A new public foyer and theatre hall in a rural context.
Singer Laren is an internationally reknown cultural institute that consists of a museum, sculpture garden and theatre, in the midst of the rural village of Laren.
Its heart is the 1911 villa of William and Anna Singer, American art collectors, and artists, who moved to Laren because of its artistic scene and the inspiring landscape.
After William's death Anna decided in the 1950s, to build a museum in his remembrance and to add a musical theatre. This was hard to keep up in the current cultural climate, due to spatial restraints and current technical demands.
A competition was organised for rebuilding the theatre. krft entered the competition together with Sanne Oomen with a design that revolved around a common foyer for all functions, a public square to the museum, garden and theatre.
The design connected all functionalities - museum, theatre and garden - in a covered, freely accessible 'living room' for the village. The foyer space, wrapped around a golden theatre box, has a wooden facade, which works as a voile, allowing scarce views from inside to outside.
In the design, the new foyer facade finishes the original outline of the complex, but keeps a distance from the villa, making the villa stand out as it originally did, but allowing for an new entrance in between old and new.
The theatre design is compact, intimate and flexible, in order to use the space for theatre, music and spoken word. This turns the space into a 'salle des fetes' for the village.
The wooden theatre interior, with curving walls refers to the inside of a musical element and is a logical result of acoustic demands for theatre as well as musical performances.
The theatre's finishing is made in warm cherry wood veneer and adds texture to the space to improve acoustics.
In the project, there was a strong focus on materiality, making a strong distinction between the functional elements - the theatre and museum - and the 'in between' - the foyer - by using unfinished, rough materials.
In the foyer, the entrance to the museum is topped by the Thinker of Rodin in its original position, guarding hell's gates.