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2014 MCHAP

Guthrie Theater

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Minneapolis, MN, USA



Jean Nouvel / Ateliers Jean Nouvel


Architectural Alliance (Architect of Record)


Guthrie Theater - Joe Dowling


Philippe Ruault Roland Halbe




THE NEW GUTHRIE – AN INTERTWINED INTERPRETATION OF TWO HISTORIES Everything comes from from somewhere: cities, theaters, people. Our birth has a cause forever inscribed in our genetic makeup. Thus, if Minneapolis had not had its waterfalls, boats would not have stopped here, mills would never have been built, and it would have remained a village. And if Tyrone Guthrie had not had a certain conception of popular theater, a thrust hall as unique and revered as the Guthrie’s would never have seen the light of day. Today the Guthrie is coming to settle in the historic golden rectangle near the falls, next to the old mills, in the industrial quarter that invented Minneapolis. Thus two histories, two legends, meet. And the Guthrie will discover that the theater is a sort of industry, a place of production, of sets and big trucks; that the building to be created is governed by a series of linked functions; that it is a process about fabricating and presenting a spectacle, and that architecturally all this can be expressed in relation with the history of industrial buildings. And Minneapolis will discover that history continues to be made; that if industry borne of the river contributed to its former prestige, culture has become an important part of its image and appeal today. This is why the architecture of the Guthrie, by its volumes and colors, can be read as a far-off echo of silos; and why the shared lobby advances like a bridge to contemplate the waterfalls; and why the lighted signs above the adjacent silos dialogue with those of the theater; and also why industrial bridges take the place of skyways, and why, finally, next to the direct re-interpretion of the thrust hall, two new theaters, one frontal, the other flexible, complete the industrial metaphor of the new Guthrie. The rest is just architecture. Without nostalgia, because this dialogue is obviously a perfect pretext for inventing and using the materials and techniques of the 21st century. Today as yesterday, history and modernity are friends, and the Guthrie, amidst mills and bridges, discovers its ambition to become a clear historic marker of the vitality and inventiveness of theatrical culture in Minneapolis in the year 2002. Jean Nouvel

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