Álvaro Siza completes red brick theatre near Barcelona

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Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza has built a red brick theatre in Llinars del Vallès, a village outside Barcelona (+ slideshow).

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

The Pritkzer Prize-winning architect worked with local studio Aresta Arquitectura on the Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès, which was commissioned as part of a public investment in cultural facilities for the region.

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

The complex is formed from two volumes, one containing a 300-seat auditorium and the other housing the theatre's offices.

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

The auditorium volume has three floors – one below ground containing technical equipment and two above containing the stage and seating.

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

Like the South Korean museum for modern art Siza designed with architects Carlos Castanheira and Jun Sung Kim – which is said to be inspired by a drawing of a cat – the auditorium building features a mixture of straight and curving walls.

Public Auditorium Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

The tiered seating area of the auditorium is topped by a gently curving metal roof. A brick fly tower that extends above this roofline is used to host the theatre's backdrops.



Dressing rooms, a rehearsal space and warehouse are set alongside administration offices in the accompanying two-storey block.

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

Staircases and service spaces are set outside the main volumes, creating a series of narrow outcrops that project away from the building and cast dark shadows over the red brick walls.

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

Long panoramic windows and glass doorways puncture the brickwork, which is imprinted with the manufacturer's markings.

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

Álvaro Siza is currently working on his first US project, a luxury apartment block in New York's Manhattan that will rise to 128 metres.

Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza Vieira

Among the 82-year-old architect's previous projects are a shrimp-shaped office building that sits in the middle of an artificial lake in China's Jiangsu province and the conversion of an old teahouse in his hometown of Porto into a seafood restaurant.

In an interview with Dezeen last year, he said his projects are never finished "because we never have enough time".

Photography is by Joao Morgado.

  • guisforyou

    I WAS going to criticise how the sloped wall breaks up the composition of rectangular masses, and then I realised how magnificently informed it is to have an access ramp that welcomes you in!

    This being a public building, that is great for all first-time visitors especially when you talk about the importance of accessibility.

    • rob

      The main entrance is on the other side, sort of hidden and not directly visible from the street. The ramp is leading to a secondary hall, which is supposed to be used for parties and meetings.

      Would be nice to know why Siza wanted this theatre to look so extremely introvert: the composition of the red volumes is gorgeous but also very, very inaccessible, which is a curious concept for a public theatre. By the way, some plans would help avoiding misinterpreting the photographs.

      • Alan M

        Plans aren’t important in architecture; what matters are the small images that can’t be enlarged.

        • Meme

          All pictures can be enlarged. You have to open them separately or zoom in to the website. And it’s not a joke.

  • Alan

    Is there a convenience in not posting plans, or is it that they weren’t submitted to Dezeen? If either one is true, then I wonder, what is gained? Surely a precise technical plan with a column grid can be a work of art, worthy of the Dezeen servers…

  • Guest

    Great volumes. If only they weren’t in brick.

    • Hed

      Great volumes. Luckily they are made of bricks.

      • Guest

        Are you often accused of being childish?

        • Hed

          No. Never.

          • Guest

            Well in that case I think we can safely say that “never” no longer applies.

  • spadestick

    You want the plans? Buy their books! Sick of this grovelling.

  • Doubtfuldodger

    Álvaro Siza at his best! His projects seem to get better and better the older he gets. Amazing man.