Open-Air Cinema Prachatice
The old outdoor cinema of Prachatice, located in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, has been transformed by Mimosa Architects. The office describes the project as follows:
Through a complete reconstruction, the dilapidated former open-air cinema with a huge capacity of 800 seats, was transformed into a functioning complex with a more sustainable capacity of 350. The shrinking of the grounds also allowed the creation of much-needed buffer areas between residential buildings and the cinema grounds, with the implementation of acoustic measures, and lastly the creation of a new connection between the surrounding residential complex and the nearby town centre via Štěpánka’s Park.
The old cinema´s buildings were, given the difficulty in their adaptation and the overall state, demolished, as was the original projection wall that was shading the park. Three new buildings contain all the necessary facilities – cash desk, buffet, hygienic facilities, the projection booth, a smaller projection wall with some rooms for the artists, and storage. The cinema is accessible to all in its entirety. The original “fractured” fencing toward the residential street was preserved. The fractured motif was also applied to newly built gabion walls, which separate the grounds from the residential buildings to the north. The area's natural terrain modulation was also preserved, used to naturally slope the cinema towards the projection wall.
The principles of the objects are given by their seasonal use, film inspirations, and associations. The system of film reels leading the film in a projector, the design transforms into the forms of individual objects, where in place of a film strip, the wheels control the ropes of the roof. The tarp of the roof, a subtle steel construction, and a sheet of corrugated steel create an illusion of light, seemingly provisional “summer” objects.
The corrugated sheets are another nod to a movie illusion, created by the rhythm of individual fields, alternating light and shadow. The use of black steel visually connects the cinema to an earlier renovated Municipal Theatre of Prachatice.
Another substantially used material is stone. Granite paving, larger stone pieces, and gabion walls connect to the stones used in the town's centre. Where the grounds meet general public areas, a rigid stone paving was used, whereas, inside the cinema grounds, a “softer” more natural cut stone was used.
The textile roofing of the stage and a part of the auditorium increases the comfort of the performers and audience, whether it would be on a sunny afternoon or a rainy night, and positively impacts the acoustic properties of the cinema. Sky overhead the visitors is preserved for the majority of the auditorium. The objective of the chosen solution for roofing was maximum lightness of the construction with the idea being only of a tarp stretched between the buildings. Given the high degree of freedom of the construction, further supporting elements were added. Steel supports of the ropes are not only functional and technical elements, but also aesthetic ones.
Even though the projects of the Open-Air Cinema (Mimosa Architects) and Štěpánka’s Park were separated both in time and between studios, their finalisation happened at the same time, in the first half of 2023. Prachatice thus obtained a very cultivated public space near the town square, with an area not only for film screenings but also for more cultural events in the town with a direct connection to its centre.