An vibrant new theatre complex in Newtown
Commercial / Institutional
Newtown, Johannesburg, South Africa
The Market Theatre is situated in the culturally rich Newtown area in central Johannesburg. With the acquisition of a new structure adjacent to the existing drama department building, an opportunity emerged for a completely new precinct to be established.
The rich history and culturally vibrant atmosphere of the area required a careful intervention, and the primary design generator was the exploration of how dilapidated structures could be transformed into beautiful works of art.
The new complex responds to its urban context by orientating itself towards the pedestrian spine that links to the original Market Theatre. A new public space is situated at the southern end of the spine, with a stepped entrance plaza that faces onto Mary Fitzgerald Square. The cluster of diverse buildings provided appropriate forms for all the different departmental areas. The incomplete modular building to the north was reminiscent of an old office block and was converted into class rooms with a dynamic new facade. All demolished building materials were to be reused and adapted in the new entrance and theatre, giving the opportunity to upskill local labourers. The large solid walls of the theatre block formed a natural canvas on which local artist could express themselves, such that the surface of the building became a metaphor of an actor in a performance.
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