by Jerry ElengicalMar 14, 2022
The Pina Bausch Centre (formerly Schauspilhaus), a renowned theatre in Wuppertal, Germany, furthering the legacy of German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009) is expanding its offerings. The program encapsulates the introduction of a new architecturally impressive building, deemed the New Pina Bausch Zentrum adjacent to the theatre, and to realise this an international competition was organised. The goal was to preserve the existing public section and theatre building while adding new functions, which include a performance venue and a production centre. The winning design by New York-based interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, conceived as "a machine for dance", introduces new entrances, sightlines, and public spaces for performance and visual art.
The design proposal for Pina Bausch Zentrum, building on the legacy of one of the most innovative performers in European theatre in the 1980s, encompasses a range of ambitious initiatives. These include the revitalisation of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch performance venue, a new production centre for multidisciplinary stage productions, an archive of Pina Bausch's artistic heritage, and a public forum for interdisciplinary engagement.
The architectural design revolves around the intersection of two axes: an extension of the Schauspielhaus garden courtyards and a connection from Bundesallee to the river. This convergence forms a vibrant performance courtyard, serving as the heart of the building. Surrounding this central space are functional areas such as the lobby, archive, multifunction room, and a kitchen, seamlessly integrating the existing Schauspielhaus with the new building.
The Pina Bausch Zentrum and its surroundings consist of a mosaic of spaces characterised by their attributes, including indoor and outdoor areas, vegetated and paved zones, and controlled and raw environments. The design allows for flexibility, enabling spaces to be opened, closed, interconnected, or separated.
The building features an upper ground, an extension of the Schauspielhaus terrace, which serves as a technical walkway for the multifunction room. Elevated pathways provide behind-the-scenes access, allowing the public to observe installations, rehearsals, and performances. Intimate micro-courts around the Sopp'scher Pavilion offer outdoor reading rooms, informal lobbies, and breakout spaces. The riverwalk and outdoor plazas further extend the activities of the centre, fostering a direct connection with the water and the public.
"The industrial aesthetics that the authors have in mind for the new building is not only reminiscent of Wuppertal's industrial heritage but also suggests a relaxed form of expression that wants to correspond to the experimental use intended by the Pina Bausch Zentrum,” the jury mentioned about the winning design of Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
The Pina Bausch Zentrum imagined by DS+R celebrates the artistic legacy of Pina Bausch while providing a platform for innovation, preservation, and engagement. Through its flexible spaces, connectivity, and integration with the outdoors, this institution seems promising in redefining the relationship between art, culture, and the community.
(Text by Sanskriti Vashisth, intern at STIRworld)