The City of Poznań in western Poland has announced a contest to design a landmark £35 million musical theatre
Open to multidisciplinary teams of architects, acousticians and stage technologists, the two-stage competition seeks innovative proposals for a concert hall close to the city’s theatre district and world-famous music academy.
The venue, incorporating recording facilities, is to be built on a challenging plot next to a busy railway track, around 700m from the Adam Mickiewicz University, home of the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra.
In its brief, the city says: ‘The location of the Musical Theatre building should ensure that it blends harmoniously with the existing spatial context formed by, among others, the representative buildings of the Castle District (including the Collegium Minus, Collegium Iuridicum, Imperial Castle, Academy of Music).
‘The Musical Theatre, as a public utility building, should be designed to allow not only access but also the freedom of use and participation in performances to all the inhabitants. As well as people with motor, sight or hearing disabilities, two more social groups should be considered during the design: children and older persons.’
Poznań is in west-central Poland, on the banks of the Warta River, and is a major cultural and business centre known for its Renaissance Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Cathedral.
The theatre will be built on a largely undeveloped site in the western part of the city at the corner of Swiety Marcin and Skosna streets. Nearby landmarks include the Poznań Academy of Music and the Poznań International Fair exhibition centre.
The project will create a new home for the city’s Musical Theatre, which is currently located in a 20th-century complex next to the city’s landmark cinema and chamber of commerce.
Six shortlisted teams will be invited to submit concepts following an open call for applications. Judges include architect Wojciech Grabianowski, Poznań Musical Theatre director Przemysław Kieliszewski, the set designer Mariusz Napierała, and Piotr Sobczak – the city architect.
The overall winner will receive a £16,680 prize while a second prize of £10,420, third prize of £6,250 and three distinctions worth £4,170 will also be awarded.
The winner will furthermore be invited to negotiate for the £1.5 million design contract.
The deadline for submissions is 3pm local time (GMT+1) on 18 October
How to apply
Office of Procurement and Service Office
Plac Kolegiacki 17
Przemysław Kieliszewski, director of Poznań’s Musical Theatre
Why are your holding an international contest for a new home for the music theatre in Poznań?
Poznań has been waiting for 60 years for a new building for the musical theatre. Two years ago the city indicated an excellent location for the theatre on the main St Marcin street, in the neighbourhood of the Academy of Music I. J. Paderewski in Poznań, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań University of Economics and Business, Main Station, new Poznań Baltic Tower - Business Center and Poznań International Fair. Poznań is open for modern thinking regarding architecture, wishes for its own Bilbao effect and develop as a modern European metropoly.
What is your vision for the new city centre venue?
Musical is the most popular genre of theatre. People of all generations are interested in this repertoire. In the last five years, we have put on musicals such as Jekyll & Hyde, Evita, Footloose, The Addams Family, Jesus Christ Superstar (for 25,000 on the city stadium) and the Polish premieres of Sister Act, Madagascar and Nine. As theatre director, along with the experts, I tried to ensure that the functional program is perfect. We have in the competition court a well-known urban architect, conservator of monuments and outstanding architects from Chicago, Dusseldorf and Berlin, who will certainly try to balance the expectations of a modern facility with the context of the historic district. The theatre will be located near the most important transport hub in the city – the metropolitan railway tram stop, bike path or underground parking will be at your fingertips. The theatre will have two performance halls with a capacity of about 1,300 and at least 220,000 visitors each year, so it will affect the revitalisation and regeneration of the city centre.
Contest site: New Musical Theatre in Poznań
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
We hope to discover new talents among architects, but due to the need to make sure the highest functionality of the building and stage technology, it is necessary to cooperate with experienced professionals in this field. The first stage of the competition does not require many financial and time investments and guarantees anonymity. It is not necessary to have a local partner, although it may help to be in touch with the local administration.
Are there any other recent musical theatre projects you have been impressed by?
While working on a functional programme, we visited several theatres in Europe and Poland. We were inspired by functionalities of German and London theatres. What is important with an audience of about 1,000 is to not lose the viewer’s closeness to the stage, proper communication and mutual relationship of space to each other. The heart of the theatre is the stage and its highest quality and functionality of the devices is crucial. I leave the excellent architects in the jury to assess the theatre, hoping that its beauty and uniqueness will be a tourist attraction and pride for the citizens of Poznań and the Wielkopolska region.