Municipal Theatre of Corfu

Architects: Chris Tessas, Stelios Zerefos

Location: Corfu, Greece

Area: 6.750 sq.m.

Status: Competition - 1st Prize

Design: 2010

Design team, consultants: I. Armeni, T. Bristogianni, A. Kokkini,

C. Hatzopoulos, H. Tessas

Client: Municipality of Corfu - Region of Ionian Islands

The building’s functionality is highly improved. Most of the interior spaces are now accessible to people with reduced mobility and the entrance to the opposite building of the Prefecture is optimised. The expansion of the foyer on the first floor, the displacement of the tickets office, and the restaurant and cafeteria added, functionally organise the building and offer new spaces to be embraced by the public.

Copyright © Chris Tessas, All Rights Reserved.

Text, 3D Representations, Copyright © Zerefos Tessas Architects. All Rights Reserved.

The proposed solution for the renovation of the facades of the theater and the entrance piazza answers to the historical, functional, aesthetic, technical, environmental and economic issues posed in the competition brief. Regarding the historical issues, the developed design responds to the matter of acceptance of the new building and to its comparison to the demolished Municipal Theatre by C. Pergolesi, through the sense of openness that is now offered inbreathes life to the theatre, transforming the building and consequently its entrance square to a recognizable meeting point, ideal for public gathering and play.

The arches situated on the side facades are closed with glass panels so that the previously dysfunctional archways are enriched with new cultural and commercial uses such as shops, bookstore and exhibition spaces. The creation of a second elevated square that dominates the main facade suggests a pleasant outdoor extension of the foyer that symbolically interacts with the square.

The offices of the art direction and the choir rehearsal rooms are renovated according to up-to-date functional specifications and, thanks to the new facades, enjoy the natural light and the views to the street. Simultaneously, the activity taking place inside is projected to the life of Theotoki road, making the theatre’s presence strongly felt. The elevation of the chorus rehearsal rooms partially hides the theatre’s fly tower, which appears lighter nonetheless, because of the proposed use of glass that is illuminated at night.

As far as aesthetic quality is concerned, elements of the local architectural tradition are maintained and innovatively reused in the proposed design and attention is given to the playful alteration of transparency during the day. The building’s skin changes as the sun moves and aspects of the interior are gradually revealed until the maximum sense of transparency is reached, after sunset, with the suitable illumination of the indoor spaces.

The new configuration of the side facades leaves most of the existing structural system intact, and new light-weight elements are added throughout the building. The rainwater that slowly destroyed the theater is efficiently driven through water pipes, situated behind the new skin, to the city’s sewers.

The overall treatment of the facades indicates a double skin that creates a uniformly shaded and naturally ventilated shell, inside of which insulation is placed. This, in addition to the proposed configuration of the fly tower that promotes the natural ventilation of the interior, makes the proposal environmentally friendly. As to active energy systems, solar panels are applied to the roof, taking advantage of the favorable orientation and providing a significant part of the building’s electricity consumption.

Concerning the design of the square, importance is given so that the two public buildings and the city walls are highlighted. The water jets and the proposed planting create a pleasant gathering space, suitable for hosting open events, whereas the underground parking eases traffic congestion.


Chris Tessas


Architect, ENSA Paris Malaquais

Pasteur 10

11521 Athens, Greece

tel.: +302106435512


contact hours: Mon.- Fri., 12.00-17.00