A new showcase
The architectural concept proposes a new showcase for the Agora des Arts to enable it to assert its identity with an expressive architecture imbued with the spirit of the performing arts. The concept enhances the reception areas with open, glazed volumes facing the city that welcome the public. The Agora des Arts A logo is proudly displayed to designate this creative space.
Integration with the church
The architecture of the church, its brick façade, the proportion between the main floor and the sloping roof are preserved and highlighted by the addition of a new volume at the height of the existing stoop, which leaves the brick façade exposed. The main entrance is located at the sidewalk level, on one level. The staircase to the upper floor is placed inside the existing façade, under the staircase leading to the rood screen, to avoid a new high volume in the façade.
The café bar
The strongest element of the project is the café bar pavilion positioned on the first floor, on the side lawn, as an extension of the reception area. To attract customers and become a spontaneous gathering place, the volume of the café bar is visible from the street. The bar should not be just a counter on the floor of the hall as shown in the Functional and Technical Program (FTP).
Its prominent position allows it to receive the public outside the operating hours of the hall. This was a desire that was strongly expressed by the developer. This colored glass cube will present an attraction that no other cultural organization offers in Rouyn-Noranda. It will be visible and practical during festivals. It occupies the courtyard and offers the possibility of an outdoor terrace in summer.
A theater must be a spectacular and dynamic place. Red, a color associated with this function, is used on several surfaces, including the glass panels of the café bar, the interior wall of the foyer leading to the theatre, the side galleries on each side of the theatre, and the space in the bell tower as a lighted lantern.
Black is used as a complementary color to red. It is also very present in the theater, if only to accentuate lit elements on stage.
Gold is used for the gable of the bell tower and on the letter A of the Agora logo. It is a rich, warm color traditionally used in theaters.
The vault of the room must impress. An image, a silk-screen print, a lighting should highlight its shape and attract the eye when the public enters the room before a show. Ancient theater architects created scenes on the ceiling. This opportunity must be seized so that this form differentiates the room of the Agora des Arts from other theaters.
More generous reception areas are created at the entrance, to allow the public to gather easily before a performance and to encourage wandering and increase attendance.
An open and more generous foyer is made possible by slightly reducing the surface area of the rehearsal room to 140 m2. The rehearsal room will also be more functional because 2 of the existing columns are eliminated, which gives a quality space, clear and more flexible to accommodate other functions. This reduction in surface area allows for the creation of a washroom on the first floor, which is essential for the clientele of the bar and rehearsal hall when renting it out for banquets and events.
Moving some of the restrooms from the upstairs of the hall to the first floor and the rood loft helps to clear the circulation space at the entrance to the hall, between the stairs and the two airlocks, so that the public can gather and wait.
The ticket control point is located on the first floor, at the door leading to the staircase, between the entrance and the café bar. Beyond this point, all traffic is dedicated to the hall, the parterre and the rood screen. At intermission, the public descends to the bar and circulates in the glass gallery. The toilets on three levels disperse the crowd and create fluidity in the movements.
The redesigned scenography
To facilitate the movement and storage of equipment, two new storage areas open directly onto the stage and backstage. This was made possible by moving the green room into the costume workshop, which was removed from the program, and by eliminating the exit staircase between the church and the presbytery, which was also deemed unnecessary. The new storage spaces eliminate the mezzanine and staircase above the backstage area. This arrangement facilitates storage on the same floor and reduces construction costs.
The proscenium is mobile and becomes a lifting platform between the floor level and the stage. This platform allows the transfer of bleachers, seats and heavy equipment to the new storage spaces facilitating operations. It is thus possible to keep all this equipment on the same floor, greatly facilitating operations. The floor-level storage on the stage avoids the need to use the rehearsal room as additional storage. It will always remain functional. This mobile proscenium replaces the lifting platform on the courtyard side of the hall. The circulation of technical equipment, chairs and tables between the performance hall and the rehearsal hall will still be possible by using the passenger elevator at the back of the hall, on the front façade.
