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La Nouvelle Comédie

Geneva, Switzerland


We believe that theatre buildings attain greater value by freeing their spaces from the straightjacket of single-use programming: why not a show in the foyer, a promenade piece in the workshop, a reading in the painting studio? This allows greater artistic possibility, and gives the pubic a greater sense of participation with a civic building full of potential surprises.

Our entry for this open international competition seeks to emphasise the value of that which is often dissimulated in theatre buildings: the vast stage and workshop volumes. By uniting these volumes (all of the same height, except for the stage tower), we propose a much greater degree of theatrical possibility: individual rooms can be separated or united to form a vast ‘found space' hangar of similar proportions to the Theatre du Soleil. The logic of a rational, extruded volume is extended to the upper stories dedicated to the body and mind (rehearsal, dressing rooms, administration), plus a vast, top lit painting studio. Servant spaces which connect these volumes are draped around like a scarf; the public foyer is expressed like a tent, something which can uproot and change form.


We propose the large-scale use of innovative wood structures in this building, either in association with steel for high-tolerance functions (grid) or in prefabricated structural panels (KLH) for the principal walls and slabs. The exterior is clad in Prodeo-dried softwood.

Client: Ville de Genève

Size: 4300 sq.m

Budget: 80M euros

Studio Andrew Todd architects 

Lisa Charron

Andrew Todd

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