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Willow Theatre

Tim Lai ArchitecT

Project Description


The winning entry of World Stage Design sustainable theatre design competition 2013, Willow was constructed at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff, Wales, for the 12-day international festival of theatre, opera, and dance. The temporary structure was built in the courtyard of the Anthony Hopkins Center, which was a historic structure originally built in the 19th Century as a stable for the Cardiff Castle. It is simultaneously an interactive art installation, a theater and a venue for different performances, lectures, and conferences that can seat 150 people. When disassembled at the end of the festival, all materials will either be recycled, salvaged or reused. Despite the large-size structure, no drilling to the ground was required. The site was restored to its original state.
With a stringent budget, the design was inspired by the horticultural fleece which is a lightweight, translucent and recyclable material that is inexpensive and readily available locally. Multiple strips and layers of the airy fabrics were hung from the top of the modular scaffolding structure. The shape and motion of the airy fabric is reminiscent of the swaying branches of the willow tree. This creates a soft transition from the hard-edge interior facade of the existing building to the theatre as the visitors walk through and interact with layers after layers of fabrics until they come to the entrance of the theatre.
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