First designed by Lech Kadłubowski and Daniel Olędzki in 1967, the Wybrzeze Theatre in the port city of Gdańsk is one of the most renowned theatres in Poland. After decades of use, it became evident that time took its toll on the building’s aesthetics, safety, and general comfort and renovation was needed. Led by the founder of the architecture firm WAPA Architekci, Krzysztof Kozłowski, the overhaul included the reconstruction of the façade, foyer, and the auditorium, as well as the replacement of the stage mechanics.
Acoustic Comfort in the Theatre Foyer
The Wybrzeze Theatre has a long and rich history, and WAPA’s aim was to preserve and ameliorate its original function without imposing heavily on its architectural legacy. Its new façade invites passers-by to peek into the interior of the foyer, which was enlarged and brightened as part of the renovation. An impressive staircase leading to the first floor and monumental chandeliers were also added. The overall palette comprises a regal red and soft gold, which harmonise with the unique decor to help shape the atmosphere.
WAPA were looking for an acoustic solution that would offer excellent sound absorption properties, comfort, and flexibility, in addition to visual appeal. "We didn’t want the interior to be flashy, so that the colours would invite viewers and help them maintain an optimal level of concentration”, said the director of the Wybrzeze Theatre, Adam Orzechowski.
Because its surface has no visible joints between the panels, the designers ultimately selected Rockfon Mono Acoustic for a minimal and monolithic look. "In terms of acoustics, the foyer space had to be adapted to the new spatial structure”, said Kozłowski. "Rockfon Mono Acoustic grants these possibilities of obtaining a surface without any divisions. At the same time, it has excellent sound absorption”.
"It's ideal for such applications since it can be freely shaped. It easily adapts to the form, and at the same time, it ensures excellent acoustic conditions in the room. That is why we usually install Rockfon Mono Acoustic in key spaces like the foyer of the Wybrzeze Theatre”, said Ireneusz Kazatel, founder of the installation company THELIO.
The Wybrzeze Theatre’s Two-Level Ceiling
One challenge that emerged in installation was the diagonal assembly – the placement of slotted diffusers required the perfect fastening of Mono Acoustic panels to maintain the aesthetics of the surface as well as excellent acoustics. "In the foyer are beautiful chandeliers. To emphasise their oval shape and for installation reasons, we devised a two-level ceiling, which gave the design even more clarity”, said Kazatel.
The glass skylight required the preparation of a special project – the implementation of which took place in close coordination between THELIO and the contractor of the facility, Budimex, and in consultation with Rockfon specialists.
Despite the challenge, the Rockfon Mono Acoustic was successfully installed as originally envisioned. "Before renovating, we had excess reverberation and noise floated throughout the spaces during intermissions. Everything is ‘muted’ now. The foyer meets all acoustic parameters and is comfortable”, said Kozłowski. The Wybrzeze Theatre now stands as a modern facility within its original form, ready for its new lease of life.