On October 7, 2014 His Majesty King Mohammed VI, launched the Official start of construction of the Grand Theatre in Rabat with a desire was to give Rabat a theatre that will raise it to the rank of major cities of the Mediterranean.
The project which is approximately 27,000m² in area enjoys a remarkable location between the ancient twin cities of Rabat and Salé on the shores of Bouregreg River. It combines the prestigious history of the twin cities with an exceptional landscape formed by the fluid energetic Bouregreg River. Some of the major attractions in the area are the wall of Salé and Bab M'rissa, the Kasbah of Oudayas, the Hassan Tower and the Mohammed V Mausoleum.
The Grand Theatre incorporates an 1800 seat theatre including 20 seats for people with reduced mobility, a 7000 people amphitheatre, an experimental performance space/ rehearsal spaces and a 350 seater restaurant. Other auxiliary spaces include a smaller 520-seat theatre, creative studios and changing rooms for performers and specators. The theatre is one of the initiatives of King Mohammed VI to develop national cultural programs. The Grand Theatre was designed by Pritzker laureate Architect Zaha Hadid, who is associated with the distinct neo-futuristic designs that have powerful, curving forms and elongated structures as a symbol of cultural and artistic revival of the capital of the Kingdom.
The design is inspired by the River Bouregreg through its fluid nature. It grows out of the landscape forming a sculptural design which appears to be on the move and provides intuitive visual and physical guide to visitors through its continuous spatial flow from one space into another. The river also generates the landscape which engulfs the amphitheater and theatre. The building is constructed majorly in concrete with breaks of glass which provide ambient light during the day and glow in the dark at night. The entrance is characterized by a seamless flow from outside that goes into the main lobby then molding into grand staircases. The main auditorium has a brutal crystalline geometry inspired by traditional Moroccan muqarnas where the protrusions act as the gallery seating.
From the Architect Zaha Hadid:
“I am delighted to be building the Grand Theatre in Rabat. Morocco’s unique musical traditions and rich cultural history in the performing arts are renowned throughout the world. I am honored to be part of the cultural development of the nation’s capital.”