Commissioned by the Centre de L'Entente Cordial, the remarkable Elizabethan Theatre at Chateau d’Hardelot near Boulogne was designed by Paris-based British architect Andrew Todd.
The first circular theatre to be built in France for over 200 years. The Centre is responsible for the summer festival which takes place at the Chateau and celebrates the cultural ties between France and Britain. The building is designed to accommodate both theatre and opera - it's thrust stage can be removed to reveal an orchestra pit - but that only tells part of its story. With the exception of its concrete basement level, the theatre's structure is built entirely from cross-laminated timber (CLT) which is enveloped within a 'cage' of non-structural bamboo poles that rise 13m to create a cylindrical form.
The theatre is naturally ventilated by drawing air via a plenum under the stage and up through the crown of the roof, which acts as a giant chimney. Seating for 400 is densely arranged within the 16m diameter auditorium leading Todd to declare that he had been "brutal" in planning the spaces for a project that had a tight budget of €3.2 million and used pre-fabrication to great effect in terms of efficient construction. The architect's own summing up of this interesting and unusual project was to say that it possessed "not one ounce of fat."
The Elizabethan Theatre is an inspiring setting and one into which GDS's ArcSystem fitted perfectly. The essential aesthetic part of the brief was to establish a lighting scheme that would work in harmony with style of the interior. Added to this was a stringent requirement for efficiency and low energy consumption. The architect, in consultation with theatre consultants Charcoal Blue specified ArcSystem as the best way to meet the brief. Charcoal Blue had experience of ArcSystem's quality and GDS distributor Alterlite supplied over 112 x MR16 Decor fixtures to be mounted on the three almost identical balconies. The scheme was completed by 6 Pro Fixture 4 Cell Round fixtures suspended from hanging points. The system is wirelessly controlled from the theatre's technical room using GDS's ArcMesh protocol. GDS assisted in the commissioning the system.
The integrators reported that the installation was very straightforward and that both theatre management and architect were very pleased with the system.