28 Dec 2015

How to make a neutral space where you can superimpose a diversity of objects

Project: Teatro Oficina

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Years: 1984-1994

Size: 699.29 sqm

Team: Lina Bo Bardi and Edson Elito (architects), José Celso Martinez Corrêa (theater director, actor, playwright)

Initiators: Teatro Oficina, José Celso Martinez Corrêa, Uzyna Uzona


Teatro Oficina Renovation Project


The stage is a 50m x 9.5m walkway connecting the entrance to the theater back wall, with a center lane of 1.5m laminated wooden planks. Vertically, metal collapsible structures in overlapping levels, seats up to 450 members of audience. The old existing walls are practically the only constructive element kept from the existing building, and are juxtaposed to the metal structures; providing stability to the assembly and supports the newly added enclosed preparation rooms, dressing rooms, and toilets.

The theatre includes an indoor garden and a waterfall fed by 7 tubes. It is connected to a reflecting pool giving access to fire a gas in the center lane running through the space.

The space is naturally ventilated as air is swept from the ground floor up through to the wind hoods in the ceiling.

What it Accomplishes

The project built a street/passage, which serves as walkway between Jaceguay street to its parallel road. It provides a fully transparent space in which all environments compose a unified scenic area – ‘the entire space is scenic’ and part of the scene.

The actors and actresses, technicians, public as well as all equipment, are all part of the show. Nothing is hidden an all remain part of the ‘main’ scene. Actors are visible from all points of view, as opposed to a traditional Italian stage. In Teatro Oficina, actors exposed in all its dimensions, and act as a mirror to the public.

Stage lighting equipment is fully exposed complementing the space and allowing diversity in stage settings. The theatre is designed to allow multiple actions to simultaneously occur in different parts of the space. Dispersed access to electricity, gas, and water gives freedom for each production to choose placement of the ‘stage’.

The large brick walls contrast the main demountable metal structures. The ceiling height reaches 13 meters under the sliding roof. The facade to the street Jaceguay, were kept gray without much alteration to create an element.






Alternatives to using space

01 | Small circular formation in center

01. Small circular formation in center

02. Band against wall, audience in half circle

02. Band against wall, audience in half circle


03. Performance on ground floor, audience filling all other areas

04. Solo activity

04. Solo activity


Ground floor circulation through building – expands theatre to areas outside building walls. Building serves as a street passage.