Ritchie Studio

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Arkan Theatre, Cairo

ritchie*studio were appointed by El Badr to develop the concept design for an 800-seat new theatre as a multi-purpose cultural venue in Sheikh Zayed City, to the west of central Cairo.








Located beneath the landscaped parkland to one of the main entrances of Sheikh Zayed City, the Arkan Theatre is an oasis of entertainment alongside the Arkan mixed-use development. It is cultural facility in the client’s ‘unique lifestyle village’ for residents, employees and visitors.

The concept design of the Arkan theatre optimises the potential uses of the predetermined theatre volume and external sunken courtyard established by the client. It balances seating layout and volume to produce a range of acoustic qualities. This allows the theatre to host a varied repertoire of performances and events – theatre, music, comedy, conferences, and product launches.

At ground level, we envisaged the identity of the theatre expressed through a landscape of dichroic glass obelisks which would bring daylight into the auditorium below. This feature was subsequently removed by the client. The auditorium space is conceived as a golden chamber hidden beneath the landscape. With accents of pale blue and reflecting the colour palette and textures of ancient Egyptian jewellery.

The auditorium is rich in tone, elegant, and sophisticated in its operation.

ritchie*studio was supported by Jan Braker Architekt in Hamburg and collaborated with Doug King of Doug King Consulting, Paul Gillieron of Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design, Ulrike Brandi of Ulrike Brandi Licht, and Jake Wiltshire of Jake Wiltshire Lighting Design.

ritchie*studio collaborated with the client’s in-house design and construction team who delivered theatre from the concept design.

‘The Arkan theatre opened in March this year and the reception has been excellent. The main auditorium space is inspiring and inclusive with wonderful acoustic qualities. During intervals, the ’open’ space in front of the foyer is delightful, warm, and with clear views to the sky. The theatre is subtle yet convincing as a multi-use cultural space in the wider context of our Arkan development.

From the outset, we appreciated the open, collaborative approach ritchie*studio brought to the project, based on creative dialogue, a clear understanding of our brief, strategic thinking, and professional rigour. They understood the local context, the conditions of the site, and recognised the commercial imperatives.’
Amr Badreldine, Chairman, El Badr for Investments and Commercial Spaces

Arkan Theatre

Arkan Theatre

Sheikh Zayed City, Cairo, Egypt

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