The proscenium can be lowered to the floor level of the hall, allowing for an additional row of seats and increasing the capacity of the hall. This will be very useful for music performances that often do not require a very deep stage and that, incidentally, are sold out. Here is another advantage of a mobile front stage.
Structural interventions affecting the existing part of the building are generally localized and aim at ensuring a satisfactory performance of the structure. Users have reported discomfort and concerns about vibrations and deformations of the main hall floor. The floor will therefore be rebuilt from scratch. A shoring system providing lateral support to the columns during construction will be required to ensure their integrity (double-height columns).
On the stage, 2 columns on the G axis are removed to free up the backstage area. The roof loads from the removed columns, as well as those from the new technical grid, are transferred to the adjacent columns which will be reinforced or replaced to carry the increased loads. The footings will also be replaced or reinforced. Note that this was already planned at the PFT for the additional weight of the stage house, 2 columns are transferred to the first floor in order to free up space in the basement rehearsal room. The new transfer is done by adding steel beams on both sides of the existing beams and columns to avoid temporary shoring of the roof structure. The beams will be sized so as not to interfere with the headroom of the rehearsal hall.
The concept for the new foyer involves partial stripping of the front façade at the basement level, which is made possible by supporting the first floor walls with a system of steel beams and columns, which are supported on the existing foundation walls.
Finally, we propose a conventional steel extension, consisting of a steel deck on steel beams. Since the proposed structure is a single story, it is braced by connecting to the diaphragm of the new first floor and the foundation walls of the existing building, avoiding the addition of bracing. This structure will be carefully designed to express the transparency of the new volume, but also in the respect of the budgetary context.
The main electromechanical objectives are public safety, visual and acoustic comfort, energy efficiency and ease of maintenance of the systems. New toilet blocks with low-flow equipment will be installed. The building will be fully sprinklered and risers installed.
New air conditioning and humidification systems will ensure user comfort during the summer months. A rooftop ventilation system (5000 l/s) will be installed for the church area and an air exchanger (950 l/s) combined with a direct expansion dry cooler will treat the rectory area. In addition, dedicated humidification and dehumidification systems will treat the storage rooms of the two pianos in order to maintain constant temperature and humidity conditions.
The supply of fresh air, which has a major impact on energy use, will be controlled via C02 probes. Priority will be given to the use of high efficiency electromechanical equipment in order to reduce the operating costs of the Agora des Arts.
Noisy equipment will be moved away from the theatre production sites and the air duct systems will be equipped with silencers, in addition to being sized at very low speed. The systems will be designed in a modular fashion to facilitate maintenance and minimize the impact on building operations.
The three existing 120/240V electrical inputs will be demolished and replaced with a single electrical input with a capacity of 600A at 347/600V. Noise generating dimmers will be moved away from locations where sound levels are paramount.
(From competitor's text)
(Unofficial automated translation)
2.4.1- The architectural proposal ensures a remarkable presence of the new theater from the street.
2.4.2- The sustained presence of color (red, gold and black) on the different components of the proposal provides an attractive playful and theatrical effect.
2.4.3- The visitor's circuit from the entrance door to the room remains however confused and uninviting.
2.4.5- Certain functional clumsinesses diminish the interest of the proposal (access staircase not very visible, omnipresence of bathrooms adjacent to the foyer, unresolved universal accessibility).
2.4.6- Despite the transparency proposed for the street level foyer, the numerous interventions proposed on the front façade of the church do not succeed in creating a conceptual coherence between them (bar/bistro, vestibule, exterior staircase, elevator).
2.4.7- The rationale for the proposed exterior staircase has not been clearly demonstrated.
2.4.8- The modification of the room proposed through a variable height proscenium is appreciated.
2.4.9- The proposed interventions in the façade mitigate the enhancement of certain heritage features of the church.
(From jury report)
(Unofficial automated translation)
24 scanned / 19 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel
- Site Plan
- Axonometric Drawing