Theatre as Architecture Architecture as Theatre
An ingenious collective of creative minds who create the cohesion of architecture, theatre, visual art and design.
Their structures aim to produce an alternative experience; whereby you become a performer-spectator hybrid within a subtly theatrical and elegantly architectural environment.
TAAT understand the rich necessity of material culture and the depth of emotion a material can have on our behaviour. Here, the designers develop an “architectural dramaturgy”: a setting that allows the boundaries of theatrical experience and actor to become subverted.
Their ultimate goal is to realise a building that is a play or a play that is a building.
It is Dutch theatre maker Gert-Jan Stam and Belgian architect Breg Horemans who founded TAAT during their successful collaboration for KHOR I, for the World Expo Floriade 2012. They soon learnt that their two disciplines could intertwine: provoking a deeper understanding of how we act within a space, a stage and a system.
Gert-Jan Stam is a theatre maker who studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Amsterdam School of Writing (NL). In contrast, Breg Horemans is a practicing architect at Wiel Arets Architets and studied at St-Lucas Gent (B). These designers have been collaborating since 2012, during which they have created some remarkable structures that evoke a new meaning to ideas on play, performance and human behaviour.
Concept: Gert-Jan Stam + Benoit Vanraes
Text: Gert-Jan Stam
Design: Breg Horemans
KHOR I was developed for the Floriade 2012 in Venlo, the Netherlands and was open everyday from the 5th April until the 7th October 2012
Implying a sense of peace and meditating rhythm, TAAT’s KHOR I is designed to introduce the visitors to the play they are about to perform. The centre of the theatre revolves around an installation of 40 wheels, one for each page of the play in Dutch, English, German and the local Limburg dialect.
In order to reach the script, participants must move from one wheel to the next; where their movement introduces the idea of a “performance”. The mechanical wheels are based on the mechanism of Buddhist prayer wheels. Surrounding the scriptures, a wooden pavilion of slim timber batons vertically cradles the space. Here the architecture resembles a bamboo forest and evokes a sense of privacy, intimacy and serenity.
Incorporating elements of design from KHOR I, KHOR II demonstrates a Do-It –Yourself construction. Here the local community can build their own theatre in one day; once created the structure acts as a platform for meetings, discussions and theatre. This project allows the interchange of social positions and the cohesion of society to create an architectural platform. In 2014, KHOR II won the Dioraphte Award.
Partners: Stichting SoAP, Festival Cement, Festival Boulevard, Cultura Nova, C/O
Funded by: Performing Arts Fund NL
“HALL33 is a building that is a theatre play // and // a theatre play that is a building”
HALL33 is the ultimate production of “spatial dramaturgy”; whilst the two participants explore a series of spaces, they also unpick the structure of their relationship with each other. Here the cohesion of subtle and sharp shifts in sensory catalysts (like sound and light) creates an emotional performance of expectation, disturbance, claustrophobia, discovery and drama.
To build up their concentrated vision, TAAT will create 32 sub-projects that all lead up to HALL33; increasing the complexity of rationalising decisions for their ultimate experience. In doing so TAAT will encourage the connection of people and organisation on a micro, meso and macro scale. Here the sense of community and the collaboration of ideas will form the base of their creative decisions.
Context: During TEFAF
Time: March 14th – 23rd 2014, from 12.00 until 18.00 o’clock (every 15 minutes two people can enter) Partners: Theater aan het Vrijthof, Bureau Europa, Provincie Limburg, Artburo Limburg, Stichting SoAP, C/O, TAKT/ Dommelhof and C-Mine Genk.
The installation was built within SAM decorfabriek, Meerssenerweg 215, Maastricht (NL)
Here the Theatre as Architecture Training Academy and TAAT brought together local architects and theatre makers to work on the theme where we can appreciate “how architecture can influence the experience of time”.
Within the workshops there was an interactive lecture by Frank den Oudsten on the theme of Narrative Space along with an improvisational performance by artist Nick Steur.
Context: Season Opening Studiobühneköln and Theaternacht Köln Time: September 19th- October 3rd 2014, from 12.00 until 19.00 o’clock; Theaternacht October 2nd 20.00 until 00.00 o’clock Partners: Studiobühneköln, Art&Amen, Planproject, Theaternacht Köln and TAKT/ Dommelhof. Production: Stichting SoAP Location: St.Michaelskirche am Brüsselerplatz, Cologne (DE).
Here instead of the theme of “time”, the designers approached a new theme of “initiation”. During the Festival Theaterszene Europa, TAAT brought together local architects and theatre makers who worked within a two day workshop; whereby the participants received a meeting with Pfarrer Bussmann, a lecture by Dutch theatre maker Roos van Geffen and a presentation and workshop by Dutch theatre maker Emke Idema.
Context: Biënnale Interieur, Kortrijk Location: Paardestallen Broelmuseum, Broelkaai 6 Time: October 17th untill October 26 2014, from 12.00 until 21.00 o’clock Partners: Kunstencentrum BUDA, Biënnale Interieur Production: Stichting SoAP
Originally produced for Biënnale Interieur 2014, in Kortrijk, Belgium, HALL03 is the third in the series of 32 sub projects that works towards HALL 33.
