The Royal Danish Playhouse forms a counterpoint in the urban fabric to the Opera House, opened just a few years previously. Like the latter, the site of the theatre lies at the old commercial harbour, but in contrast, in its scale the theatre building aims to strike a balance with its surroundings. Beneath the stage tower there are spaces for the artists and administration on a protruding level with ﬂoor-to-ceiling windows. The foyer and the outside area of the theatre have deliberately been designed to be attractive (semi-)public spaces open throughout the day too as pleasant places to spend time.
The Royal Danish Playhouse is located in Copenhagen’s old commercial harbour between the districts of Nyhavn and Frederiksstaden. The building was developed according to the winning design in a competition developed by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects. Located directly at the dock and with 40 percent of its space hovering above the water, the building is accessed via broad walkways on slender supports.
The edges of the cubature of the building slot neatly into the scale of the surrounding structures. The materials used in its construction, including flat, dark brick and copper cladding on the fly tower, make it reminiscent of a warehouse. Around the building there is a publicly accessible walkway that leads to the foyer. Sheltered from the wind, visitors can enjoy the view of the harbour from the café-restaurant here from long before the performances start into the early evening.
The theatre boasts three stages, with the largest (650 seats) located in a round, cavernous auditorium. Dark, bare brick transports the public to a space that appears to be carved out of rock with red, specially designed seating. Open balconies and a stage that can expand out into the auditorium help to break down the barriers between performance and audience. In addition, there are two smaller stages with 250 and 100 seats.
The uppermost level, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, houses the administration, rehearsal rooms, costume workshops and artists’ dressing rooms. It offers a panoramic view of the harbour, and also enables visitors and passers-by to see the artists’ preparations from a distance.
The Kvæsthus Pier directly adjoining the Playhouse was designed by the architects in 2016 as the »Ofelia Plads,« an open-air venue with stage and hospitality pavilions. Underneath, there is an underground parking garage spanning three stories.