Festspielhaus St. Pölten is one of Austria’s most distinctive contemporary theatre buildings.
The building designed by Graz-based architect Klaus Kada forms the mainstay and heart of the cultural quarter together with the state museum, state academy, state archive, state library, the Klangturm and the ORF regional studio as well as occupying a key position where the city of St. Pölten meets the Landhausviertel.
With its transparent foyer area and entrance facade directed towards the city the building deliberately opens out both in the direction of the city centre as well as towards the Landhausviertel.
For the architect Klaus Kada it was of particular importance that all members of the audience should feel comfortable in Festspielhaus St. Pölten. By creating open foyers, using a mixture of modern materials and bright colours he invites the audience to a social event where they play the leading role.
The building’s highly individual architecture with five venues of different sizes facilitates the programming of a very broad spectrum of events.
The Grosser Saal, which seats up to 1,079 people, with its pronounced colour scheme and striped seat covers that have long been something of a trademark, is unique. Together with its fly tower it also forms the outwardly visible architectural core of the building. The space with its excellent sight lines and outstanding acoustics as well as a fully equipped stage is conceived to be equally suited to performances of concerts, dance and music. Its multiple uses range from a proscenium theatre to an arena to a ballroom.
Situated next to the Grosser Saal, the Kleiner Saal is used for performances of chamber music. Also available for events in smaller formats are Rehearsal Room 1 and Rehearsal Room 2. The spacious foyers and the convenience of parking with a lift directly into the Festspielhaus show the success of the architectural design as does the choice of elegant materials for the Festspielhaus.
The iron safety curtain functions to separate the stage area from the auditorium and prevent the spread of fire. The steel construction weighing 15 tonnes uses sophisticated technology and was prepared with non-flammable and non-fusible materials. The total area of the stage opening is 200 m2.
The picture that Eva Schlegel created for the safety curtain in the Grosser Saal of the Festspielhaus in 1997 and which was reproduced on the initiative of Brigitte Fürle in 2013 symbolizes a “wide space that is as open as possible” and works with the phenomena of appearance and disappearance typical of the artist.