Matsumoto Performing Arts CentreEdit profile
The Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre is comprised of one small and one large performance hall and is located in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, on the site of the former theatre in the city center. The plan was drawn up for a competition among ten design teams. The larger hall, which seats 1800, was required to accommodate opera performances for the annual summer Saito Kinen Festival, as well as a variety of theatrical performances and other events. Smaller local events and citizens’ meetings are housed in the more intimate space of the 240 seat hall. In addition, the facility includes rehearsal rooms and studios that serve as venues for a wide variety of activities.
The biggest challenge was in finding a way to fit the entire program into an unusually shaped site that stretches from north to south like a wine bottle. The site width and other conditions, including the diagonal placement of the road, necessitated that the larger hall run along the southern side of the site. Although intuitively this would have placed the stage at the back edge of the site, such a configuration would turn the back of the building toward the residential area to the south. After studying a variety of patterns we came up with the idea of turning the hall around and placing the stage in the center. This configuration places the seating area and surrounding foyer on the south side of the site, alleviating the problem of front and back with respect to the neighboring residential area. An entranceway with a gentle sloping staircase into the foyer and the smaller hall were then placed along the site’s northern edge and a lobby space for relaxing was inserted between the large and small halls. By reversing the direction of the large hall we were able to create a fluid design without a front or a back, transforming the architecture into a park-like space.
Initially, for the competition, we proposed a milky-white double glass glazing for the building. After beginning the actual design process however, we realized that the surroundings were not uniformly attractive and that the interior spatial sequence leading up to the theatre deserved a more remarkable and inspiring façade. We wanted something that “used the same system and materials to create a lighting situation responsive to a variety of sequences,” and which would give “not a geometric impression, but a random and natural one.” The glass-inlaid GRC panels that we finally chose introduce soft light into the interior through randomly placed glass. The lighting shifts according to the amount of glass and the orientation of the outer walls to create a variety of places within a fluid and continuous space, beckoning visitors on towards the theatre.