The Twentse Theatre’s Transformation

Enschede, NL

How do you turn a theatre into a courtyard?


Twentse Schouwburg

The former Twentse Schouwburg theatre was located between a lively shopping avenue and a quiet residential street in the heart of Enschede. When the building lost its function, the location could be repurposed. Due to the emotional significance of the theatre for the city, the starting point was to partially preserve the old complex.

Existing volume

Completing the street wall on Langestraat

Main auditorium makes way for a courtyard

New building volume on Walstraat

Introduction of new route

The main auditorium has been transformed into a publicly accessible courtyard

The new complex includes homes, restaurants and shops. The stage tower has been replaced by a residential building that refers to the old silhouette. The building section with the small auditorium on the Langestraat has been reused. The former main auditorium has been demolished to make way for a beautifully located courtyard, an oasis in Enschede’s city centre.

The Twentse Theatre’s Transformation

When the Twentse Schouwburg theatre moved to the new Nationaal Muziekkwartier in 2008, the task was to redesign the old building in the centre of Enschede. The old theatre was a landmark building with emotional significance for many of the city’s residents. The starting point for the conversion was to include the iconic façade, the old foyer and the small hall in a new complex with shops, restaurants and homes.

The stage tower on the quiet Walstraat has been replaced by a residential building that refers to the old silhouette. The apartments give the building an open and vital character. The building section on the busy Langestraat has been reused. It now houses a café-restaurant and a large retail space.

In the heart of the location, the main hall has made way for an enclosed theatre garden. This outdoor space offers space for a terrace and a number of small shops. Because the garden can be entered from both streets, a new route has also been created. This connection gives a tremendous boost to the development of a much larger area in the heart of Enschede.


The Twentse Theatre’s Transformation
Enschede, NL
10.500 m²
Van Wijnen Oost B.V.
Catering & Retail, Residential
René Post
More info