Designs for a new Stratford Festival theatre in Ontario, Canada incorporate a dramatic garden setting that will enhance its Avon River location and stand as an attraction in its own right, drawing regular visitors to the area.
The Stratford Festival – an internationally recognised annual repertory theatre festival running annually from April to October in the city of Stratford in Ontario, Canada – has commissioned plans for new theatre premises, the Tom Patterson Theatre, from architecture firm Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA). The resulting designs include a strategic landscape that enfolds the building into its riverside location.
As North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company, the Stratford Festival desired a new facility that would measure up to other distinguished theatres from around the globe. According to Dan Bernstein, Festival Chair, the Board approached dozens of international firms, but “the work of Canada’s own Siamak Hariri stood out and was the Board’s unanimous choice”.
Presented recently by HPA, the designs feature a dramatic garden landscape upon which the theatre will nestle. Located along the banks of the Avon River, the new theatre has been designed as an attraction for the entire area. The location and the landscape play a large part in the theatre’s ability to draw people to the area.
The new project covers the entire riverside site in an elaborate and colourful garden. HPA’s vision, in keeping with the experience inside the theatre, incorporates “a breathtakingly beautiful garden [that] will stretch out from each end of the site, drawing people through the grounds. The terraced landscape will breathe, alive with colour and texture, evident in the golden hues of the trees, the rich purples of the flowers, and the softness of the long grasses. A garden that is grand enough to become a local landmark and destination in its own right, full of variety and wonder.”
Nestled in the garden and embraced by a dynamic bronze curtain, the curvilinear design of the new theatre will reflect warm light and appear to dance in the wind. The building’s organic design will generate unique interior spaces for programmatic elements, such as the lobby, café, and Forum while maintaining design continuity.
“We are honoured to be working so closely with Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, Executive Director Anita Gaffney, and the Stratford team, and join them in aspiring to design a theatre unlike any other, embodying creativity and encouraging engagement and imagination. We aim to turn what is beloved within the theatre outward, reflecting the joy and spontaneity of the Stratford Festival in architectural form, said HPA founder, Siamak Hariri.
Construction is expected to start after the 2017 festival season.
Images courtesy of Hariri Pontarinin Architects