Theater Zuidplein

Rotterdam, NL

Can a theatre fulfil a social function in an unruly environment?


Theater Zuidplein

Theater Zuidplein is part of Hart van Zuid, the area-wide PPP development around Zuidplein and the Ahoy venue. Rotterdam-Zuid will finally get an inviting place for leisure, living, staying, shopping and enjoying culture. And the ground level becomes the domain of the pedestrian once again.

The new building replaces the outdated theatre dating from 1953. The assignment was to make it a really accessible building where local residents can meet, gain knowledge and share experiences.


Theater Zuidplein aspires to be a home base for the people in the local area – which is often labelled a ‘problem neighbourhood’. Cultural-social themes determine the theatre offer. The library focuses on local youth, making a large number of study places available for this group. The theatre works together with kitchens from the Afrikaanderwijk and an MBO educational course for cooking and hospitality. The building is thus closely intertwined with society. It is a place for recreation and education, an emancipation machine that maintains the city’s vitality and where everyone is welcome.

The unique finish gives the brick façade depth and detail

Theater Zuidplein is a clear, compact volume of around 12,500 m². The semi-transparent voile façade at the entrance and reception hall, made of aluminum, provides a special play of light in the interior during the day and a festive and inviting appearance at night.

The heart of the building is the lofty reception hall. All functions have a direct or indirect relationship with this hall, where you can discover and do everything. Deeper in the building are the two theatres.

The building can be adapted for any event, for example by closing off certain functions in the reception hall, such as the library or podium. The new Annie M. G. Schmidtplein in front of the building acts as an extension of the reception hall. This allows Theater Zuidplein to profile itself even more strongly in the neighbourhood.

There is a close tie between theatre and neighbourhood.

The building was unveiled in September 2020 with an opening weekend packed with music, theatre and dance.

Theater Zuidplein

Theater Zuidplein is the new cultural hotspot of Rotterdam-Zuid. In addition to two theatre halls and a café-restaurant, it also houses a branch of Rotterdam Library. Theater Zuidplein is part of the area-wide PPP development Hart van Zuid, around Zuidplein and the Ahoy event centre. The Gooilandsingel will be transformed into a 750-metre-long, green and car-free boulevard, creating an inviting place to stay, play, live, shop and enjoy culture.

A great achievement of the design is the way in which all the noise requirements have been met. Here, a pop concert and a poetry reading can take place at the same time, without disturbing each other and without disturbing the neighbours. This means that this cultural facility could be located right in the middle of the city, exactly where it belongs.

The entrance façade is provided with a semi-transparent aluminium voile that provides a special play of light in the interior during the day and a festive illuminated display at night. The lofty reception hall forms the heart of the building and functions as a living room for Rotterdam-Zuid. The main hall can accommodate 600 visitors.


Theater Zuidplein
Rotterdam, NL
12.500 m²
Hart van Zuid (Ballast Nedam/Heijmans) / Gemeente Rotterdam
Scagliola Brakkee, Sanne Delcroix, Nathan Reinds
BURO M2R, Studio RAP, Aldowa, Arup, dGmR, Theateradvies bv, Zonneveld
  • Nomination German Design Awards
    Excellent Architecture
  • Global Architecture & Design Awards
    Cultural (built)
  • BNA Building of the Year
    Liveability & Social Cohesion
  • ICONIC Award 2021
    Innovative Architecture
  • Finalist Rotterdam Architecture Prize
  • Nomination ArchDaily Building of the Year
    Cultural Architecture
More info