France’s Hardelot Elizabethan Theatre named world’s best wooden building

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A French theatre which was attacked by far-right vandals has been named the world's best wooden building, beating an acclaimed Norman Foster cancer care centre to the prize. The Hardelot Elizabethan Theatre near Boulogne on the English Channel coast has won praise as "a masterpiece... magnetic in the manner of the Bilbao Guggenheim" by the architectural press, with French news weekly L'Obs saying that "if the exterior is astonishing, the interior is an enchantment". The ground-breaking round auditorium - which can double as a baroque opera house - pipped Mr Foster's Maggie's cancer care centre in his home city of Manchester and buildings in the United States, China and Poland to the World Architecture News award on Wednesday.

Days before its completion, the 388-seat theatre was sprayed with graffiti in an attack blamed on far-right activists who called it a "carbuncle" and questioned its €4.3 million (S$7 million) cost in the run-up to elections in 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2018, with the headline 'France’s Hardelot Elizabethan Theatre named world’s best wooden building'. Print Edition | Subscribe