The Tom Patterson Theatre in Stratford, Ontario. Courtesy Hariri Pontarini Architects.

Tom Patterson Theatre



The Tom Patterson Theatre is designed to stand out along the banks of the Avon River, with a curved glass exterior finish contrasted by a brick veneer along the theatre walls. The interior of the theatre consists of a thrust stage as well as an education forum, member’s lounge, café and a lobby with custom exposed columns that highlight the full-height bronze and glass curtain wall.

Intricate detailing of the curved elements as well as designing the structure for stringent acoustic requirements around the theatre presented key challenges for the engineers.

The building features continuous perimeter steel outriggers to frame out the complex curvature of the building. The perimeter framing is supported by exposed custom steel plate columns, which are presented as elegant elements that enhance the curvature of the building. The front entrance canopy consists of a large double cantilever supported by one exterior cruciform column.

The structural system includes reinforced concrete below grade and steel frame above. To provide acoustic isolation from the remaining gathering spaces, the theatre is formed with curved 10-meter-long concrete walls. Twenty-four-meter-span vierendeel trusses support the roof and hanging catwalks above the performance space. Design elements required extensive coordination to route mechanical and electrical systems through the structure due to tight ceiling clearances and to maintain clean architectural finishes.

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