Design Lead: Meg White
Project Management Advice and Project Support: Rob Cooke
Architects for Documentation and Construction Services: Cottee Parker Architects
Builder: Chroma Group
La Mama Architectural History: Allan Willingham
We see a new La Mama, a little La Mama, rotated 180 degrees. A germination of the original, made possible because of the fire. La Mama continues it’s 50 years of growth and evolution.
There is a contrast between the two buildings, related in form and material but different in orientation and colour. They are inter-connected but independent.
Like old La Mama, the design of new La Mama is simple and restrained. Ornamentation is only in the functional. The theatre is in the every-day, the opening of the fence, the doors and the window shutters. The architecture aims to respect and support the multitude of daily activities of this little village with nooks for reading scripts, couches for conversations and cake, a dedicated office for the enablement of art, a rehearsal hub for the creation of art, undercover areas for rain-soaked patrons, troughs for washing paint brushes, a platform for announcements, and lifts for including everyone.
The design desires to speak to La Mama’s philosophical stance of being open, open to all. The raising of the courtyard shifts the need for transition in height, to get into the theatre door, to the entrance of the courtyard, allowing people to make that transition in their own time and without pressure.
Little bits of garden everywhere filter the light, soften the urban quality of the location and enhance the sense of a La Mama being a house, a home that we can visit and reside in.
Steps roll out of new La Mama, inviting people to come and sit.
New La Mama continues a 50-year long tradition of reappropriating parts of the old carpark, claiming space for rehearsals. The fence line too continues its creep northwards to harness more space for the courtyard. The lower part of new La Mama is a through space that can operate as a part of the forecourt and courtyard for larger occasions.
The box office is a stand-alone shack or kiosk, informal and relaxed, an impromptu shelter sprung up between the old and the new, a beacon welcoming the intrepid theatre explorer.
-Meg White, Lead Architect