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Architecture of Performance Buildings: Dealing with Demands of Contemporary Play
Art Studies and Architectural Journal (ASAJ), Volume 2, Jan 2017

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Observed from the prospective of Architectural design, typology of performance buildings, especially theatre buildings, suffers a serious stagnation. Causes that influenced this state of play could be tracked for in development divergence of architecture on one side, and the play itself on the other. Although these two factors coexisted through history, at some point the play took swing in its evolution, occupying all available fields of plausible development, while architecture stopped at expected physical limits. Today, the generally accepted fact is that there is no strictly defined type of theatre buildings that is capable of embracing the contemporary play. The question that reveals the essence of problem is: Does the play actually need the building in any sense? This paper points out the problem of overall state and potentials of Buildings for stage performances in Serbia today, aiming to find answers for future approach to built heritage considering demands of the contemporary play. Potentials of these buildings are not to be understood in term of utilization of existing structures, but in term of detailed analytical approach toward future projects. Examining the conversion of solid, closed theatre boxes into almost undefined open spaces, according to needs and demands of the play, we tried to understand the current situation, and give an architectural answer to it. What is architecture to do in a situation when it has already reached its limits of variations as a form, while the function / program is still modifying and evolving without predictable end? While designing National Theatre in Subotica, the design team carefully observed the logic of designing fa?ade configurations. As the project of restoration, reconstruction, adaptation and annex of theatre building, situated in the very core of the towns centre, took 20 years from architectural competition to its construction, architects faced a challenging task to design a buildings skin that envelopes its 20 years old content of carefully planned functions. This project represents the finest case in our national practice of architecture trying to handle its developing art function on one side, and interacting with the city at the other. Application of glass panels that form a transparent membrane between theatre inside building and the town outside opened a possibility for architecture to take the role of mediator in this town-theatre interaction demand. We could say that architecture cleverly stepped away in secondary role, leaving the function of the building to bring out the everlasting changes of theatre play to the town. It seems that the time has come for a major attitude change - perhaps it is time to use ephemeral structures to answer ephemeral questions.

Author(s): Dragana Konstantinovic, Miljana Zekovic
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