Rabat Grand Theatre by Zaha Hadid Architects


Grand Theatre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects have unveiled designs for a theatre in Rabat, Morocco.

Grand Theatre by Zaha Hadid Architects

The Grand Theatre will comprise two theatres, studios and a 7,000 capacity outdoor amphitheatre.

Grand Theatre by Zaha Hadid Architects

See all our stories about Zaha Hadid »

Grand Theatre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Here's some more information about the project:

Zaha Hadid Architects and the Bouregreg Valley Development Agency Announce the Rabat Grand Theatre

Zaha Hadid, founding partner of Zaha Hadid Architects, and Lemghari Essakl, Managing Director of l’Agence pour l’Aménagement de la Vallée du Bouregreg (The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency) signed an agreement for the architectural design of the Rabat Grand Theatre at a ceremony held in Rabat on November 5.

During the event, Mr. Essakl also signed the project financing agreement with Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar, Moroccan Minister of Economy & Finance, Mr. Taieb Cherkaoui, Minister of the Interior, and Mr. Abdelouahed Kabbaj, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Hassan II Fund for Economic & Social Development.

Grand Theatre by Zaha Hadid Architects

With a dedicated land area of 47 000 sqm and a gross floor area of 27 000 sqm, the Rabat Grand Theatre is a cultural venue of the highest standards. It will include a 2,050-seat theatre, a smaller 520-seat theatre, creative studios and a fully-equipped outdoor amphitheatre with a capacity of up to 7,000 people. The cost of the project is estimated at 1.35 Billion Moroccan Dirhams (120 Million Euros).

The Grand Theatre will be located in the Bouregreg Valley, a 6,000 ha area in the heart of the Moroccan capital, home to one of the largest developments in the country. By the end of 2014, the valley will host a wide range of residential, commercial, leisure and hospitality complexes, turning Rabat into one of the most attractive destinations of the Mediterranean area. With its dynamic, innovative design and cutting-edge infrastructure, the Rabat Grand Theatre will be a major landmark in the region.

Grand Theatre by Zaha Hadid Architects

In his statement to the press, Mr. Essakl said, “The Grand Theatre is part of a national programme of cultural development initiated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. The construction of the Grand Theatre will allow Rabat to showcase its rich cultural heritage as one the world’s greatest cultural centres.”

“I am delighted to be building the Grand Theatre in Rabat”, said Zaha Hadid. “Morocco’s unique musical traditions and rich cultural history in the performing arts are renowned throughout the world. I am honoured to be part of the cultural development of the nation’s capital.”
The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency is a public company in charge of the development and project management of the Bouregreg riverbanks. The Agency also supervises large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Rabat-Salé Tramway.

See also:


Chengdu Art Centre by
Zaha Hadid Architects
House of Culture & Art by
Zaha Hadid Architects
More architecture on

Posted on Monday November 22nd 2010 at 5:48 pm by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Dickie Smabers

    He, wasn't this handheld vacuumcleaner already posted on dezeen several other times or am I mistaken?

    • L says

      hahahahahahaha…. handheld vacuumcleaner made my evening

      • elis

        at least is based on an object different than "BOX"

  • Come on Zaha, push your limits!
    Not that I think it's bad and once realised it will be lovely. But somehow it's not fresh and avant garde anymore. It doesn't has that visual impact anymore.

  • Fabulous! Would love to see the "bids" as they come in!!!

  • AJ

    Dear Ms. Hadid, please go back to the sensitive works you created back in the 80s and 90s…. All of these mass-produced, computer generated forms can only loosely be labeled architecture.

    • DlH

      Mass produced? Can you please show me another built work that is remotely similar to this?

      • Tom

        Google images "zaha+hadid+theatre" and play guess the project (its challenging.. but give you a clue, there'll be a 90% chance its somewhere hot and it will most likely have a questionable human rights record).

        But in all seriousness, I think the problem is the recurring themes of the sites (both climatic, topographical and politcal) of where these cultural buildings are proposed leads to certain same-ish results.

        Remember Cincinnati? It was amazing, not everything after all has to be so non-descript.

