Théâtre Théodore Gouvy, Freyming-Merlebach, France


published in l'Arca International n. 142


Théâtre Théodore Gouvy, Freyming-Merlebach, project: Dominique Coulon & associés



Project: Dominique Coulon & associés; Architects: Dominique Coulon, Olivier Nicollas; Project Architects assistants: Jean Scherer, David Romero-Uzeda, Ali Ozku, Fanny Liénart, Grégoire Stouck; Competition: Olivier Nicollas; Construction supervision: Olivier Nicollas; Structural engineering: Batiserf; Mechanical Plumbing Engineer: Solares Bauen; Electrical Engineer: BET G. Jost; Cost control and monitoring: E3 Economie; HQE (high environmental quality) consultant: Solares Bauen; Acoustic: Euro Sound Project; Scenographer: Changement à vue; Roads and networks: Lollier Ingénierie; Construction companies: Earthwork road works (Colas), Structure (Cari-Fayat), metal structure (Ertcm), water proofing (Couvrest), exterior steel joinery (Socomet), ventilated facades (Deobat), metal works (Muller), interior wood joinery – furniture (Jung), plastering (Nespola + Werey Stenger),  glued floors (SGR), tiles floors and walls (Multi Services), interior painting cleaning (Debra), elevators (Ascelec), scaffolding (KAPP), electricity (ETA), heating ventilation (Schaeffer), plombing and drainage (Lorry), Lockmithing, machinery and scenic carpentry (Caire), scenic curtains and drapes (Azur Scenic), theater armchairs (Delagrave), scenic lighting and audiovisual (Systeme Son); Client: Communauté de communes Freyming-Merlebach; Photographer: Eugeni Pons, David Romero-Uzeda, Thibaut Muller



Freyming-Merlebach is a city in the mining region of Lorraine in north-eastern France, whose mines were closed down in the 1990s resulting in a major economic recession and ensuing rise in unemployment. These former mining areas are now slowly being regenerated thanks to some important cultural projects. The new Théodore Gouvy Theatre is part of an attempt to revive the local economy and inject fresh life into local society.



Built in an area undergoing significant change, not far from the city centre and close to a shopping mall and new Town Hall, the building symbolises the overall regeneration programme through the creation of a new public space. 



The new theatre interacts powerfully with the cityscape through its structural design creating an unobtrusive yet highly striking landmark. The architecture enhances the visual transition between the various parts of the program.



In the top section of the building, the foyer is offset so that it seems to point towards the entrance. Transparency in the lower section reveals an elaborate network of interior pathways and corridors that seem to invite people inside.



The entrance lobby extends vertically through the carefully structured stairways leading up to the main hall.



Everywhere natural light enhances the sculptural interweave of links and structures.



The main 700-seat hall features a striking colour scheme playing on different shades of red, orange and pink that intensify and add density to the overall space in contrast with the building’s white structure and the beige colours of the hall.



Special attention has been paid to the acoustics and set design with a 24-metre-high stage, grids at heights of +17 and +19.5 m and technical galleries.



Everything is built around a 22x14 m stage spanning an area of 14x19 m.