Repentigny Theater / FABG
Text description provided by the architects. The new Repentigny Theatre is the result of an architectural competition aimed at offering patrons a variable configuration room with 350 seats for various cultural activities, while also providing a prominent space for classical music. The project completes a civic ensemble called Repentigny Cultural Space, conceived and developed at the heart of the municipality.
To appreciate the Repentigny Cultural Space at its true value, a terrace-observatory was conceived to provide visitors with a panoramic view encompassing a local cemetery, the Purification church, the St-Lawrence river, Lebel Island, thematic gardens, the forecourt, and the Diane-Dufresne Art Centre. The space provides citizens with an opportunity to see their surrounding environment, consisting mainly of single-family residences, in a different light. It also provides an opportunity to strengthen the feeling of belonging to a territory and a community.
The intent was for the public spaces of the new Repentigny Theatre to energize the forecourt connecting it to the Diane-Dufresne Art Centre. The terrace-observatory, the staircase-bleacher, the largely windowed hall, and the positioning of the entrance surmounted by a marquee have been designed to maximize interactions within an outdoor space that extends the interior. The objective is to promote the holding of cultural mediation activities and socio-cultural events in an informal setting that complements the programing and contributes to the continuous animation of the place.
The Repentigny Cultural Space is an ambitious and unique project, incorporating emerging values shared by the entire population to transform the experience of living together in the suburbs by creating new public spaces. The goal was for the Repentigny Theatre to be much less introverted than an urban venue, with its public spaces opening onto the exterior, the forecourt, and the gardens. The terrace is topped by a roof made of cross-laminated wood panels which, when illuminated at night, marks the space’s identity on the scale of this new urban park, as does the theatre marquee on the scale of the sidewalk it overlooks.
The 2.4m x 12m x 220mm thick panels are suspended under steel beams supported by 300mm diameter HSS, finished with prefabricated tapered ends of the Cast Connex type. This deliberately expressive structure with its asymmetrical diagonals is intended as a lighter and airy counterpoint to the massive structure of the portico of the Diane-Dufresne Art Centre, which is reflected in its basin along the Allée de la Création.
Wood is also present on the ceiling of the room’s foyer, which is a large, double-volume space opening onto the outside and featuring a stepped staircase to facilitate informal occupation and the holding of complementary activities.
The room can be accessed both from the parterre and from the balcony, depending on the varied activities that can be conducted in cabaret or banquet format, in addition to the conventional configuration of the armchairs on the telescopic bleachers.
To address the variety of activities and occupations, the walls were lined with a device of vertical MDF slats of 19mm x 75 mm, spaced by 38mm, and arranged in front of absorbent panels of rock wool, 50 mm thick and concealed by a black geotextile fabric. This device, called an acoustic resonator, has been successfully used in multifunctional venues such as Mont-Laurier, and it offers the advantage of keeping the acoustics of the room alive while canceling the risks of unwanted floating echo or excess reverberation for amplified shows.
The exterior layout provides citizens with a multifunctional civic space that can be easily transformed. The open space was maintained without planning constraints, energized by the diagonals in the paving that continue inside the entrance hall, and framed by fevers that provide the necessary shade to minimize the heat island effect and offer citizens a pleasant environment in all seasons.