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An Umbrella for Everyman
Client: Salzburger Festspiele
Location: Salzburg 2004 - 2004
An Umbrella for Everyman
A mobile roof for the Cathedral Square in Salzburg

Summer after summer, theatre-lovers from all over the world congregate in Salzburg to watch the performance of Everyman in the Cathedral Square. Too bad if the weather doesn´t co-operate; then Everyman needs an umbrella.

The idea behind this project is based on two facts: first, only on the Cathedral Square is Everyman the real thing; second, the Large Festival Hall would no longer have to be at the ready to take over in bad weather, but could be used at those times for other Festival productions.

Technical requirements
The roof is required for only eight weeks of the year, so must be easy to store. The Cathedral façade must remain completely untouched, and the ground anchorage must not encroach on the important excavation site under the Square. It must be possible to open or close the roof within 20 minutes.

Basic solutions
However the Square is covered, rain will drum on the roof. Despite electro-acoustic amplification of the actors´ voices, any additional noise must be avoided. This problems is solved by two membranes: the upper to atomise the raindrops, the lower to collect and drain the water.

In addition, in fair weather the retracted roof should be inconspicuous, allowing an unrestricted view of the Cathedral façade and the actors.

The Lightness of Being
All these requirements resulted in a design which emanates lightness and is so compact as not to impair the historic ensemble or the view of the Everyman stage. The hydraulically-operated construction consists of metal trusses with a membrane skin; it enhances the atmosphere by taking into consideration the sensitive surroundings of this unique open-air venue.

Photos: Kaufmann|Partner
Text: Norbert Tomasi