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Eller + Eller Architekten

Theater Dortmund

Eller + Eller Architekten GmbH
Eller + Eller Architekten GmbH
Building type
theaters, opera houses, concert halls, cinemas
building project
material façade
The theatre building is located in the core area of Dortmund between the busy Hiltropwall, Hövelstraße and the theatre square. After the Dortmund Theatre, built in 1904, was badly damaged by bomb hits in 1943/44, a discussion flared up after the war about reconstruction or demolition. In the end, the decision was made in favour of a new building that consciously distinguishes itself from the past and represents the new era. After completion of the Kleines Haus (Schauspielhaus) on Hiltropwall in 1950, a competition was held for the Großes Haus. The joint design by the Düsseldorf-based architects Heinrich Rosskotten, Edgar Tritthart, Edgar Frasch and Josef Clemens was successful. It was realised between 1958 and 1965 and the new opera house was inaugurated on 3 March 1966.
The architects dispensed with monumental gestures and ostentatious furnishings and instead created a modern building which, in the new democratic spirit, was intended to provide the inhabitants of the industrial city of Dortmund with easy access to art and culture. The organic form of the dome, which arches over the opera house and symbolises dynamism, innovation and lightness, stands for this.

Its construction, developed by the structural engineer Karl Wüst, is considered a masterpiece of structural engineering. The 8.5-centimetre-thick concrete shell, supported on three points, is stretched between three 70-centimetre-wide concrete arches. With an apex height of almost 17 metres, it arches over a base area of 1800 square metres. The dome is covered with triangular copper plates, which have meanwhile developed a green patina. The sides are glazed to floor level and allow a view into the foyer and the stairways. Some of the original interior furnishings have been preserved to this day.