Staging openings

Centralteatret 2022 – 2023




The title of the project is “Staging the openings”. The project is a transformation of Centralteatret and the neighboring building. It revolves around understanding the role of openings in a theater and how they contribute to the spectator’s spatial experience. The project favors subtraction as a way of transformation, by surgically cutting into the building tissue.


The project’s thesis explores the act of creating new openings that stage new spatial experiences, connections and movement through spaces in existing buildings. We further investigate how the openings can act like filters highlighting the experience of moving from one space to another and how this contributes in creating holistic sequences through the transformed spaces.




Rakel Emilie Emhjellen Paulsen





For two centuries, the theater has tried to distinguish itself as a contemporary and modern place through constant program renewal. It has been a ballroom, space for auctions, showroom, and a shooting-range. The Norwegian broadcasting also used the stage for broadcasting in the 60’s. The theater has always played its role as a secondary theater in Oslo, staging smaller plays, vaudeville, operettas and cabarets.

The project embraces the space as a theatre with smaller stages and intimate auditoriums, and transforms the building into a theater that allows for a variety of performances and setups. This program is an advantage for the performing arts industry in the city, and also a symbolic continuation of the buildings position as a theatre in Oslos history.




The Artifact presents a closer analysis of the stage openings and the spaces in between. It investigates how the openings relate to each other and how this structure affects the perception of the space. Presented through 1 : 10 section model of the existing stage.

The theater is equipped with a proscenium arch. The arch combined with the stage floor generally serves as the frame into which the audience observes the performance. It can be considered as a social division that separates the actors from the audience, a concept which is called the fourth wall.


The existing openings can be described using the anatomy of a camera lens. The audience observes the actors through the different stage openings framing the performance, like the subject of a picture is captured through the camera with the front element and different lens groups. The curtain hides and reveals the stage, as the aperture opens and closes the view in the camera.

The Project


We have been investigating the order and structure of the existing openings at centralteatret. Together they show a clear guideline and sense of direction through the space. The leading move in our project has been to continue this logic, making a new opening through the back wall of the stage. In doing so, with introduce Grensen 9B as part of the theater. This move contributes in solving many logistic issues, and it creates several new opportunities in staging performances and stage setups.


The theater becomes a new performance center in Oslo that offers new public spaces, stages with greater flexibility and improved connections in the theater. The theater becomes a new destination in the city block, strengthening and activating the urban tissue as a social and central meeting point in the city.


Grensen 9B is an open plan office building, with a service battery on the south side. It holds six floors and two basement floors. The building is situated at the end of a passage containing small shops, a bar and a nightclub. The passage is connected to Grensen which is a popular shopping street in oslo. By expanding Centralteatret into this part of the cityblock, the project activates the entire quarter with an additional facade towards an active and social side of the city.



This group of 1 : 50 models shows a series of sets containing openings that together work to explain the transformation of the theater. The models present both new and old layers of the building, highlighting the sequences through spaces.


The models depict how openings have been subtracted, and also how new layers of colors and material have been added to existing openings, underlining them as part of a sequence, and as part of the whole. The existing building fabric is represented in white and our contribution in different textures and colors.