Zaha Hadid Architects and the Bouregreg Valley Development Agency Announce the Rabat Grand Theatre

• November 23, 2010

In Morocco, Zaha Hadid Architects and the Bouregreg Valley Development Agency Announce the Rabat Grand Theatre.

I am delighted to be building the Grand Theatre in Rabat… Morocco’s unique musical traditions and rich cultural history in the performing arts are renowned throughout the world. I am honoured to be part of the cultural development of the nation’s capital.

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid, founding partner of Zaha Hadid Architects, and Lemghari Essakl, Managing Director of l’Agence pour l’Aménagement de la Vallée du Bouregreg (The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency) signed an agreement for the architectural design of the Rabat Grand Theatre at a ceremony held in Rabat.

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Rabat Grand Theatre, render courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

During the event, Mr. Essakl also signed the project financing agreement with Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar, Moroccan Minister of Economy & Finance, Mr. Taieb Cherkaoui, Minister of the Interior, and Mr. Abdelouahed Kabbaj, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Hassan II Fund for Economic & Social Development.

With a dedicated land area of 47 000 sqm and a gross floor area of 27 000 sqm, the Rabat Grand Theatre is a cultural venue of the highest standards. It will include a 2,050-seat theatre, a smaller 520-seat theatre, creative studios and a fully-equipped outdoor amphitheatre with a capacity of up to 7,000 people. The cost of the project is estimated at 1.35 Billion Moroccan Dirhams (120 Million Euros).

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Rabat Grand Theatre, render courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

The Grand Theatre will be located in the Bouregreg Valley, a 6,000 ha area in the heart of the Moroccan capital, home to one of the largest developments in the country. By the end of 2014, the valley will host a wide range of residential, commercial, leisure and hospitality complexes, turning Rabat into one of the most attractive destinations of the Mediterranean area. With its dynamic, innovative design and cutting-edge infrastructure, the Rabat Grand Theatre will be a major landmark in the region.

In his statement to the press, Mr. Essakl said,

The Grand Theatre is part of a national programme of cultural development initiated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. The construction of the Grand Theatre will allow Rabat to showcase its rich cultural heritage as one the world’s greatest cultural centres.

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Rabat Grand Theatre, render courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

+ Architect’s statement by Zaha Hadid Architects

The site for the Grand Theatre sits in the geographic centre between the twin cities of Rabat and Salè; the historic Kasbah Oudayas to the north-west, the ancient city of Salè and airport to the north-east, Chellah and the Royal Palace to the south-west and the proposed Sequence III of Amwaj Development to the east.

The design takes its energy from the Bouregreg River. The dynamics of the river is introduced into the site, generating the landscape of the park that engulfs the amphitheatre. This gesture gathers strength from the ground and in one fluent sweep, extends into the sky to generate the envelope that sculpts itself over the two auditoria, arches back to the ground and melts back into the landscape.

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Rabat Grand Theatre, render courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

This formal gesture hides an underlying economy in acoustic strategy and back-of-house organisation. The solidity of the theatre to the west shields the open air amphitheatre from both the western sun and noise from Moulay Hassan bridge. The decision to align all three theatres back-to-back allows the three auditoria to share the back-of-house facilities and reduces the size of the building services.

These fluid sculptural forms create a seamless spatial experience that flows into the main foyer, moulding the grand staircases. This fluidity provides an intuitive visual and physical guide for visitors.

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Rabat Grand Theatre, render courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

+ About

The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency is a public company in charge of the development and project management of the Bouregreg riverbanks. The Agency also supervises large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Rabat-Salé Tramway.

London-based Zaha Hadid Architects is internationally known for consistently pushing the boundaries of urban architecture and design. Some of the firm’s seminal works include the MAXXI: National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg and the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati. Zaha Hadid was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004.

+ Project credits / data

Project: Rabat Grand Theatre
Location: Rabat, Morocco
Program: Culture | Grand Theatre, Multi-purpose Theatre, Amphitheatre
Size: Site Area: Approx. 47,000 m2
GFA: Approx. 27,000 m2

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects | http://www.zaha-hadid.com
Design: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Associate: Nils Peter Fisher
Project Leader: William Tan
Project Team: Torsten Broeder, Martin Krcha, Hoda Nobakhti, Rafael Contreras, Yevgeniya Pozigun, Michal Treder

Client: Agence pour l’Aménagement de la Vallée du Bouregreg (The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency) | http://www.bouregreg.com
Structure Engineer: Adams Kara Taylor [London]
MEP Engineer: MaxFordham [London]
Acoustics & Theatre: Artec Consultant [New York]
Facade: Donnell Consultants Incorporated [Florida]
Lighting: Office for Visual Interaction Inc [New York]

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Category: Architecture, Culture

Comments (1)

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  1. sheila reyes says:

    the structure is really breath-taking. maybe when we are actually there in the place we might feel that we are in a different dimension since it really sets apart from the surroundings. i hope to see an airport with same design as that. it looks as if its a spaceship that just landed.
    if i may suggest, i hope you have a parking space a little far from the building itself then the people from the parking area will ride a vehicle that would look like the building and take them inside the front driveway or the lobby. this way, the cars wont break the futuristic ambiance.

    just sharing.
    -sheila and vincent
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