Theatre de Stoep

The Municipality of Dutch town of Spijkenisse celebrates the official opening of its new cultural venue for the city, the Theatre de Stoep designed by Ben van Berkel / UNStudio.

Theatre de Stoep
UNStudio’s design for Theatre responds to the current cultural invigoration of the city by merging the archetypal function of a theatre – that of creating a world of illusion and enchantment – with the specific requirements of a regional theatre and its requisite to cater to the varied needs of the local community.
The theatre is therefore designed with a dual emphasis on the chimeric nature of the world of the stage and the social aspects of the theatre experience.
Theatre de Stoep
Ben van Berkel / UNStudio, Theatre de Stoep, Spijkenisse, The Netherlands. Top: photo © Peter de Jong. Above: photo © Jan Paul Mioulet
Theatre de Stoep is designed to fortify and inspire this liveliness, providing at one and the same time a place of performance, of social gathering and of experiencing contrasting realities: the world of the other, of fabrication, of expression and display, but simultaneously the very real sentient experience of ourselves as spectators within these worlds.
In the design of the 5,800 sqm building a larger and a smaller theatrical space (with the main auditorium seating up to 650 guests and the smaller hall accommodating 200), several interlinked foyers, a grand café and a restaurant, an artist’s café, a VIP lounge, numerous dressing rooms, multifunctional rooms and offices are all brought together within one volume. The placement of the various internal volumes results in a building in the form of a flower, with a large, column-free central foyer forming the heart of the structure.
Ben van Berkel / UNStudio, Theatre de Stoep, Spijkenisse, The Netherlands. Photo © Jan Paul Mioulet
Ben van Berkel / UNStudio, Theatre de Stoep, Spijkenisse, The Netherlands. Photo © Peter Guenzel

The vertical foyer is a pivotal point in the social functioning of the theatre, and serves to organise wayfinding and the linking of the different programmes within the building. In the auditoria the ceiling elements can be lowered and angled to adjust volume levels when required, while the acoustic wall panels reflect and increase the quality of the sound for every seat in the auditorium.

During the day the lower glass portion of the facade enables daylight penetration directly from both the front of the theatre and from above, throwing daylight deep into the foyer and above the stairs leading to the auditoria. In the evening a warm and inviting atmosphere is created through the use of both colour and artificial lighting.

Although the demands of the regional theatre are many and varied, ways must be found to balance design ambitions with affordability. One means by which it was possible to save significant costs on construction was through the use of Design Information Modelling (DIM): a knowledge integrated performance driven design methodology employed during the design phases which affords the opportunity to test and to model spaces swiftly and in an integrated fashion.


Theatre de Stoep, Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
Program : theatre
Architects : Ben van Berkel / UNStudio
Design team : Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Jacques van Wijk and Hans Kooij, Lars Nixdorff, Thomas Harms, Gustav Fagerstrom, Ramon van der Heijden Tatjana Gorbachewskaja, Jesca de Vries, Wesley Lanckriet, Maud van Hees, Benjamin Moore, Henk van Schuppen, Philipp Mecke, Colette Parras, Daniela Hake, Mazin Orfali and Selim Ahmad
Engineer design phase (structures and building services): Arup
Engineer execution (structure and architecture): IOB
Advisor installations execution phase :  De Blaay – Van den Boogaard
Lighting design : Arup
Theatre technique : PB theateradviseurs
Acoustics : SCENA akoestisch adviseurs
Fire : DGMR
Costs : Basalt Bouwadvies
Main contractor : VORM Bouw
Aluminium facade : Sorba projects
Windows : Blitta
Steel structure : Staalbouw Cluistra
HVAC : De Jong installatietechniek
Electricity : Steegman Elektrotechniek
Interiors : Form Finish
Theater technique : DTS2
Seating : Jezet Seating
Area : 5,700 sqm
Completion : 2014

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