Conceptual Cirque du Soleil venue combines complex geometrical forms

Graduate shows 2015: performances by the Cirque du Soleil theatre group could be viewed through openings in the curved form of this building proposed for New York by students from the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

The project was developed by Lenka Petráková, Viki Sándor, Piotr K Prokopowicz and Roman Hajtmanek as a potential venue for the Canadian circus and theatre company, which is famous for its extravagantly choreographed shows.

The team chose to draw inspiration from the history of the Cirque du Soleil, which started out as a troupe of circus performers staging shows in public spaces and engaging the audience in their acts.

"In our design we wanted to create a building as a shelter for performances for ordinary people, as well as for professionals, where everyone has the chance to participate," Lenka Petráková told Dezeen.

Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek

"Therefore the building is divided into different parts where the scale of the performance stage as well as the audience spaces interweave and the difference between these two groups blends together."

Proposed for a site at Pier 8 in Brooklyn's Red Hook district, just south of BIG's proposed triangular viewing platform, the building is based on the premise of "watching and being watched". Large windows are incorporated into the complex curving surfaces, enabling those outside to glimpse the performances taking place.

Ideas of balance, and the merging of indoor and outdoor spaces informed the development of the proposed structure, which is formed of shapes inspired by gömböcs – geometric three-dimensional elements with just one stable point of equilibrium.


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Combining these shapes in a variety of configurations creates a structure with a series of different spaces that could be used as performance venues and teaching studios.

"Thanks to the curves we were able to create various definitions for stage and auditorium space within one surface, as well as incorporating communication zones and, when needed, opening the form toward the public space outside of the building," added Petráková.

Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek

A public zone by the building's main entrance would accommodate areas for visitors to practice performing, which would also be visible from outside.

Professional training spaces would be contained in the voids formed between some of the intersecting shapes, with the surrounding areas designated as public walkways providing views of the performers.

The main auditorium would be flanked by banks of seating and feature an extendable stage that could be used to adapt the space to suit different types of performance.

Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek

The students developed the project as part of Hani Rashid's architecture diploma studio at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The Asymptote Architecture co-founder focuses on helping students to develop their conceptual, practical and critical skills.

Other projects by this year's European architecture graduates include architecture for atheists and a risk theme park.

Images are courtesy of Studio Rashid.

Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
3D diagram – click for larger image
Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
Concept diagram – click for larger image
Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
Design development diagram one – click for larger image
Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
Design development diagram two – click for larger image
Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
Design development diagram three – click for larger image
Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
Design development diagram four – click for larger image
Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
Plan – click for larger image
Cirque du Soleil by Lenka Petrakova Viki Szandor Piotr K Prokopowicz Roman Hajtmanek
Section – click for larger image