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, italyimage © pietro savorelliall 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 towerimage © 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 roofimage © pietro savorelli

image © pietro savorelli

view directly to the seating areaimage © pietro savorelli

lateral corridors communicate to the exteriorimage © pietro savorelli

half inside, half outsideimage © pietro savorelli

wood interior with a curtain covering the theater areaimage © pietro savorelli

thin wood slits help control acousticsimage © pietro savorelli

entrance foyer spills into the seating areaimage © pietro savorelli

theater with a back wall open to the outsideimage © pietro savorelli

image © pietro savorelli

view into the fly towerimage © lorenzo boddi

stairs behind stageimage © lorenzo boddi

image © pietro savorelli

designed landscape around the structureimage © 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, italyarchitects: mdu architetti (alessandro corradini, valerio barberis, marcello marchesini, cristiano cosi)collaborators: nicola becagli, michele fiesolistructural engineers: alberto antonelli, iacopo ceramellimechanical and electrical engineer: federico boraginesound design: gianluca zoppieconomic estimates: antonio silvestritheatre scenery design: roberto cosisite construction supervision: alessandro corradinibuilding and safety coordinator: bettina goribuilding cost: € 2.400.000site area: 10.888 sqmroofed area: 963 sqmgross area: 1220 sqmvolume: 8.600 cubic metersmaterials: concrete, wood, alveolar polycarbonateschedule: competition: 2002 (results: 2004)design: 2004-2005ground breaking: 2006completion: 2011

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