Politeama Theatre is the main cultural center in the City of Canelones (pop. 20.000). It was built in 1921 to become, for 60 years, the venue not only of arts and sports events, but also of circus performances. Politeama Theatre was closed in 2012, after years of progressive deterioration. The local government, owner of the building, then decided to call for tenders in order to recuperate and complement the theater for it to turn into a cultural complex.
As a result of the need to build a new front of house (cafeteria, administration, restrooms, staff areas, etc.) and to change the circulation layout, the spatial perception of constricted public areas was doubled. The new building associates with the existing one in a complex manner. First, it acknowledges the primary role of the theater building, and takes from it its design guidelines: material and color, its own height and the height of its formal components, how its façade aligns, and the leading role of solid over hollow. However, this relationship is strained by opposites: the weight of the older building contrasts with a light construction that disregards massiveness while choosing planes that join together following the logic of an origami. While the former’s genetic memory features stone, the latter’s one features paper.