  • mmm

    I realised Zaha Hadid's work doesn't create enough curiosity anymore for me to open the link on Dezeen.

    • Bopp

      I have exactly the same. But I still did it because I was curious about the comments, which seem to be the same again and again as well.

  • Sean

    It's looks nice enough in the renders, albeit somewhat bland. Have to remember, though, this is Morocco and not the West so the client may not necessarily have wanted avant-garde.

  • ackeeworkshop

    a plan would be nice

    • James

      A plane would be even nicer. Horizontal, vertical, I don't care.

  • inan

    just a giant mobile phone or maybe a vacuum cleaner? am I wrong?
    should you have a style and keep producing in same way all the time or should try changing your style?

    agree with AJ. this is something applauded by the public but not by the arhitects for sure.

  • Samuel

    @AJ If by the 'sensitive' work you're referring to includes the Vitra Fire Station and the LF One project. You should know that it is impossible store anything at Vitra (including nonexistent Firetrucks) with anything meaningful, and LF One is literally falling apart.
    Personally I would have cited her Cincinnati project or Maxxi as something to emulate. Then again, those are metropolitan specific where as this is not quite. Actually, this could've been a great time for her to bring out something a la Cardiff Bay since that was never built.

  • G.N.

    Very elegant. Very Hadid of these days. And if everybody speak about pushing the limits, self copying, I want to say that this building is well proportioned and nice floating. And this building corresponds to the design of our days when mass elements transform into bands (BMW, Honda and etc concept models). Fashionable but without "strong impact". Question if I need impacts all day long or not.

  • her free flowing pleasant landscape would work anywhere…afterall water front will be used by most…

  • Jasper

    seriously. I dare you to find me any architect who has at least a vague sense of urbanism who likes this.
    Why can are all the renders shown from a helicopter (you know, the only angle from which no one will ever see it) ?

    Why does it have a scaleless and functionless plaza space all around it (you know, the bit that most tourists and locals will actually walk through)?

    Why isn't the interior designed (you know, the actually important part of a theatre)?

    Why does every third world country seem to be getting a nightmare District 9 attack from Zaha these days?

    Why?? Answer me, Rhino!!

  • Zellweger

    Grand sweeping images from vantage points that will never be experienced by anyone who is NOT in an aircraft…..as if we needed more objectification of space….

  • JuiceMajor

    From the top, it look like a luvly meringue!

    But it all resriousness, this lady never fail to excite me when it comes to building design but I must say, I am more fond of the interior space over the exterior.

    Her best work is still the Cincinati Art Museum!

  • Much better than Chengdu

  • James

    Is it supposed to be a coincidence that every rendering is from 4 miles away? I know Zaha is going for cheap tourist destination design, but I prefer experiencing architecture from outside the tour bus.

  • D_P

    this would be a sick hidden level in tony hawk's pro skater or something, imagine grinding those long, sinuous curves mmmm… maybe hadid should start designing skateparks?? you heard it here first

    • sfisinvisible

      yeah..she could, but she would detest it…hate it even.
      worked at her studio for a bit, and in response to a urban furniture piece,
      i was told to design out the ability to skate on… which in itself can be an interesting detail. ..still…. they are conservative.. even if parametric!

  • Rami

    120 Million Euros???! I hope this would offer job opportunities for people there.. I think the king should put this money for nationalize education in morocco than in a cultural center since more than half of the people are ignorant..

  • Architect

    Invalid criticism isn't hip and it surely doesn't reassure the professionalism of the criticizer.

    The design is interesting, dynamic, organic and sets well on its location in harmony and without imposing itself.

    For those claiming that the renders above are only of a birds eye view implying that the design ignores the human experience, scroll to the top and look at the first two renders and if you cant see the exciting spaces and open plazas that the design creates then as a designer you should at least be able to imagine the perspective by looking at the design.

    For those complaining that Hadid's work is all the same. Its called Signature style. The note is as rediculus as someone saying that picasso is boring because he doesn't change his style.

    • D_P

      um what, are you kidding? picasso dramatically changed his style many times over the course of his life. why? because he was a true creative innovator, and got bored doing the same thing over and over, even something as exciting as cubism.