The workshop process for this project took place during the build up period, where TAAT worked together with students of the VTI in Kortrijk. The opening of HALL03 was serenaded with a series of masterclasses from Iwan Brioc (UK), Kani Abu-Bakr (SE), Alexander Römer (D) and Jozef Wouters (B).
Since KHOR II, TAAT have always constructed elements that can be easily disassembled and remade into a variety of different configurations. Acting as a travelling theatre kit, the projects proposed allow their location to be anywhere: a school // a street // a society.
Within HALL 03 slatted and solid timber is used to engage a sense of permeability between partitions that frame 19 connecting spaces; where the movement of the other user flickers in the corner of your eye and evokes a rhythmic sense of inclusion. The route exists of short flights of timber stairs, sliding doors, passageways and trapdoors.
The performance is created between two participants as they climb through the succession of transitional spaces. They interact without speaking and merely observe each other’s behaviour and movements. Here you become the actor and also the audience.
Visitors can watch threw the slatted timber to visualise an obscured physicality of performances; meanwhile bright lights cast deep and interlocking shadows that paint the surfaces with dramatic patterns. The gaps in the structure provide a sliver of space in which participants can interact with each other.
“We use architecture as a tool to create powerful ‘here and now’ experiences in which we try to tickle a higher sense of spatial awareness with our participants.“- Horemans
“Together with an unknown stranger you discover a series of spaces, in which your relation to the space and with the other is in constant negotiation,” – Horemans
At the beginning of 2016, TAAT announced that the team are step closer to realising the HALL04, -05 and -06 in 2016-17. They also wished thanks to the Flemish Arts Council, who granted their application for the next phase of the long-term project HALL33.
TAAT partners: Dommelhof Neerpelt, SoAP, CAMPO, Design museum Gent, #DAZ Berlin, Radialsystem V, Beursschouwburg,Workspace Brussels (along with many theatre and architecture school across the country)
TAAT is strongly supported by SoAP // see what they are up to here: www.soap-it.eu
Photography captured beautifully by Joao Morgado and Zenka Photography
Morgado is regarded as one of the 10 best architectural photographers in the world, from the magazine TopTeny NY. He understands how to capture light and the essence of a building exquisitely. Similarly, Zenka is known for capturing the beauty and the dramatic dynamics of a theatre production. Her clients include both established theatre companies, such as Staatsoper Berlin, and progressive, emerging theatre makers, such as Nick Steur as well as TAAT.
/ HALL06 – Brussels (BE), May – applied
/ KHOR II – BLYTH – R2R Conference, Blyth (CAN), September
/ BKRK – Openluchtmuseum Bokrijk (BE), July
/ HALL05 – Gent (BE), October – applied
/ HALL04 – Berlin (DE), September – applied
/ Disposition I + II workshop, Carlow (IE), 23nd October
/ TANDEM EU Partner Forum, Milan (IT), 18th-22nd October
/ Denkfest Advisory Board, Weinheim (DE), 14th September
/ KHOR II – La Paperie, Angers (FR), 13th- 20th October
/ KHOR II – Festival Boulevard, ‘s Hertogenbosch (NL), 6th- 16th August
/ Disposition 01 Workshop – Praque Quadriennale 2015 (CZ), 23rd June
/ KHOR II – Oerol, Terschelling (NL), 12th- 21st June
/ KHOR II – Festival Cement, ‘s Hertogenbosch (NL), 17th-21st March
/ Masterclasses – Het Huis, Utrecht, RWTH, Aachen, Toneelacademie, Maastricht, C-Mine, Genk, 9th-18th December
/ Residency – PACT Zollverein, Essen (DE), 25th November- 15th December
/ HALL03 – BUDA+Biennale Interieur, Kortrijk (B), 17-26th October
/ HALL02 – Art&Amen+studiobühneköln+plan project, Köln (D), 19th September – 3rd October
/ KHOR II (demo) – Cultura Nova, Heerlen (NL), 29th August- 7th September
/ HALL33 Presentation, ZKU, Berlin (DE), June 26th
/ HALL33 Workshop+Presntation, Festival Theaterszene Europe, Köln (DE), June 8th, 9th, 12th
/ HALL33 Presentation, Politecnico di Milano, Milan (IT), May 16th
/ HALL33 Presentation, International Theater Institute, Berlin (DE), April 23rd
/ HALL01 – Theater a/h Vrijthof & Bureau Europa, Maastricht (NL), 14-23th March
/ Presentation HALL33 at the ‘In Situ symposium, Writing Side by Side’, Stirling (UK), 22-28th February
/ Entry KHOR I in the exhibition ‘Re-Activate, Innovators of Dutch Architecture’, The Light House, Glasgow (UK) (ads.org.uk/access/events/exhibition-reactivate-innovators-of-dutch-architecture)
/ HALL00 – presentation and exhibition, Europe Refresh Fair, Les Halles Brussels (B), 14-17th October
/ HALL00 – presentation + exhibition and video, Flemish Architecture Day, C-mine Genk (B), 13-16th October