Palazzo is one of the most renowned varietétheater in Germany, established over 25 years ago. The Mannheim based venue was facing difficulties within the context of their previous location. With over 60.000 visitors throughout the year, Palazzo decided to move their venue to a more spacious site with easier accessibility, greener context, and a possibility to build a permanent structure housing all their existing pavilions and functional spaces.

Originally, all structures had to be disassembled and reassembled in a yearly rhythm to comply with the city´s requirements. This prevented them from having shows during the winter season and resulted in high operating costs for the client. Our brief focuses on the conversion of a traditional, temporary tent-structure into a permanent construction while preserving the atmosphere of a varieté.

The character and identity of Palazzo is deeply intertwined with their interior ambiance and layout. Therefore, the task to meet all structural and fire safety requirements, in combination with acoustic, energetic, and thermal insulation needs had to be carried out with rigorous care. The 4100 m2 floorplan follows the original layout, while simultaneously expanding the program to the 9000 m2 outdoor space. A new Biergarten and outdoor activity space aim to extend the scope of the venue beyond the evening shows and embeds the building into a newly created public park and plaza.
Prior to the latest assembly of the temporary structures, this time at the new site, we have laid down the foundation for the development, including two underground technical spaces.

Throughout the 2024-25 season, the new structure will be raised above the main tent and slowly replace the rest of the visitor spaces without interrupting the ongoing event schedule. The cross-laminated timber construction will span above the main volumes, enabling for future flexibility should the building´s program change. The biophilic-façade not only enhances the visitor experience, but also plays a key role in the reduction of the building’s energy consumption.

Situated within a greenery-dominated masterplan, Palazzo already plays an instrumental role in the area´s rejuvenation, similarly to the Bundesgartenschau site nearby, and will continue to do so by attracting more and more people once completed.

Rolf & Tom Balschbach


Project Year:

Friedmann Architektur

Martino Hutz
Jacek Baczkowski
Andras Peter Domokos
Maximilian Friedmann

Julian Hensch 
Kai Lin