MDU architetti: theater in montalto di castro
MDU architetti: theater in montalto di castro MDU architetti: theater in montalto di castro
nov 29, 2012
MDU architetti: theater in montalto di castro

‘theater in montalto di castro’ by MDU architetti, montalto di castro, italy
image © pietro savorelli
all images courtesy of MDU architetti




situated in the historical etruscan city of montalto di castro, the new theater by italian practice MDU architetti blends in the original architectural vernacular of the region with its contemporary aesthetic based around the industrial language to create a visual synthesis and a unique theatrical experience. the peculiar feature of this particular theater is that it has no real doors or walls, but rather voids carved out of a solid concrete volume, visually open from the entrance to the stage. ideal acoustic conditions are achieved through the floor plan design, with walls wrapped in wood-louvers to control reverberation times and retractable curtains for further seclusion. the 400-seat auditorium faces the main stage with a curtain wall backdrop that opens to communicate with the 500-seat outdoor amphitheater in the back that may share the same stage but in a differing environment. the fly tower also becomes a unique characteristic of the project. resting above the grandstand wrapped in an alveolar polycarbonate skin camouflages itself during the day and glows at night with light from the interior. the subtle change in textures and materials present in factory architecture is represented in the project through the colder concrete mass exterior with its great proportions, most notably at the entrance, with the surface detail of the wood formwork which contrasts with the warmer timber inside.

illuminated fly tower
image © pietro savorelli



the architects explain the concept behind their project:


‘the montalto di castro theatre is an opportunity to create a new urban place where citizens can reconnect with each other through the effigy of the new architecture: designed as a place with latent urban potential, the theatre involves the area around it bestowing it with new meaning. from a strategic point of view, the theatre is positioned very close to the road in order to capture – with its volume, architectural configuration and large entrance emphasized by the overhanging roof – the attention of passers-by, requesting their entrance through a sort of urban courtship. the area at last finds its order and balance, becoming a place for meetings and daily life, not only linked to theatrical performances. the outside arena, for instance, is by nature a space where people can go irrespective of theatrical events; as is the piazza in front of the entrance which, with its coverage, offers shelter and protection to those wishing to take a break.


the theatre space (understood as the entire area designed and not only the building) aims to suggest participation and the possibility of meetings, interaction and exchange. in this sense the inside and outside spaces have been designed to welcome people and invite them to linger. the aim is to draw people in and encourage them to experience the ‘place of the theatre’ and the area ‘around the theatre’ as if they are related.’

entrance under large concrete wall and roof
image © pietro savorelli

image © pietro savorelli 

view directly to the seating area
image © pietro savorelli 

lateral corridors communicate to the exterior
image © pietro savorelli 

half inside, half outside
image © pietro savorelli

wood interior with a curtain covering the theater area
image © pietro savorelli 

thin wood slits help control acoustics
image © pietro savorelli 

entrance foyer spills into the seating area
image © pietro savorelli 

theater with a back wall open to the outside
image © pietro savorelli

image © pietro savorelli 

view into the fly tower
image © lorenzo boddi 

stairs behind stage
image © lorenzo boddi 

image © pietro savorelli

designed landscape around the structure
image © pietro savorelli

site plan

site plan

floor plan / level 0


(left) elevation
(right) section

scheme development

fly tower box and roof structure

concept diagram

concept diagram



project info:



client: municipality of montalto di castro, italy
architects: mdu architetti (alessandro corradini, valerio barberis, marcello marchesini, cristiano cosi)
collaborators: nicola becagli, michele fiesoli
structural engineers: alberto antonelli, iacopo ceramelli
mechanical and electrical engineer: federico boragine
sound design: gianluca zoppi
economic estimates: antonio silvestri
theatre scenery design: roberto cosi
site construction supervision: alessandro corradini
building and safety coordinator: bettina gori
building cost: € 2.400.000
site area: 10.888 sqm
roofed area: 963 sqm
gross area: 1220 sqm
volume: 8.600 cubic meters
materials: concrete, wood, alveolar polycarbonate
schedule: competition: 2002 (results: 2004)
design: 2004-2005
ground breaking: 2006
completion: 2011

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MDU architetti (4 articles)