PPP scheme gmp ∙ Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners in cooperation with HOCHTIEF Solutions AG and HMI, BIG and Capatti Staubach
Design Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff with Kristian Spencker
Team Veit Lieneweg, Silvia Schneider, Michael Scholz, Ramona Schwertfeger, Elisa Rodriguez, Elke Glass, Katerine Witte, Daniel Tome
Client Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf
GFA 4.500 m²
The new rehearsal building for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein ballet company was opened on 4 September 2015 after a construction period of less than ten months. In a consortium with HOCHTIEF Solutions, the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) carried out the new construction on the historic site of the former Rheinbahn depot „am Steinberg“ in Düsseldorf as part of a PPP contract placed by Düsseldorf City Council.
Located between the listed historic tramway depot and housing along Kopernikusstrasse, the compact building provides ideal conditions for rehearsal. The Oper’s approx. 50 professional dancers and the ballet school’s 55 students have at their disposal two ballet rooms with full-size stage dimensions, three smaller practice rooms as well as changing rooms, rest rooms, a physiotherapy room and an apartment for guest artists.
While the architectural expression of the new building is distinctly different from the heterogeneous backdrop created by the houses, giving the place a succinct appearance, the building volume – which recedes towards the south – creates a balance between the adjacent historic Rheinbahn depot and the twelve-meter high block with the stacked ballet rooms to the north.
The immediate architectural surroundings of the new building are characterized by historic industrial use. The architectural style and the associated materials and color scheme make deliberate reference to the industrial character of the place, giving the building its workshop and atelier ambiance.
As a workshop in the sense of an experimental and creative space and as a place of incompleteness in a positive sense, the building is not embellished with a prominent color scheme in the quest for dominance. This approach is continued in the interior – color and materials are deliberately restrained and the walls are left in fair-faced concrete.
The building consists of the stacked, double-height ballet rooms and the associated functional areas arranged on three floors. The conspicuous cantilever of the western façade highlights the building´s access from Merowinger Strasse. Here is the two-story foyer, the glass façade of which defines the entrance area, thus differentiating it from the fair-faced concrete façade of the building. The foyer and the canteen welcome the visitor with generous access space, from where circulation areas lead through the building on all floors. The ballet rooms are accessed via generous entrance areas on the first and third floors, thereby avoiding any disturbance to the ongoing dance rehearsals in front of the mirror walls.