Architect
Marjatta and Martti Jaatinen
Competition
1974
Completion
1985
Category
Assembly buildings
Tags
brick competition culture threatre

Tampere Worker’s Theatre has a history to be proud of. It started as an amateur company of working-class people in the early years of the 20th century, and over the years has developed into a professional theatre with a well-established reputation.

The invited competition for Tampere Worker’s Theatre was announced in 1973, and the jury made its decision in 1974. The new plan was intended to be a bridge between the old and the new buildings. The winning entry by Marjatta and Martti Jaatinen was executed in the following decade so that the new theatre building was inaugurated in 1985.

The building is in a block on Hämeenpuisto boulevard in the city centre of Tampere. The old Worker’s Club where the theatre operated before is in the same block. Placed at the south end of the block, the new building contains the main stage, and seating and foyers for 750–920 spectators. Besides this, storage and workroom facilities, dressing rooms and offices were built, with internal communications to the old main stage and basement theatre.

The floor of the new stage is at the same height as that of the old main stage this was one of the programme principles. Another was to place as many as possible of the facilities vital to drama production – such as the rehearsal room, dressing room, set store and studio, and other workrooms ­– on the same level as the stages. The third principle was to make the stage auditorium as adaptable as possible. For instance, there were to be no unnecessary permanent structures around the proscenium.

The stage plan is on the traditional cruciform pattern, with wings, rear stage and tower. The main stage is made up of four successive bridges which can be raised and lowered steplessly. Each of the three rear bridges carries five 4 x 4 metre levels. This means the whole stage or part of it can be raised or lowered 3.3 metres above or below the basic level and also tilted 10 degrees. The revolving stage comprises an air-cushioned disc 12 metres in diameter which can be stored under the rear stage. As the first five rows of the auditorium can be moved on air-cushioned rollers, a variety of theatre areas can be created.

Because of the sloping site, there are entrances as three levels. The public enters at the lowest level on Hämeenpuisto, at both ends of the cloakroom lobby. Off the lobby is the ticket office, which also has a door straight onto the street. From the lobby, steps lead up to a mezzanine, the café and a foyer to the auditorium, which is entered from the front, allowing members of the audience a better view of each other.

The building is on a reinforced concrete frame and was mainly slip-cast. The elevations are red brick and the windows and other light constructions dark brown aluminium. The plinth is faced with concrete, partly rough-plastered, and the roofs are triple felted. Redbrick is also used inside for the walls, the floor of the lowest lobby and the footing of fittings. The first and second storey floors are in red Rhodesian teak. The brick and tile used in the auditorium is a darker manganese shade. The ceiling of the auditorium is a steel grid painted copper coloured. The various acoustical surfaces are covered in fabric. In secondary facilities, the acoustical panels are painted.

The curtain was designed by Katariina Metsovaara-Heikinheimo and was woven in Tampere by Finlayson.

Source: Finnish Architectural Review 8/1985

Location

Hämeenpuisto 32, Tampere
61.4949119, 23.752222

Images

Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Ilkka Alavalkama / MFA)
Main elevation, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Main elevation, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Ilkka Alavalkama / MFA)
Foyer, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Foyer, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Ilkka Alavalkama / MFA)
Stage, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Stage, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Ilkka Alavalkama / MFA)
Stage, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Stage, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Ilkka Alavalkama / MFA)
Elevation to Hämeenpuisto park, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Elevation to Hämeenpuisto park, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Marjatta and Martti Jaatinen)
Elevation to Saunakatu, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Elevation to Saunakatu, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Marjatta and Martti Jaatinen)
Section, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Section, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Marjatta and Martti Jaatinen)
Stage, perspective, Tampere Worker’s Theatre
Stage, perspective, Tampere Worker’s Theatre (© Marjatta and Martti Jaatinen)