The investment entitled “Reconstruction of the Opera at the Castle in Szczecin” was co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund within the Regional Operational Programme of West Pomeranian Voivodeship for 2007-2013. The cost of the task “Reconstruction of the Opera at the Castle in Szczecin” was 74 953 629 PLN, including: funds from the European Union at the amount of 45 913 729 PLN, and the funds from the budget of West Pomeranian Voivodeship at the amount of: 28 745 371 PLN.
The Opera at the Castle started preparing for the realisation of the investment as early as in 2008 (reconstruction concept, initial plans for realisation and financing). For economic reasons the realisation of the construction works was divided into 3 stages. The construction works of stage I started on May 12, 2011 and their finish, in accordance with the contract on financing, was planned for autumn 2014, stages II and III we realised in the “design and build” formula and they were finished in autumn 2015. The ceremonious opening of the building took place on Nov 20, 2015.
Within the investment there were renovated and reconstructed the spaces used by the Opera at the Castle in Szczecin. The result is a modern multi-functional theatre room, which can be used for shows, conferences, concerts, together with proper technical infrastructure, lobbies, foyer and catering part accessible to employees and the audience. Ballet room and minor hall for smaller music shows were also reconstructed and acoustically and functionally adapted.
Within the scope of the project there were: the southern part of the East Wing (lobbies for the audience, sanitary facilities, passageways, cloakroom hall, box office hall), a part of the West Wing (administration, dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, workshops, costume storage), the whole South Wing where there was created an architecturally modern and functional auditorium which allows for realising music and dramatic shows of varied forms using modern spectacular solutions of theatre technology.
Some of the goals of the project were also to eliminate architectural barriers for the disabled and to improve the internal communication for viewers, to improve fire safety, to improve work conditions for artistic and technical staff, to rationalise water and energy economy, to equip the building with modern air-conditioning and ventilation systems, to upgrade the interior design, to change functions of selected rooms, to increase the number of seats in the auditorium, including places for people on wheelchairs.
As the building is protected by the West Pomeranian Voivodeship Conservator-Restorer, within the planned work there was not included any interference in its external shape, except for the necessary works, such as: organising the existing roof installation, roof reconstruction of the West and the South Wing (strengthening the existing construction), building a stage pocket in the South Wing (pursuant to the decision on construction conditions) and expanding the cellars under the West Terrace (pursuant to the decision on construction conditions). There was provided access to the historic chamber on the third floor of the Prison Tower, where XVI century polychromy was restored.
Project goals / reasoning:
The Opera at the Castle is a music institution of transregional significance. Its viewers are residents of West Pomeranian voivodeship, adjacent municipalities of Pomeranian, Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie voivodeships as well as foreign visitors, especially from Germany.
The seat of the Opera at the Castle, realised as one of the stages of reconstruction of the historic building after WWII, was opened in 1978. Due to the economic crisis, however, the construction of the opera at the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle was not finished. During the 30 years of its operations, the building was basically just maintained, which resulted in significant worsening of the economic, operation and safety conditions. In that state the building did not meet numerous legal requirements proper for entertainment centres, it was technologically outdated, inefficient, energy-intensive, unaesthetic, hard to operate, especially for disabled viewers and employees.
The designed reconstruction assumed new solutions for communication systems, functional changes in many rooms, total reconstruction of the stage technology, new interior design and also three restoration tasks: reconstruction of the historic wooden ceiling in the South Gallery, restoration of the XVI century polychromy in the historic chamber on the third floor of the Prison Tower and incorporating and exhibiting the uncovered back wall of the granary under the terrace of the East Wing and making it accessible to organised groups.
The main goal of the project was to reconstruct the Opera at the Castle so that there was improved the quality of infrastructure related to the cultural activities in Szczecin. Thanks to the realisation of the project it became possible to widen the spectrum of activities taken up by the Opera at the Castle in Szczecin and thus there was developed the cultural offer of the city and West Pomeranian region.