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Amphitheater reinvented. The project of a student of the Silesian University of Technology in the finals of the international competition

Dobrawa Bies
24 of September '20

A student of architecture at the Silesian University of Technology,{tag:studenci}, made it to the finals of the international fifth edition of the INSPIRELI COMPETITION student competition. This time one of the topics in the architecture category was the revitalization of an African amphitheater located in Burkina Faso.

This year's competition task was to restore the Théatre Populaire amphitheater located in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou to its former glory. The venue, which was built in 1986, covers an area of 1,600 square meters and can accommodate an audience of 2,500, but unfortunately its current state requires extensive renovation and a re-planning of its functions.

Nowy amfiteatr
w Burkina Faso

The project aims to highlight the value of the existing but abandoned Théatre Populaire amphitheater

© Katarzyna Dybała

The competition jury of 473 architects from 96 countries evaluated more than 1,300 submitted projects, of which it nominated 75 entries for the final round. Katarzyna Dybała's proposal entitled "Ring of activity" was also recognized in the architecture category. "Ring of activity", which was made by a student of Silesian University of Technology under the direction of Dr. Jerzy Cibis, Professor of Silesian University of Technology.

ring of activity - combining the old with the new

In the student's words:

"Ring of activity" aims to highlight the value of the existing but abandoned Théatre Populaire amphitheater. The presented design proposal seeks to show the direction in which the theater's activities can develop. The main idea of the project is to surround the theater with a ring, consisting of volumes covered by a corrugated roof. The curved roof structure allows easy access, both to the existing theater and to the newly designed forms.

Rzut projektu „Ring
of activity”

The main idea of the project is to surround the amphitheater with a ring of objects

© Katarzyna Dybała

The new landscaping design refers to the existing structure surrounding the amphitheater. The development site is located near the road that reaches it from the north, so the space intended for vehicular traffic (access and parking) was placed by the author in the northwestern part of the plot. In order to connect the new part of the theater with the existing buildings, Katarzyna Dybała planned an entrance zone in the southern part of the site. The eastern part of the plot is overgrown with rich local vegetation, which the student preserved by gently organizing it.

Przekrój obiektu

The roof divides the facility into three zones

© Katarzyna Dybała

three zones and new functions

Thecircular form of the new design concept ensures the integrity of all its parts and clearly defines the most important point of the project - the centrally located amphitheater. The designer divided the facility into three main zones, introducing a functional program consisting of a work area, a theater area and a workshop area. All three zones surround the existing amphitheater like a ring. Each is separated from the others by a roof that undulates down to ground level, marking the boundaries between functions. Access to the new structure is also possible where the wave of the roof is higher, making pedestrian traffic unconstrained by the number of marked paths.

Obiekt podzielony jest
na trzy funkcje Idea projektowa

Each of the functional zones has a different character

© Katarzyna Dybała

Each of the three functional zones has a different character. The work space is a single block containing a rehearsal stage with backstage and technical rooms, dressing rooms with a dining room and a meeting and rest area, studios with facilities. The workshop area consists of separate buildings arranged radially with respect to the amphitheater and housing a photography studio, recording studio, coworking space and archive. The last, third part, has a more casual character. It consists of an open foyer with space for posters and temporary exhibitions, a ticket office and multi-purpose booths for selling handicrafts and other products.

Nowy wizerunek

the facility is made of local materials

© Katarzyna Dybała

local construction materials

Katarzyna Dybała has opted for ecology and natural materials. The structure of the building can be easily made by local artisans, using local materials, i.e. palm wood, acacia, sun-dried brick, savannah grass. The main element of the roof is a frame made of palm wood and a covering in the form of dry vegetation - for example, savannah grasses. The buildings' foundations were designed using the rammed earth technique, reinforced with a mixture of stones and gravel. The walls, also made using this technique, have reinforcement in the form of internal reinforcement with a mesh of acacia branches. The exterior plaster covering the walls is a multi-layered, lime-clay plaster. The author zparoponated the walls with an additional thin layer of traditional patterns, hand-painted by local artists or the Ouagadougou community.

compiled by Dobrawa Bies

illustrations courtesy of Catherine Dybala

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