Innovation stage

by MICHELE KOH MOROLLO on Mar 13, 2012 in Architecture , Interiors , Lifestyle
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Defying what’s expected of a traditional performance venue, the Genexis Theatre in Fusionopolis uses technology and innovation for dramatic effect

Born from a masterplan by Zaha Hadid, Fusionopolis is a research and development complex that is part of a larger science, education and technology hub called One-North in Singapore. Designed to be a ‘work and play’ space for the scientific and tech-savvy community, Fusionopolis envisions a vibrant zone with labs, offices, shops, restaurants, homes and other facilities.

It is here that Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates, together with multidisciplinary architecture consultancy Arup, brought to life the award-winning Genexis Theatre, a 2,500 sq-m space which cost S$25.5 million and took three years to complete.

“The development is an embodiment of Dr Kurokawa’s concept of a ‘work, live, play, learn’ environment,” says Andrew Nicol, principal and regional leader of Arup’s acoustic and theatre consulting practice in Australasia. “For the Genexis Theatre, the inspiration for the project came from the client, JTC Corporation, and from the local arts community. Early consultation to define the design and brief for the theatre identified that it needed to be very different from other similar-sized theatres in the region.

“In order to make it a ‘destination’ or ‘go to’ venue, it needed to be highly transformable so that its appearance was different and fresh each time it was visited. The vision was for a place that would feel intimate and easy to perform in, perhaps for emerging artists or younger emerging talent, as well as a vibrant spot for art to gestate and develop.”

Nestled among three mixed-use multi-storey tower blocks, engulfed within an egg-shaped form and suspended between translucent-blue tower blocks resting on a single column, Genexis breaks many of the structural conventions of traditional theatres. Its access and exit points, acoustics and spherical form that appears to float over the Fusionopolis podium defies old rules about theatre design, and it was this bold approach that won Genexis the 2009 President’s Design Award.

 Read the full story in the April 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!