Festival theatre in Erl.

Festival theatre in Erl.

In the middle of the Tyrolean mountain landscape, Delugan Meissl Associated Architects realised the new festival theatre within a construction period of just 21 months.


Delugan Meissl Associated Architects



Erl, Austria

Architectural masterpieces.

A passion play theatre was built between 1957 and 1959 in the middle of the Tyrolean mountain landscape only a few kilometres from the border to Bavaria. Built based on plans by the architect Robert Schuller, the deceptively spacious 1500-capacity theatre is located in the municipality of Erl, which – coincidently – has just under 1500 residents. Robert Schuller inserted the building harmoniously into the landscape and made its unusual and bold shape a distinctive landmark for the area. The construction is still considered an acoustic and architectural masterpiece. However, heating was never planned for the building, which resulted in performances hitherto not being held in Erl in the winter.

Thanks to a private main financier, an architectural competition was offered for the new construction. The Viennese office of Delugan Meissl Associated Architects won the competition against renowned competitors. The Viennese realised the new festival theatre within a construction period of just 21 months directly adjacent to the old passion play theatre.

The architecture of the festival theatre consciously respects the existing passion play theatre. The office of Delugan Meissl Associated Architects thrust the construction as far as possible into the neighbouring precipice. They incorporated the curve of Schuller's building and guided it back out of the mountain. In order to create a contrast to the white passion play theatre, they placed a dark structure across from it. There is a colourful seasonal interplay: While the white passion play theatre melts into the snowy surroundings in the winter, the dark festival theatre stands out among the bright landscape. In contrast, in the summer the black shell fits into the background landscape characterised by dark forests so that the light façade of the passion play theatre is prominent in the foreground.

With its smooth white surfaces, the foyer creates an expressive contrast to the concert hall. It is determined by the distinct change of material. Wooden surfaces and subdued colours ensure a warm ambience. All 862 seats are classically located opposite the 450 square metres of stage area. The view from the orchestra pit is impressive. At 160 square metres, the pit is one of the largest provided for their orchestras by musical theatres around the world. Offices, rehearsal rooms, workshops and storage rooms are located around the large hall. In contrast, warm-up rooms, dressing rooms and make-up rooms are along long hallways. The office of Delugan Meissl Associated Architects selected the Gira E2 design line. It combines a puristic design with high quality. The Gira E2 switch line consists of shatter-proof thermoplastic with an elegant, slightly matt surface.

Conventional electrical installation

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