White icon revived

White icon revived

In the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is not exactly lacking in architectural sights, the Düsseldorf theatre stands out in particular. Together with the neighbouring Dreischeibenhaus, it forms one of the most important ensembles of post-war architecture in Germany – the building, designed by Bernhard Pfau and completed in 1970, is quite rightly a listed building.


ingenhoven architects



ingenhoven architects / HGEsch



Düsseldorf, Germany

New start necessary

But the gleaming white, gently and organically curved building was starting to age. On the one hand, its structural condition was no longer that of a modern theatre and, on the other hand, structural mistakes had led to defects in the roof and façade. It was therefore the task of the Düsseldorf firm ingenhoven architects to redevelop it comprehensively, while at the same time restoring its appearance to its original state.

Grand entrance: the open ceiling construction forms a sculptural prelude (photo: HGEsch).

Great effort for a new face

A major challenge was the façade made of up to 16-metre-long steel sections without butt joints, which were fastened to the structure with a special clamp specially manufactured by Thyssen. As redevelopment was not advisable here, all elements were completely reconstructed and replaced using modern methods and materials – and the effect formerly desired by the architect Pfau was fully achieved again. The Ingenhoven team removed only those elements that had been added at a later point in time, such as the ticket booth in front of the building.

Fascinating exterior and interior

In addition to the building envelope, all interior areas relevant to the public were also renovated, with the exception of the two theatre halls, which had been redeveloped only about ten years ago. But the spectacular foyer below the supporting structure of the main auditorium, the stairways and the cloakroom areas received a thorough facelift, including furnishing and lighting. The revised design still relies on the high-quality natural stone floors, combined with warm wooden tones and emphasised by bold colours and black. The switches and socket outlets of the Gira Esprit Linoleum-Multiplex design line, which combine high-quality materials with a distinguished modern look, are a perfect match. The Düsseldorf structural and cultural icon is now ready again for its sophisticated audience.

The Schillings restaurant in the Düsseldorf theatre. (Photo: HGEsch)

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