    • Sam

      First off, I don't know how you can call what others have said "invalid criticism" when your own critique doubly lacks substantive content and any support to invalidate the perfectly reasonable claims of others.

      For one, calling a building "interesting" and "dynamic," particularly in the context of something that is meant to be a focal monument is like calling ice cream "sweet" and "cold." They're broad, empty descriptors.

      For two, representation is as important at this stage of a project as the design is. If all we see are "Superman" views and a few vague ground shots of the building, it demonstrates no sense of inhabitation, materiality, or comprehension. Without a plan or section, we have even less of an idea of the experience of the main spaces.

      I chalk up the lack of more substantive material to the fact that this was probably a last-minute commission so we can't blame her office for not having it all figured out. But you can't expect people simply to "get it" or "imagine" when there isn't much to go off of. And besides, as one person already said, the renders are merely objectification of a building. Particularly in the context of Zaha, this is a worrisome trend especially having seen something just as unresolved a few days ago, the Chengdu thing, which had the same glossy perspectives and not much else. Sure, it sells the building, but in the end if that's all she can produce then it's simply architectural pornography. Exaggerated, idealized images that may excite but possess no qualities of realism or satisfaction.

      "Signature style" = brand recognition = architecturally insignificant. Shall we examine a few case studies on this issue? Daniel Libeskind and his stripeys. Frank Gehry and le blob. The first time around there is some conceptual thrust to it. The second time around its an attempt to refine a concept though often under the specter that they may or may not have been hired to repeat the success of their previous icon. Eventually it becomes an issue of the architect being hired to design a big commission solely to brand a building as designed by x architect. It all works against architectural innovation regardless of how non-traditional it may be. And yet how can you blame her or any architect really for indulging in it? It's money and recognition. She can coast until her commissions dry up and she's forced to do something new, which she is clearly capable of.

  • rabii

    baravo et merci zaha hadid -rabii cabinet aziz lazrak casabanca -maroc

  • E.J.

    This project along with Guangzhou Opera House and Vilnius Guggenheim (not to mention Chengdu), all seem to be deriving from the same approach, especially the Vilnius' project of which construction site also shares a lot in common.

    Is this what happen when architects got a hold on Rhino? check out the Izmir Opera House competition entry by Nuvist.

  • ylarchitect

    Finaly somthing that looks like to be interesting on the Bouregreg River…Good job!

  • One thing is for sure: this is going to be a SICK skatespot

  • Point of information for 'Architect' re. "…picasso is boring because he doesn't change his style."

    Firstly as the great artist is deceased he can't change his style in the present ["he didn't change his style"]. But grammar apart the statement is quite wrong as a brief knowledge of art history would tell you he spent his whole creative life changing styles – indeed inventing them.

    Anyway as far as this theatre goes, I've Hadid up to here with the Grand Dame of Digital Draughtmanship once more phoning in another design.

  • Phillips-Sinsua

    looks a little bit like alien dump

  • Why this woman turns all original cultural landscapes into the equal plastic things? Why no difference btween Morocco,UAE&Germany???

  • Dan

    It's apocalyptic, dated and suffocating.

  • wam

    you know ms hadid for so many design propsals have had the deepest level of anologpes to site conditions. the way i think of it, she thinks her design theories are so complicated she doesnt have to explain to people anymore, because she is over architects already. she is designing for the mass public- now she is designing in fashion, makeup, furniture, she has an agenda to conquer the world. she is not as shallow as you think, but she has prioritized, and marked a specific target audience.

  • People are all the same in many different ways. That's unity in diversity. Her style flows, and for once the architect, artist and philosspher combines in her expression of work that is both challenging to Engineers and Contractors. I'm sure, they won't complain it is the same.

  • I'm sorry I used to think Zaha Hadid was amazing, and she is amazing, but it seems so commercialized now. There seem to be no purpose or a meaning behind it and it seems like it's completely irrelevant to it's surroundings. Sure shiny and new is all the rave but is it really? I love how she knows no bounds I used to admire her for that with what seems like gravity defying architecture. But I'm just not seeing where she's going with these designs. Maybe I'm too new to all of this. I just think architecture should be beyond the superficial.