The brief called for design proposals to maximize the flexibility of the existing 1976-designed theatre for a variety of performances on the stage, and to add a new roof to enclose both the stage and the audience.
The architects came up with a design with a doubly-curved roof form that follows the natural slope of the amphitheater on the existing hillside. So they could retain the views across the park, and then dramatically lifts over the stage to provide the necessary height for the performance area.
The underside of the roof, which covers the stage and front of auditorium, will enhance and project the natural acoustic for orchestral events. This roof is structurally independent of the existing arch, and is formed by a curved truss which serves as the edge beam to a single cable net structure. This net supports a series of inflated fabric roof panels and suspended acoustic reflectors. Two additional trusses span the stage to support the load of the lighting grid.
Flanagan Lawrence’s proposal will also up grade the 2,500 seat structure with additional facilities including a box office, bathrooms, a café and a refurbished backstage area. The original structure, including the concrete arch, was designed by Zbigniew Abrahamowicz and opened in 1976. The new acoustics are designed by Arup.