Théâtre Elisabéthain du Château d’Hardelot (Condette, France) has been nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, the EU’s most prestigious biennial prize for contemporary architecture.
L+A Landscape Architecture, the firm led by IIT Professor and MLA+U Program Director Ron Henderson, was consulting Landscape Architect for the project.
The theater – designed by the architect Andrew Todd – is a cylinder of wood and bamboo discreetly sited between a stand of horsechestnut trees and a wetland meadow on the grounds of Château d’Hardelot. It is the first round theater built in France since the Revolution.
The landscape is distinguished by a stand of Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) and Tilia tomentosa (linden, or lime tree) that were preserved by the careful placement and pre-fabricated construction techniques of the theater. Paths of crushed seashells give access to the theater and to the restored wetland meadow adjacent to the theater.
“The approach is deliberately indirect, obliging you to stroll round the edge of the building through a grove of chestnuts and limes, pause before a fine view of the landscape and another of the castle, and turn to enter the theatre. That the building is of timber – which is not easy to achieve in a complex structure built to modern regulations about such things as spread of fire – gives it a provisional air, as if it might disappear in an act of Prospero’s magic … Inside and out it has a sense of incompletion, of waiting to be remade with its performances.” (from the review by Rowan Moore, The Observer, 26 June 2016)