Color Choreography

Mitchell Mead, Karissa Mazzara
University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Spojené státy americké

Project idea

Theaters are the greatest design opportunity any architect could have the privilege to develop. They are the creative backbone of societies and enable performers and artists to envision a new cultural future. The act of theater requires collaboration, not only between performers, but also with the audience. It is the dynamic relationship between the performers and the audience to create a new reality which invokes the magic of theater. The Center for Dance Choreography La Termitiere (CDC) elevates the potential and intention for what a theater can do. The CDC began in order to provide Ougadougou a center of cultural expression and congregation. Since its inception in 2005, the theater has become so much more than simply a theater; it is a place of inclusion and social advocacy. With projects like Refugees on the Move and the Body Dialogues, CDC is repurposing the act of theater. No longer does the relationship between the audience and performer solely exist within the theater. CDC has shown that their audience is the community of Ougadougou and their biggest performer is the theater itself.

We began our design process by first thinking how can we align the new theater with the mission of CDC: integrating the community and promoting a sustainable theater. As we began to design, we realized that the choreography of dance has been how the CDC achieved its mission. Choreography creates impact by finding the most elemental movements and intentionally progressing them to tell a narrative. How could we apply the power of choreography to a language of architecture?

Project description

Color Choreography outlines a new future for the CDC, one which is vibrant and filled with celebration. We created an architecture which is sensible of what already exists and connects it into what will come. While a single string, or termite, is not capable of producing an entire space, it is through their collaboration which creates something that could have never been done alone. This project reimagines how a theater can become a tool for community collaboration and connecting people through the act of architecture.

Technical information

One of the most fundamental elements of architecture is the string. Many architectural historians theorize that the first act of architecture was weaving because it arranged materials to define a space. We wanted to manifest a space which uses choreography of strings and color to connect the people of Ougadougou. New buildings expand the program of the CDC and reflect the form and materiality of the existing buildings.

Old and new buildings are joined and cladded through a vast system of choreographed strings and colors. Through computational design, we were able to develop greater complexity in the expression of elemental architecture. Color Choreography brings the simplicity of the string into the modern era for the new theater.

The most important things for us was to maximize accessibility and encourage artistic expression by incorporating the whole community into the design. We did this by using a simple material like strings to allow the community to have a hand in the design and construction, as well as by organizing the site to draw people in from all over the city. The paths on either end of the site provide a welcoming entrance from the park in the south, and the river and city in the north. The program is organized radially around the amphitheater to create a continuous circulation that can be entered or exited from any side. The east side of the site, farther from the main entrances, becomes the private area, with programs that require quieter spaces like the studios. The west side closest to the path becomes a public space with programs like the terrace. The conviviality space is pushed into the amphitheater to encourage people to enter the amphitheater and join a lively atmosphere. The string design also augments the existing buildings without destroying them by giving a newly energized facade that blends seamlessly into the rest of the site.


Karissa Mazzara


Show PDF 1

Copyright © 2023 INSPIRELI | All rights reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and use of cookies.