Kuopio City Theatre restoration and extension

Kuopio, Finlande
view from the direction of the city center
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
restored theater
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
renovated theater with extension in the background
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
exterior view
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
outdoor auditorium
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
restored large theater hall
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
foyer extension
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
new studio stage
Photo © Tuomas Uusheimo
ALA Architects
Niiralankatu 2, 70600 Kuopio, Finlande
City of Kuopio

The restored Kuopio City Theatre is a 1960’s modernist building by architects Helmer Stenros and Risto-Veikko Luukkonen. The extension by ALA includes a new 200-seat studio stage with flexible seating and stage mechanics. New spaces have also been provided for loading and logistics, costume manufacturing and storage, as well as the support functions of the new stage.

The only visible alteration when approaching the theater from the direction of the city center is the four meter elevation of the theater tower. The tower was raised to fit the completely updated stage technology of the main stage. The add-on forms a glowing glass lantern, leaving the distinctive shape of the old tower recognizable.

The extension is a simple rectangular volume located perpendicularly to the original volume. It is a solid, contemporary addition which continues and complements the old structure with equal quality and permanence. The public foyer is extended between the old and new volumes as a bridge-like angled space, which floats above the new outdoor auditorium created between the two volumes. The original main entrance serves both halls.

The old building has a beautiful and timeless material palette consisting of white concrete panels, terracotta tiles and glass. To mirror these materials, the extension is clad in white fiber concrete panels with a wrinkled, varying surface form, which indicates a similar acoustically optimized cladding inside the new hall. Also the new interior spaces follow the original color scheme.

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