The Grand Theater of Rabat is a performing arts center comprised of an amphitheater with capacity for 7000 people, an 1800-seat indoor theater, an experimental performance space, rehearsal spaces, shops, and a restaurant. The theater complex is located on the Rabat side of the Bouregreg River. It was designed by the late Zaha Hadid and her architectural firm, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). Its design - described by ZHA as a fluid sculptural form - is meant to resemble the Bouregreg River. Planning began in 2010 and on October 7, 2014, King Mohammed VI launched the official start of construction. The theater is intended to be part of a mixed-use district, currently under development along the river.
Reda Kessanti, senior designer with ZHA. “The theater is built as a ‘box in a box,’ in which the internal spaces are structurally isolated from the exterior. The concrete cladding is supported by a grid of ribs and a steel infrastructure spanning the building’s unusual shape. The building envelope is sculpted from the upper part of the amphitheater; its terrace offers a magnificent view of the valley.” Deep pilings also provide structural sturdiness in this riverine landscape.
“The form, which is both soft and strong, curves toward the ground and offers an outdoor amphitheater that then gradually merges with the surrounding landscape...The Grand Theatre of Rabat obtains its energy from the Bouregreg river and integrates with the environment of the valley. The dynamic of the river is represented on-site in the landscape of the park that engulfs the theater as well as the amphitheater.” (1)
(1) O’Connell, Kim. 2019. “Zaha Hadid Leaves Behind A Masterpiece (Theatre) In Rabat, Morocco.” Redshift EN. April 4, 2019. https://redshift.autodesk.com/theatre-rabat/. Archived at: https://perma.cc/T4HW-EJQQ.
"Grand Théatre de Rabat." Zaha Hadid Architects. Accessed October 23, 2019. https://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/grand-theatre-de-rabat/. Archived at https://perma.cc/H2Z9-JZL4.
"Grand Théatre de Rabat / Zaha Hadid Architects." ArchiDATUM: Architecture in Africa. ArchiDATUM, 2015. http://www.archidatum.com/projects/grand-th%C3%A9atre-de-rabat-zaha-hadid-architects-zha/ Archived at https://perma.cc/8MTW-VCKJ.