Royal Playhouse

Royal Playhouse by Lundgaard & Tranberg

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The New Playhouse is the one of the three Royal Theater buildings that houses the theater.

After a well prepared competition, Lundgaard & Tranberg architects was appointed winner, and the new building opened its first show in 2008.

Scale of the city

Royal Playhouse by Lundgaard & TranbergRoyal Playhouse by Lundgaard & TranbergThis building integrates very well with the scale, size and structure of the surrounding urban fabric, by aligning in height and facade line with the neighbors at Sankt Annæ Plads and by directing the flow of promenading pedestrians and cyclists around the building, presenting various views of the harbour.

The wooden deck continues in the foyer inviting bypassers inside in the café and adding to the public space of the city.

The Kolumba brick

A specially developed type of brick of unusual, long dimension, adds to the weight of the main volume and feeling as of a massive mountain with relatively small carved cutouts on the brick facades. The bricks continues inside out and will make you feel like walking into a mountain cave, wherein lies of course the main attraction: the new main stage of the Royal Theater.

This particular brick type was originally developed by the Danish brick factory, Petersen Tegl, and the world famous Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor, for his design of the Kolumba Museum in Cologne.

On top of this main volume rests a glazed storey, that is not usually open for visitors. This level houses the actors and other emplyees areas but also a very small, very intimate stage with the overview of the harbour as a backdrop.

Under this protruding glass box the foyer is framed by elegantly composed glass facades. The foyer space has a pleasant subdued acoustics and – when it’s dark – lighting in the form of spread out LED lightings, hung from the ceiling.

Finally it is worthwhile noting that architects and engineers in this building experimented with a new and sustainable method of cooling, as a reversed radiator using water from the harbour for cooling through canals built into the concrete construction.

Royal Playhouse by Lundgaard & Tranberg

Royal Playhouse by Lundgaard & Tranberg


Royal Playhouse by Lundgaard & Tranberg


It’s much too obvious to look at this building as a sister to the Opera on the other side of the harbour, which was finished a few years earlier, another relocation of an art form from the old Royal Theater building at Kgs. Nytorv nearby.
However it’s two sisters with very different personalities, since the two takes strikingly different roles towards the surrounding city.

The Opera blows the scale and stands out drastically, in an ostentatious manner, with its solitary placement in the very short but characteristic axis going through the royal residence. Actually the Opera was originally planned as a central part of a larger development with apartment blocks on both sides, which was never carried forward (so far).
Even though the Playhouse IS a prominent building, in comparison it seems very low key, modest and restrained, which are typical features of Danish architecture and design.

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