luxor auditorium seats 1500. Enclosing wooden panels and acoustically transparent side screens produce the effect of a giant scaled musical instrument, a surprisingly intimate room . Lowerable crumpled reflecting clouds modify the acoustics to the precise requirements of opera or electronically amplified musicals.
Foyer-Atmosphere - An ambience of luxury is invoked by the thematic red on the external spiral façade. The inside of this wrapping surface is lined in red-orange wood panels. In the spacious ascending foyers seeing and being seen are theatrically orchestrated. From upper levels large glazed walls open to spectacular urban panoramas.
Language - The external façade is of red fibre-cement panels overlapped with an exaggerated shadowline like scaled-up curved planks of a wooden boat. This façade detail allows a vertical curvature in the west elevation, and a grading of light tones around horizontal curves. The Luxor is animated by lettering on the façades in a specially developed Luxor typeface. Marking the entrance is a giant Luxor lantern supporting a flytower high portal which gives the arriving audience the feeling of being itself on stage. The intentions of this building are to facilitate with an appropriate spatial theatricality the well working of complex programmatic logistics.