The proposed new Theater aan de Parade occupies a delicate spot within the city of Den Bosch, located on the city’s main square near to Saint John’s Cathedral – a church considered by many to be the finest example of gothic architecture in the Netherlands.
The new theatre will replace the existing Theater aan de Parade, a deteriorating three-story brick building from the 1970s, with a larger building more suited to modern requirements.
The visual expression of the design is based upon a literal display of the layers of history at the site. The building’s glass façade is equipped with overlapping images of the three buildings previously found on the same site – the single-story stable building constructed in 1741, the Schouwburg Casino that replaced it in 1934, and the existing theatre building, which was built in 1976 – almost like a multiple-exposure photograph. This “multiple exposure” approach continues inside the building. Light wood clads the whole of the super lobby, but darker wood marks the walls, floors, and ceilings wherever the structure of the previous buildings would have intersected the new structure, subtly displaying all the traces of history.
Inside the theatre hall, a similar approach is used, in this case, more comparable to an x-ray. The wood walls are lined with depictions of landmarks in the city of Den Bosch, arranged to correspond to their real-world locations outside. In the smaller Parade Hall, the walls are clad in black, with embedded LED lights that offer a variety of opportunities; they can be programmed to replicate the x-ray effect or to act as a video wall or a starry sky for performances. This space is also equipped with retractable seating and an openable side-wall to make the Parade Hall truly flexible, suited to any type of performance.