CONTEXT
Building the OSPA Theater at the Marcílio Dias Wharf will mark the history of Porto Alegre. It is going to be a large structure that will change the landscape and fill a gap in the city’s cultural infrastructure. More importantly, it will reinforce the peninsula’s role as a cultural center, an urban landmark, irreversibly occupying that space. OSPA will trigger a practical process that will force all unsolved issues to be solved based on the construction of this large theater. It will undoubtedly be the main vector for the spatial organization of the peninsula termination.

CONCEPT
Inserting the OSPA Theater as an important vector for the Porto dos Casais’ master plan should not change the solution found in a design competition for the assembly. The proposition presented here involves OSPA as an autonomous building that can integrate the projects that have yet to be developed without losing its own identity. OSPA is too important to be confused with a simple “shopping center” theater. We want it to have its own identity and address, something like “Marcílio Dias Wharf nº 97”, dissociating it from the adjacent shopping centers. On the other hand, because the project opens the OSPA stage on the east frontage (a big hangar door), it allows interaction with these spaces and with the ground itself while there is nothing built there. The idea is to strengthen the ties between OSPA and the local community, providing facilities for open-air popular concerts, taking advantage of the stage’s technical and scenic potentials.

The garages that have been reserved for OSPA in the future shopping center can be accessed through covered walkways.


DESIGN

Achieving technical and acoustic quality, cost-effective means, fast execution and a contemporary language to explore the potential of materials and techniques related to the history of Rio Grande do Sul is the central principle for the development of this project. The same sandstone used in our territory’s first important building – São Miguel – along with the Uruguayan-style facing bricks, the 1970s-style exposed concrete and the increasingly imposing steel are the elements that identify the state’s past, present and future high architecture. These materials are appropriate for the OSPA building because of their high durability and low maintenance. The stone self-supporting walls provide great acoustic insulation and make coating materials unnecessary, reducing the costs and increasing the speed of the construction process. Besides that, the materials also give the building a symbolic character that reflects its importance. The OSPA theater will have enough significance to establish a relationship with Usina do Gasômetro. We are obviously not proposing a clumsy or rustic building – the idea is to make it very elaborate but inexpensive.

A great fair-faced brick marking the avenida Mauá axis and marked by rectangular openings inspired by the old pianola perforated music stand is an element that creates an intriguing atmosphere due to its ample internal empty space, associating the appropriate solemnity and monumentality to OSPA’s importance. This brick explains, articulates and organizes all accesses and hallways, and also works as a service tower where the toilets, elevators, cloakroom, information desk and administration are. We also propose for this tower a service to sell copies of music scores by Brazilian artists, which would support and encourage the composers, reinforcing OSPA’s role as a quintessential musical center. Footbridges connect this tower to the orchestra, parterre, mezzanine, foyer and rehearsal room for visitors, which will be turned into a small conference room. All spaces can be accessed through the elevators, facilitating the circulation for the elderly (numerous OSPA’s concerts) and the disabled.

The tower is directly connected to the Marcílio Dias Wharf frontage. The idea is that, with or without the wall, the avenue has a theater on one side and a hotel on the other. Another possibility – more suitable for pedestrians while the wall is still there – will be through avenida João Goulart, giving direct access to the orchestra and the Music School, providing hotel guests and pedestrians in general with an alternative daily walkway to the quay, passing by the main hall (to enjoy the café, read the program, visit the museum, etc.).

The front of the house has been divided in sectors that are subdivided in two levels each: orchestra, parterre, grand tier and mezzanine, in a total of 1,516 seats from which everyone can see the edge of the stage. The balconies were not designed aiming to reach the requested capacity, but to create the right environment for watching concerts and operas.

A graphic software was used to ensure that the sight line of a spectator would be 8cm above the sight line of the person on the next row of seats, allowing everyone to see the edge of the stage when watching ballets or operas. In order not to make the steps in different heights, we opted for varying the distances between the rows horizontally. The spaces between seats in the orchestra is 95cm; in the parterre and the grand tier it is 90cm; and in the mezzanine it is 85cm. The rows with up to 14 seats and the 4 seatways ensure easy movement for the people in the audience. Disabled people (2% of the seats) have a specific area, like a platform, at the rear of the parterre. This space is large and allows other eventual uses (jury, grandstand, photographers, cameras, etc.). The VIP room is located next to the foyer with direct access to these platforms.

All the rehearsal rooms and music classrooms are designed to be acoustically efficient, avoiding unnecessary expenses with plastering or facing to correct their form. We propose that two rooms of the Music School be used as an acoustic laboratory and a recording room, allowing people to hear themselves and have other musical experiences beyond the traditional classes.

The controversy regarding the famous Mauá wall was resolved by the definite incorporation of the wall within the OSPA lot. Initially, it serves to protect the equipment and the storage rooms from water. When the rest of the wall is replaced, the part that is within that lot will remain, with a silk floss tree, as a historic reference to remember how contemporary design works respecting the context and its valuable historic elements.

We want to allocate a sum of 1% of the construction cost to the inclusion of artworks created along with the building’s design, like the parterre wood facing, the large artwork located at the circulation void and the acoustic sculptures at the square on the first floor, next to the café and the Music School

Project
Flávio Kiefer
Location
Porto Alegre/RS
Site area
10000 m2
Built area
7200 m2
Project date
1997
Contributors