Guthrie Theater


Photo: Ali Eminov

Guthrie Theater
Ateliers Jean Nouvel
  • Architecture

Designed by Paris-based architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater is his first completed work in North America. Taking inspiration from the site’s historic grain silos—simple, functional forms so admired by European modernist architects—the Guthrie Theater is a contemporary interpretation of these structures, created as a testament to grand cultural rather than industrial productions. The vast complex hosts three theaters—a traditional thrust stage recreating the original Guthrie Theater’s famous design by Ralph Rapson, a new proscenium stage bathed in red light and upholstery, and a smaller, black box space atop the complex where windows of yellow glass transform a familiar vista of city and nature into an alien landscape. Nouvel employs dramatic effects throughout, whether through lighting, color glass, grand circulation gestures, or its signature “endless bridge,” a 177-foot-long cantilever that provides dramatic views of the Mississippi River and Saint Anthony Falls.