Located in the heart of a city surrounded by sea, the Royal Theatre sought to combine the elements of land and water that make Copenhagen unique. The building aims to reflect attributes from both the theatre and the waterfront location.
Without intruding on the grand axis of the city, the Royal Theatre builds itself into the prominent context, pointing perpendicularly towards key landmarks such as the marble Dome, the Royal Palace and the Royal Opera House of Denmark. The structure responds to the waterfront by utilizing a radius point centered at the end of Sankt Annæ Boulevard, creating a natural link to the energetic and populous Nyhavn to the south. This connection extends the public landscape and brings activity up alongside the pier with circulation around, through, above, and beneath this iconic seaside structure.
Residing in the prominent location where the Oslo ferries once anchored, the building invites the public to embark on a journey. A journey that horizontally and vertically connects visitors with the many indoor and outdoor programs of the building while offering grand views of the harbor and city beyond. As visitors ascend the slanting landscape, the patchwork structure becomes a platform on which to rest and play.
The Royal Theatre was designed to bring its inhabitants to life, similar to the theatre performances that take place within its walls. The façade gently curves along the water, filtering sunlight while also providing deliberate openings that give inhabitants a glimpse of the beautiful views outside. More than just an enclosure for multiple stages, the building is a working theatrical machine that puts on its own performance every day and night.
The crown of the Royal Theatre is an expansive wooden framework that encapsulates and bears the weight of the main stage and foyer. Boasting uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape, this grand space becomes the patron’s proscenium – placing inhabitants in the spotlight of social attention. Penetrating through the roof, the circular crown structure shelters the fly tower while glowing from within like a lantern reflecting across the harbor.
Pulling inspiration from the maritime setting, the multi-functioned building impressionistically extends along the pier, floating amongst ships and sailboats like a vessel at berth. The building seems to be in motion with a flux of people moving around the plaza, up and down the roof, in and out of kiosks, enjoying the café, restaurant, and bar. Visitors traverse the foyers and biking facilities, toward outdoor and indoor performance stages and kayak rentals. And the underground parking, with room for 500 vehicles, serves as the foundation on which the building stands, the engine of the ship, hidden under the tip of the iceberg.